Welcome to the next article! In this mini-series, we discuss how to create a new habit and how to stick to your New Year’s resolutions. As you know from the previous two articles, people are divided into 4 groups and each group needs to use different strategies to succeed.
Today we’ll talk about the best tactics for the Questioners. Typically, these people refuse to do anything that doesn’t make sense to them. Their most common question is WHY?
Questioners are the second largest group, right after Obliger, which we talked about last time.
Questioners are reflective people who want to behave logically and efficiently. They have a problem making decisions because they always want to have as much information as possible. They need good reasons and justification to be motivated. If they feel something is stupid, they won’t do it.
If you are not sure whether you belong to this group, take an original test by the author who writes about all the groups in her book The Four Tendencies.
What are Questioners like?
Questioners typically meet their inner expectations easily when they decide on something, but they have a problem meeting the external expectations when someone else wants something from them, especially if it doesn’t make sense to them.
They wake up in the morning and think, “What needs to be done today and WHY?“
The truth is that Questioner needs a really good reason for everything. Not just any reason, but the reason they are internally identified with. Only then are they able to fulfill a specific goal or task. Doing something just because “it’s a rule” or “because it’s said” is simply nothing for them.
Questioners will not fulfill goals, just because others are fulfilling them. If a partner decides to lose a few pounds, or if friends agree to train for a marathon, they may join in for a moment. But if the goal is not in line with what they believe, it will not last long.
What keeps Questioners back?
People in this group may be blamed for not respecting authorities and not be good team players. In fact, they just don’t want to do anything that doesn’t make sense to them.
These people may also suffer from the paralytic analysis. That is, they try to find out the maximum information about everything and are not able to decide. It is therefore important that they set a deadline for their decisions.
They consider the New Year’s resolutions to be unnecessary. The date of 1 January usually has no special meaning for them and this day is as good to create a new habit as any other.
How to create a new habit
The good news is that Questioner usually has no problem to create a new habit or stick to their resolutions. They usually start with new habits at any time of the year, not only on the 1 January.
Strategies for Questioners
Gretchen Rubin, the author of the book Better Than Before, offers 21 strategies to learn how to create a new habit that you can truly follow.
Each person is different and benefits from different tactics. However, the author recommends four of them directly to Questioners.
Strategy of Clarity
This strategy is the most important of all Questioner strategies. They need to know exactly what they are doing and, above all, why. They will do nothing if they do not understand what it is good for, so they must first answer all the questions they have.
It often happens that we want to do something on the one hand and not on the other. Perhaps such a diet. Yes, we want to be thin, but at the same time, we don’t want to renounce pizza and ice cream.
Sometimes we want two things that are contradictory. E.g. devote maximum time to family while devoting maximum time to work.
Priorities and activities
Therefore, one needs to be clear about what one actually wants. And we need to be clear on two things: priorities and activities.
Being clear about my priorities determines what decisions I make. Suppose I want to lose 10 pounds, but I also want to eat pizza every night. At this point, I have to decide what is most important to me in my life at the moment.
The second step is to be clear about the activities. This will help me be prepared and know how to behave in a variety of situations.
If I know that every night I go hungry home, where there is nothing to eat and I deal with it just by ordering pizza, it is necessary to clarify in advance how I will behave in such a situation. Will I buy food in advance and put it in the freezer? Or will I stop by the restaurant and have a salad? Will I carry food boxes with me?
If I am on a diet, how do I behave if someone invites me to dinner? If I go to the cinema, how do I behave when a friend asks me if I want popcorn?
The prepared person will not be taken aback by these situations and is more likely to make a decision to support his or her resolution or goal.
Strategy of Monitoring
This strategy was suitable for the Obligers, but it is also especially good for Questioner. Questioner love data and information. Therefore, they can only monitor the activity initially to make resolutions. As I said in the previous article, I used this strategy to increase my average number of steps.
I bought a smartwatch and started watching how many steps I would take every day.
Experts recommend taking at least 10,000 steps a day to keep a person healthy in the long term. They set an absolute minimum of 6,000 steps a day to prevent cardiovascular problems, to which up to 50% of people die. This information can be a good reason for the Questioners to increase their average number of steps.
When I found out that I took about 4,500 to 5,000 steps a year on average, and I took only 3,000 steps a lot of days a year, I was quite shocked. I decided that I must definitely change this. Every day I started thinking about where I could walk instead of driving by car. I started to walk to a coffee shop, the office, doctor appointments, and sometimes to grocery shops. When there was no place to go, I took a little walk.
Thanks to this tactic, I raised my average number of steps to 8,000.
How to use this strategy correctly
This strategy is particularly suitable for areas such as diet, drink, exercise, TV and internet use, spending, etc. If I want to do something less or more, it is a good idea to just monitor this activity initially. Perhaps when you find out how many hours you spend watching TV every day, you realize that you want to watch it much less.
Whatever activity you choose, you need to monitor it accurately. If you are just guessing, you are very likely to be quite mistaken. If you want to change your diet, monitor for a while what you eat accurately and write it down into an app that calculates your calories. Write down your sports activities to see how many calories you really burn.
Today, you can get an app for almost everything – monitoring your diet, the number of steps, sleep, length of use of social networks, etc.
Questioners can also enjoy putting the results in charts and graphs, where they can analyze them and monitor their progress.
Strategy of Distinctions
The strategy of distinctions is also important to Questioner. The habit should be set very specifically to suit the individual’s character.
Every person is different and, above all, Questioners like customization. They should, therefore, choose the habits and resolutions that really suit them personally.
For example, even though it is recommended that you do the most important and difficult tasks in the morning when you have the most energy, you may be different. Perhaps you prefer to start with a cup of coffee and spend an hour on your emails before you get to the most important task.
A good tactic may be to try different habits such as “experiment”. If you are interested in a habit, why not just try it? You’ll see if it works for you, and if not, you can try something else.
Strategy of Loophole-Spotting
We all like to look for excuses and “loopholes in the system” why not to do something for once. And we are ruining our good habits. E.g. you have a habit that you go jogging every Monday. You’re already putting on your sneakers when it starts to rain. “I can’t go running today because it’s raining,” you say and stay home.
The most common excuses we use are:
- I deserve it, I was nice
- I’ll start tomorrow
- This doesn’t count (I can because… it’s weekend. I’m sick. I’m stressed)
- I don’t really want to, but I have to
- I have to do something more important
- Today doesn’t matter much, I’ll do it tomorrow
- I can’t start until…
- I can’t take the stairs/walk there, it takes too long, I’d rather take the elevator/car
- Everybody does that
- YOLO (= you only live once)
Given that, we would find an excuse every day. But as the familiar saying goes:
“You can have results or excuses. Not both. ”
Specific examples of how to create a habit
Here are some examples of how to use these strategies to create a new habit specifically:
How to lose weight
You decide to lose 10 pounds. You start going to the gym and give up the sweets.
After a week, however, you no longer want to get up at 6 in the gym and your colleague brings a cheesecake to the office to celebrate his birthday.
Suddenly losing 10 pounds does not seem so urgent. If you have not reasoned why it is so important for you to lose it, you will be tempted to stop the diet for a moment and have “just one” piece of cake.
However, if you sit down for a while and wonder why it is so important to lose 10 pounds, and it becomes part of your personal plan, you will more easily resist these pitfalls. Use a clarity strategy.
How to start running
You want to start running for a long time, but can’t you keep this habit?
Start a clarity strategy and define why running is important to you. Next, determine on which days and at what hours you will be running.
Include jogging in your morning routine or clarify the continuity of this activity after work hours. You have to be absolutely clear when and under what conditions you will go running.
Make a list of the most common excuses you usually use and remember that they are not relevant.
How to write a book
Again, remember why you want to write a book. Make a plan of how to proceed and decide what time of day and on which days you will be writing.
Take a look at how the book is written and published to give you a clear picture of the process. Plan enough time to research how to create your characters, what makes a good storyline, and so on. Determine the deadline for the research and when will you start writing.
How to spend less time on the Internet
We spend many hours on the Internet every day. Maybe then we don’t have enough time to work, family or for our hobbies. However, it’s easy to start browsing your Facebook or Instagram message board and get lost in time for an hour or more. Install an app on your mobile or browser that allows you to set a daily timeout for such sites.
Remember to understand why this habit is important to you and think about how you want to use the time you will save.
Questioners usually do not have such a problem to stick to their resolutions.
The same applies to Upholders. And we will talk about them in the next article.
Summary: how to create a habit when I’m a Questioner?
- Clarify why do you do it
- Clarify when and how will you do it
- Monitor your activity
- Find out what works best for you
- Forget the excuses