An attitude that’s important to explore when building up to changing habits, managing cravings and emotions, achieving your goals personal and professional is to consider how you deal with expectations, commitments, obligations, promises and follow through. One of the most important abilities for achieving any goal or lifestyle is being able to keep promises to yourself and to others (which ultimately is a promise to yourself too). The work of Gretchen Rubin in her book “The Four Tendencies” is very useful to this end. You can do a simple detailed questionnaire on her website – https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com/ to discover which of the four tendencies most strongly applies to you as listed below. She has isolated these four ways of relating or reacting to obligations and expectations. There are two primary sources of expectations and obligations internal or external. The different tendencies are focused in one direction of the other or are mixtures. The categories overlap of course, since we are dealing with humans not computers.
Knowing your tendency can help you set up situations in the ways that make it more likely that we’ll achieve our aims. You can make better decisions, meet deadlines, meet our promises to ourselves, suffer less stress, and engage more deeply with others. Be more respectful.
Just as important is knowing other people’s tendencies helps us to work with them more effectively. Managers, doctors, teachers, spouses, parents, coaches and therapists should use the framework . It helps people reduce conflict and make significant, lasting change.
According to her the four tendencies are:
Upholders easily fulfil both outer and inner expectations. They want to know what should be done.
QuestionHow to keep promises to yourself?ers question all expectations; they only meet an expectation if they believe it’s justified, so in effect they respond only to internal expectations. They want justifications.
Obligers respond readily and mostly to external expectations but struggle to meet internal versions. They want accountability.
Rebels resist all expectations and obligations where ever they come from, outer and inner. They want the freedom to do things their own way.
According to Gretchen’s research 41% of people are Obligers, 24% are Questioners, Upholders are 19%, while Rebels are around 17%.
As an example here are how the different tendencies respond to New Year’s Resolutions – Upholders keep them easily. Questioners think they are silly to put a date on them, you just do them because they are right and needed if they are worth doing. Obligers are hopeless at them and have usually given up on them, but are good in teams, with coaches and at doing things at work. Rebels just simply dislike them.
This is a different take of transformation through promise-keeping – https://youtu.be/X6GFOFJaJaA