This week I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin’s new book ‘Better than Before’ which is a guide for how to help embed good habits (such as painting regularly) into our lives.

Gretchen explains that key to working out how best to do this (like so many things!) is to KNOW YOURSELF.

And to that end she has identified the ‘four tendencies’ which distinguish the way people respond to expectations: outer expectations (a deadline) and inner expectations (“I will paint twice a week”).

Here’s Gretchen explaining those tendencies and what they mean for good-habit-forming:

So in a nutshell,

  • Upholders respond willingly to outer and inner expectations (I’m an Upholder with some Questioner tendencies!)  Here’s Gretchen on Upholders:
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense–essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations. 
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves. 
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike. 

FourTendenciesFourInterlockingCircles-300x317Take the Quiz!

Gretchen’s set up a nifty little Quiz so you can find out which tendency is you. You can take it here

More to come

In the coming weeks I’ll share a few insights as to how we can use this self-knowledge to our advantage when it comes to sticking to that painting habit!

In the meantime, which are you? Do let me know in the comments below!

Happy good-habit-forming!





  1. Jane Harrison 7 years ago

    Oh I am 100% obliger. I found her explanations very comforting. I beat myself up a lot with negative “you’re just lazy” style comments when I don’t follow through on projects that I would really enjoy, whilst at the same time knowing that’s not true because in a team I am a hard worker. I just have always found it very difficult to be self-motivated. Thank you for sharing these videos.

  2. Kathy McWaters 7 years ago

    Thanks so much for providing this information. I am indeed an obliger ! The explanations were quite clear and made sense.

  3. Renate Schliesmann 7 years ago

    Very interesting. I am definitely a questioner with some upholder tendencies. Glad to find out that I am not the only pain in the bud but actually fit into a category with others.
    Thanks for the info!

  4. Carissima 4 years ago

    Thank you very much for this information. I must admit I `m a rebel. Good to know.

  5. Jkendall59 4 years ago

    Oh my, I’m afraid that I am 100% rebel through and through. Not sure there’s any hope for me forming a habit to paint regularly unless I really want to do it. I love that your online class is freely structured so I can paint what I want and when I want but I do need some motivation to not get lazy or discouraged and give up.
    I bought a new sketchbook and am hoping to make myself do small sessions of painting since I work and am so busy. Hope you do some mini sketchbook videos. Thank you!

  6. Barbara Connolly 2 years ago

    Obliger. Felt really odd to me, but I know that I am an excellent team player and lead well. But I also like to question, a lot.

  7. Patrick Small 2 years ago

    Questioner, and somewhat lazy 🙂 Bad combination I think….

  8. Kirri Hardy 2 years ago

    Obliger and bordering on Rebel also…

  9. Rebecca Insel 2 years ago

    Well, it’s official…I’m a questioner. How to use that to advantage is the question!

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