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I just took Gretchen Rubin’s 4 Tendencies test. To my surprise, it turns out I’m an Obliger. I thought I’d be a Rebel because while I’m great at making elaborate to-do lists, I absolutely suck at following them.
But I shouldn’t be surprised. Obligers are good at being accountable to other people because they’re die-hard people pleasers (<-hello, that’s 1000% me). We can blow off commitments to ourselves without a second thought, but disappoint another human? Nope. Not possible. In fact, I’ll go to great (often stupid) lengths to keep my commitments to others, just because the thought of letting someone down – especially if I really want their approval – is so unbearable.
This is something that has frustrated me about myself for a very long time, but as I sit here writing this post, I realize there’s an upside to being a people pleaser.
Accountability. Is. Everything.
No matter what I set out to do, if I commit myself to another person whose approval I seek, it will get done. Years ago, I did Weight Watchers with a new friend (who I really liked). We’d meet for a meeting every Saturday morning to get (publicly) weighed in, and we would encourage each other throughout the week. I lost 15 lbs. Fast forward two years and I tried doing the Weight Watchers online program by myself and my resolve didn’t make it past lunchtime.
Turns out, I need that personal accountability and it’s even more effective when it’s someone I’m just getting to know. Bonus points if I physically need to show up somewhere.
That’s a powerful piece of self-knowledge that will determine the outcome of pretty much all of my new year’s resolutions for the rest of my life. In fact, I’m sitting here dreaming up new goals that I can reach with my fool-proof method, right now.
Accountability Isn’t Everyone’s Superpower
It’s important to note that this doesn’t work for everyone. Some people are internally driven and not motivated by the expectations of others. If that’s you, you’re probably a happier person for it. People pleasers can suffer anxiety as a result of their constant need for approval.
I’m not proud of that personality trait, but if I have to live with it, I might as well use it to my advantage.
Curious where you land on the 4 Tendencies? Take the quiz here. If you end up being an Obliger, find yourself an accountability buddy and start making some awesome goals for yourself!