I talked a little bit in my last post about how I have been pondering on the idea of habits lately. Habits are essentially what make up of our everyday lives when you really think about it, don’t you think? Even if you are not habitual people, we still fall into habits whether we like it or not. 

I like to think I have “good” habits, but let’s be honest. I don’t think that all of my habits are helping me become successful or achieve my goals. Not to mention how hard it is to break old habits. WTF. Why is it so hard to stop doing things that are not helping us? I have no idea, but it sure as hell sucks when you want to break the cycle. 

Let’s make one thing clear, I don’t want to start categorizing habits as “good” or “bad”. I like to think that habits are neutral, and they either take you one step closer to where you want to be, or one step backwards. Now that being said, I think the most important part of forming habits is getting to know yourself first. I don’t know if you guys have ever read Gretchen Rubin’s book, Better Than Before, but you have to. Now. I’ll even wait while you go order it….

Ok, your back? Good.

This book talks about the “4 Tendencies”. These 4 categories describe what your nature as a person in when it comes to forming habits.

You can either be a(n):
1) Upholder: Someone who meets outer expectations as well as inner expectations
2) Questioner: Someone who questions outer expectations, and meets inner expectations
3) Obliger: Someone who meets outer expectations, but often times doesn’t meet inner expectations
4) Rebel: Someone who resists both outer & inner expectations

Now I can’t talk to you guys much about being anything other than a straight up rebel. For some reason, it is in my nature to resist expectations that I put on myself and that others put on me. This is not to say that I just don’t listen to authority, however I find it really difficult sometimes to follow through with things (especially things I expect myself to do) if there are to many expectations around it.

As I was reading the book, I found out that there was a VERY small percentage of people who were rebels. I was trying to find out ways that I could form habits & achieve goals without eventually resisting them down the road but unfortunately there isn’t much information out there.

After I pondered for awhile, I started asking myself, “How is it that I can easily commit to go to the gym, or clean up my eating habits no problem?” This was an expectation, wasn’t it? Wrong. I realized that I had already formed the habit of working out and eating clean, and now is second nature and I no loner resist it. This is good news! But now the real question begs, “How did I form the habit without resisting it?”

I came up with a list of “loop holes” and observations around my rebel tendency that I think might be the reason I have formed some good habits thus far. Wanna hear em? Ok cool.

  1. I do not do well with accountability groups. Some people THRIVE on accountability, mostly Upholders & Obligers. Me on the other hand, no way no how. I can’t stand accountability even though I LOVE the idea of it. How weird is that? Accountability = to much expectation. I think we are so used to the “cookie cutter” guidelines in habit forming, that we forget some people just hate that shit. What does this mean? No accountability, and no telling of things. If I have something I want to do or achieve, I keep it to myself for as long as possible.  
  2. Deadlines. Hate them. I would sooner get a project done quickly if I had no deadline (aka. little to no expectations), than if I had a deadline & was forced to do it. I can’t explain why this is, but it just is. Note to future self: If you ever want to achieve anything, DO NOT put a deadline on it. Let it flow, and it shall flow.  
  3. I have this innate desire to be different than everyone else. I relish in the fact that I have unique physical features as well as emotional ones. That being said, I just discovered this about myself. our ego often gets in the way, and tells us we aren’t good enough. When we believe this, we do things how OTHER people do things so we don’t stick out. We realize we are not satisfied with that, and don’t understand why. THIS IS WHY. If you are a rebel, always embrace your authenticity. You will be motivated by your differences, not your similarities. It feels like a super power. Put it to good use, and run with it.  
  4. Sometimes I don’t know what I want. Let me rephrase this. We don’t know what we want because sometimes our spirit of opposition gets triggered. When this happens, even if we want something we might be inclined to want the opposite if someone triggers our rebel attitude. For example, I sometimes find myself going out of my way to rebel against something even though I actually wanted the same thing they wanted. Be aware of your spirit of opposition and learn to listen to your intuition. Get to know what you really want, so you can become aware of when your rebelling out of instinct. 
  5. Since I’m not motivated by other people’s expectations, and I don’t meet my own expectations, I have to find a way to stick with a different habit or commitment. In order to do this, I have to get a little bit creative. I ask myself, “how can I take what I want and phrase it in a way where I am rebelling against something?” This sounds nuts, but it really does work. For example: If someone tells me I can’t do something, I almost feel compelled to prove a point and will stop at nothing to prove them wrong. Find a way to frame your goals so that you are igniting your spirit of opposition in your favor. Remember, you are ultimately in control of your actions. Once you become aware of your nature, you can manipulate it to work for you. 

There you have it! Haven’t you ever heard the saying that the biggest strength a person can have is to know themselves? Start getting to know yourself. Don’t be scared of what you will find, embrace it! Embrace your quirks, your flaws and your strengths. You will figure out how and why you do things and that, my friend, is a game changer. 

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