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 its strengths and challenges.* 

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


As a coach, sometimes my clients really want to take certain actions. At the end of a call, they’re totally committed. 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.

Where’s the gap between wanting to do something and actually doing it? 

Knowing your “tendency” could be the key to finally doing the things you’ve been struggling to do. 

Bonus: Knowing other people’s tendencies could help you to better support them (or at least to better get along with them).


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.


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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.

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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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