Leftover goals from 2017? How to Make Them Happen in 2018.

by | Dec 19, 2017 | Blog Posts, Goal Setting, Lessons from Books, Uncategorized | 4 comments


​​​I’m constantly reading “self-help” books. I love them for my own personal development and I love learning new ideas that might help my coaching clients.

Every once in a while, I read a book that completely changes the way I look at something.

Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies is one of those rare books, one that makes me look at myself and others in a totally new light. 

It’s instantly become one of a handful of books that I’d recommend everyone to read. (I’ll write about the others down the line.)

The concept is pretty straight-forward.

The Four Tendencies looks at how people respond to “expectations.”

There are four types of people:

  • UPHOLDERS – respond to both inner and outer expectations
  • OBLIGERS – respond to outer expectations
  • QUESTIONERS – respond to inner expectations
  • REBELS – don’t respond to either inner or outer expectations

In short…

If an UPHOLDER wants to go to the gym every day at 6am before work, they will get up, grab their sneakers, and go. Similarly, if an Upholder’s boss asks for an assignment by Friday at 5pm, it’ll be in their inbox then, without the boss ever having to mention it again.

If an OBLIGER wants to go to the gym every day, an Obliger might never get out their front door (…unless they’re meeting their personal trainer or workout buddy). However, that work will absolutely be in their boss’ hands by end-of-day Friday.

If a QUESTIONER wants to work out, a Questioner will. However, a Questioner might not even try to meet that deadline (…unless the Questioner understands WHY the boss wants it at Friday at 5pm).

A REBEL might not exercise or complete the work assignment (…unless the Rebel wakes up and chooses to do it).

It sounds amazing to be an Upholder, doesn’t it? 

Actually, each tendency has it’s strengths and challenges. 

Obligers, Questioners, and Rebels aren’t doomed to thicker waistlines and/or frustrated managers. 


As a career coach, sometimes my clients really want to take certain actions. At the end of a call, they’re totally committed to doing something that moves them towards their big goal. We’ll have talked about all the tried-and-true strategies for setting smart goals. However, a week or two passes, we talk again…and sometimes they haven’t done what they were totally committed to doing. And they’re not sure what happened.

It’s a major frustration.

Where’s the gap between wanting to do something and actually doing it? 
Knowing your “tendency” could be the key to finally doing those things you’ve been struggling to do. 

Driven crazy by certain people in your life? Knowing what tendency they are could help you to understand and perhaps even get along with them.


I’m an Obliger. What are you?

Take Gretchen Rubin’s free quiz.

It’s the end of 2017.

The time when some of us traditionally look at all we have (and haven’t) accomplished in the past year….

The time when some of us set resolutions….

The time when some of us soon get disappointed at ourselves for not sticking to those resolutions…. (Me included.)

Keep an eye out for a special series in January. We’ll look at the different tendencies and how you can set achievable goals for 2018.

UPDATE as of 1/31/18:

Here are links to the four parts of this special series.

Part 1: The Obliger   Part 2: The Questioner   Part 3: The Upholder   Part 4: The Rebel

What tendency are you? Let me know below.

Questions or comments? I’ll reply.

Want to read The Four Tendencies? Here’s the book.


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Sheila Devi is a career transition coach.

She helps smart, talented people who are frustrated at work because they feel like there’s something more out there for them. She helps them discover their best next moves ~ so they can enjoy work that uses their strengths, lights them up, and sets them up for an overall life they love.

Want to wake up excited for work? Email to set up a complimentary call.

Happy holidays! Thinking about resolutions or goals for the new year? How do you know what you want to do vs. what you “should” or “have to” do? Check out this recent post.

Want to read other past posts? Click here.

There’s no one way to get anywhere in life. Follow No One Way™ on Instagram to see how people really got where they are today.

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  1. I’m a questioner. Hmmmm.

    • Interesting! Knowing your career path, I think that could make sense! Would you agree?!

  2. Sheila, your posts are so well-communicated that I found myself referring a client to them (instead of something from Gretchen’s blog – which I adore, but found I couldn’t find such clear examples in one place on)! Thanks for this resource, one coach to another. 🙂

    • Charissa, thank you for this very kind comment. I’m so glad that you’re finding it to be a helpful resource for one of your clients. From one coach to another, that means the world to me!


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