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Thurs Nov 2, 2017


5 RFT: Row 500m 30 Wall Balls (20/14 - 10/9') 30 Box Jumps (24/20) 50 Double unders

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THE FOUR TENDENCIES REVIEW

By Coach Courtney, RD

A while back, I wrote about the concept of moderators and abstainers which was introduced to me by Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project. I recently read Rubin’s latest book, The Four Tendencies, which is a personality framework that explains how individuals respond to expectation. Rubin describes expectations as being either outer (for example, our boss at work) or inner (for example, the goals we tell ourselves we want to accomplish). Rubin believes that understanding your tendency allows you to operate more effectively but also enables you to influence the people around you.

In my work as a Registered Dietitian and a CrossFit coach, I have found myself identifying client’s actions that align with one of the four tendencies. In a consultation, a client once told me “I was successful on Weight Watchers diet. The thought of coming to the weekly meeting without having lost weight was enough to keep me on track. But for some reason I just can’t stick to a meal plan without the check-ins.” This client clearly thrived with outer expectations and accountability!

I am a firm believe that motivation is a finite resource - relying on motivation to eat better or move more is a recipe for failure. While motivation might get you started, it is your habits that keep you going. (Read Coach Jocelyn’s blog on routines found here). There is no magic “one-size fits all” to living your happiest and healthiest life. Different strategies work for different people. Some do better eating an abundance of carbs and some do better with few carbs, some do better when they abstain from a temptation whereas others thrive when they indulge moderately, and some have their best workouts at 6am whereas others won’t be seen at the gym until 7:30pm. But understanding your personality, or tendencies, provides you with the tools to build the life you want with less struggle.

The Four Tendency framework is just one of many tools to understand your personality - explaining why we act (or why we don’t act!). Rubin categorizes our responses to expectations into four categories:

  • Upholders who respond readily to both outer expectations and inner expectations.

  • Questioners who question all expectations; they meet an expectation only if they believe it’s justified. So in effect, they respond only to inner expectations

  • Obligers respond readily to outer expectations but struggle to meet inner expectations

  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike.