There is no one-size-fits all approach to diet and exercise. A great way to approach your own health journey is by doing so in accordance with your tendency. What do I mean by that? Happiness and habits expert Gretchen Rubin has formulated a fantastic quiz to identify your tendency for responding to expectations. Take the quiz here to find out which tendency you are!

  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense (that’s me!)
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves

Upholders: Good on ya! Because you meet both outer and inner expectations, you have options! You can simply implement your own healthy eating and exercising habits. Or you can even join a class, find a personal trainer or health coach, or join a challenge. Just set your goals and establish a method for obtaining them–either with or without the accountability of an outside source. 

Keep in mind though, as an upholder, you may be inclined to stick to a class or regime that doesn’t actually excite you. Don’t be afraid to switch things up if you are not enjoying what you eat and/or how you’re working out! There is no gold star for you at the end of a miserable boot-camp class or 30 day diet challenge.

And remember, regardless of where your accountability stems from, be it internally or externally, it is always important to have clear-cut goals/expectations. Make sure not to simply say “I want to exercise more” but rather identify how much more, which days, for how long, and for what reasoning. Make sense? You want to create a clear path to a healthier life!

Questioners: What results will I see from this? Is there a better option? Can I realistically handle this plan? What’s the scientific evidence behind the Whole 30? What makes _______ qualified to tell me how to eat or workout? Why should I lift more weights and do less cardio? Why should I cut down my carb intake?

These are the examples of some of the questions that run through my head before diving into a new workout regime, diet plan, or challenge. We tend to investigate like crazy before we are able to commit and hold ourselves accountable to something. My best advice is to embrace your questioner tendencies. Really do your digging and make sure all your questions are answered.

Be cautious to engage in the strategy of loophole spotting. As questioners specifically, it  is quite common to loophole yourself out of a situation. For example, “I know I need to workout but I have unfinished laundry and chores to get done, so I will do my chores today and workout tomorrow.” The more we are aware of these possible loopholes, the easier we can spot them and reject them.

Rebels: Ya’ll can’t be tamed! And that’s okay–embrace it. Rebels resist expectations, however they pride themselves on being true to who they are. They do things on their own volition–which proves both good and bad depending on the situation.

As a rebel it is important to focus on your identity when implementing health plans. For example, you may view yourself as a strong, thriving individual who wakes up energized and excited for a successful and productive day. This identity then will prove to be your biggest form of accountability. You want to stay strong, energized, and productive, therefor you it is necessary to fuel your body and mind with health-promoting foods and regular exercise. 

Obligers: This is largest tendency. Obligers easily meet outer expectations but have difficulty meeting inner expectations. What does this means in regards to health and fitness? Outer accountability! The best way for  you to stay motivated and successful in your health journey is to find external accountability. That could be with a gym buddy, a personal trainer, health coach, or a some sort of club or group.

By simply setting a personal goal of working out more or losing weight without the outer accountability piece, obligers are setting themselves up for failure. If any of the above partnerships/accountability options aren’t plausible for you, I’d recommend asking a friend or a loved one to help keep you on track by holding you accountable to a schedule, asking for pictures of your food or workout, or sending you reminders to go to the gym or make a healthy meal. You can do it! I’m counting on you (wink wink).

 

Remember that the best way to learn, grow, and improve is to do so in a way that works best for you. As Gretchen Rubin says, “know yourself better.” Stop comparing, judging yourself, and feeling like you’re not doing things right. The only right way to do it, is the way that works best for you. Just remember how best to do it your way, and you’ll be on your road to health and happiness before you know it!

There is no one tendency better than the others. And according to Rubin, there is no way to shift your tendency either. So accept yourself fully, embrace your tendency, and learn how to achieve health in the most productive and realistic way for YOU.

And if you need some more guidance from the happiness and habits queen herself, check out her current (and life-changing) books The Happiness Project and Better than Before, and the VERY SOON to be released, The Four Tendencies.

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