Friday, April 1, 2016

Hi. My name is Amy and I am an Obliger.

I listened to a Gretchen Rubin podcast on February 1 that sparked an "Aha!" moment for me.

I was an obliger.

This was not necessarily news to me as I had read Rubin's Better than Before book a few years ago.  I enjoyed the book, as I have her other books.  The underlying premise that frames Better than Before is that everyone can be classified into one of four tendencies when it comes to habits.  From Rubin's blog, in her words, the four tendencies "in a nutshell" are:

Upholders respond readily to both inner and outer expectations
Questioners question all expectations, but will follow expectations if they think the expectations are sensible (effectively making all expectations into inner expectations)
Rebels resist all expectations
Obligers meet outer expectations but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves

Her hypothesis is that if you find out where you most closely align, there are different strategies that you would use to make a change in your habits.

I took the quiz to find out which of Rubin's four tendencies I was.

Except that I employed years of taking Cosmopolitan and other like-magazine quizzes and answered to get the category that I WANTED instead of the category I ACTUALLY was.

I had a hunch that I was an obliger but I didn't like the sound of it.  It sounded kind of wimpy.  "Just do whatever people tell you to do."  I wanted to be an Upholder.  

What does this have to do with running?

Well, for a while, I had a lot of inner expectations about running that I just was not following up on.  I started telling people about my goals, posting on social media and that helped me some.

Then I had a plan to follow, which also helped,  but no one was really making sure I was doing the plan so I started this blog.

Still, I wasn't exactly killing it on follow through.

Which brings me to the end of 2015 when I talked to EH and had him create a plan AND I had to email the log back to him once a week.

What happened as a result of a real, live personal accountability?

I have checked the box on all workouts (with the exception of 1).  

Little by little, I have realized that I am an Obliger.  I need those outer expectations. 

Ok, so I realize that, but I still don't like it.

Enter Rubin's podcast #37, which I listened to while on the treadmill on February 1.  The podcast is dedicated to a discussion about obligers, including Rubin's sister, who is one.  A listener wrote in with my exact conundrum: “I’m an Obliger, and I find that disturbing. I should be my own priority. Is it possible to move from Obliger to Upholder?”

The podcast talks about all of the strengths of the obligers and the fact that a big frustration can be the fact that we don't meet inner expectations.  A key to meeting inner expectations for obligers is to build in outer accountability.  As the podcast continued, I was continually relating to what was being said.  Maybe I should just embrace being an obliger and see if that makes it a difference!

I wanted to be consistent about running and meet some running related goals after the birth of my second child.  I was motivated to some extent and had a goal, qualify for the Boston Marathon.  I partially met my goals in the fact that I did qualify, but wasn't as consistent as I wanted to be.  Build in outer accountability - I got a coach.  Not only am I more consistent, I actually am back to a place of really loving running again.  Last year at this point, I was DONE with running, and still had a month to go before my marathon.  I have really enjoyed most of the process of the training over the past 4 months. Yay!

17 more days!

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