No one in my family seems particularly surprised that I fit into the 3% of the population who can be described as Gretchen Rubin’s Tendency category « Rebel », and I can’t imagine why… 🤔
So maybe one of my first words was « No! », I was difficult to discipline as a child, defied anything that was considered « in style » and I refused to EVER follow the instructions… 😬
I remember vividly as a kid making a bird house and instead of painting each side the designated colour that came with the kit, I mixed every colour together and slathered it everywhere on the bird house.
For whatever reason I was not aware of this fact until recently when I actually found out about the Four Tendencies. I just always assumed the reason people got defensive around me, that I didn’t have many friends or the fact that I could not for the life of me stick to a habit for more than a few weeks was because there was something wrong with me.
My stubbornness has been a blessing and a curse, – but more leaning to the latter – for my entire life, that is, until I started using my rebellious nature to my advantage.
For the longest time I identified with being « Organizational », I made plans, labels, lists and schedules so often I could not even tell your how many different ones I’ve had over the years. If I had a habit I wanted to form, I made a rigid plan to follow to make that habit a « natural » part of my daily life.
Everything from working my horses, exercise and nutrition to flossing my teeth more regularly I had a daily plan laid out for everything! The only hitch in my plan? I could not follow it. I was stuck in a cycle of shame: Feel shame about not doing ______ > Get motivated > Make plan > Implement plan > Quit. Over and over and over again, some things stuck, but most never became natural like I expected them to, and of course I always thought it was because I needed to be more strict, have a more detailed plan and more alarms and reminders to help me stick to it.
After reading and listening to Gretchen Rubin’s content (podcast, website and books!) I had an epiphany. I am a Rebel. Rebels have difficulty meeting inner AND outer expectations, meaning the minute I wanted to do something, or someone else wanted me to do something I immediately wanted to do the opposite.
The moto of the Rebel Tendency is « You can’t make me, and neither can I! » 😉
Now you may be thinking, « Sucks to be you Liseanne, you’re screwed! » on the contrary, now I have the knowledge to work with my Rebel Tendency rather than against it. See before I tried to do the two things I saw the most in people wanting to create good – or stop bad – habits, either I would make a plan and tell myself I needed to do it for myself, or I would make a plan and tell someone else I needed to do it. Internal and external accountability, neither of which work for Rebels, in fact, both make Rebels fight against them.
So what is a red-lipstick-wearing-rebel to do? Don’t make goals, don’t make plans and for the love of God Do. Not. Tell. Myself. To. Do. Anything!!! « But, Liseanne how will you get anything done? » simple, here are the old and new « conversations » I have had with myself…
Old: « Ok Liseanne, if you want to be fit you have to exercise 6 days a week, follow this exact plan! » (Note this is inherently flawed because you don’t need to exercise like a maniac to be fit, but this is what I used to tell myself!)
New: « You know what would be super cool? Being able to do a pull-up. Let’s practice that regularly! »
May not seem like a huge change, but it is monumental if you are a Rebel! I have been making and breaking habits left and right with this new approach and feel absolutely no shame if I decide a habit is not actually for me, or if I skip it cuz I don’t wanna for a few days.
Here are just a few things I have integrated into my daily life since having this shift in mindset…
- Oil-pulling (oral hygiene technique) every morning
- Brushing and flossing after every meal
- Whitening with activated charcoal
- Washing and moisturizing my face every night
- Taking my multivitamin daily
- Reading daily
- Supplementing with healthful foods daily (Matcha, fermented foods, bone broth etc.)
- Exercise (weight lifting, yoga, walking etc.)
The first 5 I have been trying to integrate for YEARS, but never lasted more than a week, now it’s been nearly a month!
This tiny piece of knowledge took away years of resentment, shame and general lacklustre from my life, and helped me get out of my own way!
If you would like to see which Tendency you are, Gretchen has a quiz on her website that can help you figure it out. I also strongly recommend her book!