Many of us try to set new habits with the coming of the New Year and ask how to stick to our New Year’s resolutions? But people are divided into 4 groups and each group needs to use different tactics to succeed.
We were talking about the four groups and their characteristics already in the previous article. Today we’ll talk about the best tactics for the Obliger group. These people prefer to break a promise they have made to themselves rather than break the promise they have made to others.
Obligers are the largest of all groups. They are reliable people who are always willing to help. The fact that others can always rely on them makes them feel good on the one hand, but on the other hand, this great quality is often a nuisance.
If you’re 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 Obligers like?
Obligers are characterized by the fact that they easily meet external expectations when someone else relies on them, but they have a problem meeting their inner expectations, such as the New Year’s resolutions.
They have a big problem keeping to what they decide they want to do. However, they have no problem to follow instructions. It’s actually quite the opposite, they like them. They prefer to have structured instructions on how to do things and have a deadline. Also, they work well in a group or under the direction of another person.
They have no problem to follow the rules, although they do not follow them as strictly as the Upholders. For example, Upholder would never park in the red zone. Obligers would be willing to stop there for a moment if they really needed to.
What keeps Obligers back?
Well, they always try to please others.
They wake up in the morning and think, “What MUST be done today?”
If they follow the schedule, then not for the sake of schedule. They don’t do everything they have on their schedule, only the things that are related to other people. If they write “go for a walk” in the calendar, they are very likely not going anywhere.
When Obligers try to do things they care about, they usually fail over and over again. When they repeatedly try to stick to a new habit and fails, they lose confidence and courage to keep trying.
Why is it that others can rely on them so well, but they themselves cannot fulfill their own goals?
In short, these people prefer to sacrifice their own ambitions just to please others. And that is the source of their frustration.
As many as 65% of people in this group are frustrated because they cannot prioritize their own goals and needs.
Sometimes it may even happen that when Obligers are pushed beyond their limits, they will rather leave their marriage or work just to ease their responsibilities.
They can also get into a rebellious phase and then start to be late or otherwise rebel against their responsibilities.
How to stick to your New Year’s resolutions
If you find this description familiar, today you will finally learn how to work with yourself. How to force yourself to do the things you wanted to do for years, but you still couldn’t. How to finally finish projects that you have started so many times and never finished.
The good news is that you don’t have to change your setting. There’s no need for you to be internally driven if you are not. All you have to do is build up an external expectation that will drive you forward.
There are a number of ways you can create external responsibility, and that is exactly what you need.
Tactics for Obliger
Gretchen Rubin, in her book Better Than Before, offers 21 tactics that allow us to cultivate new habits and learn how to stick to our New Year’s resolutions.
Each person is different and needs different tactics. However, three of them are just perfect for Obliger.
Strategy of Accountability
Obliger people need supervision, deadlines and the consequences of their actions. This can motivate them to achieve many goals.
They don’t care if they have a responsibility towards a coach, a group, a trainer, a nutritional counselor, a friend or their own children. But they simply need other people to hold them accountable. Moreover, they usually feel a strong duty to be good role models for people around them.
Often they can do the same thing for someone else, but they can’t do it for themselves.
A tip to quit smoking: don’t do it for yourself but for your children.
Strategy of Monitoring
This strategy is particularly useful for changing your diet, drink or exercise habits, also TV and internet use, spending, etc.
If you want to do change your habits, it is a good idea to first only monitor this activity in your life. Perhaps when you find out how many hours you spend watching TV every day, you realize that you don’t want to do that anymore.
I used this tactic to motivate myself to walk more. 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.
When I found out that I took about 4,500 to 5,000 steps a year on average, and for many days a year, even only 3,000 steps, I was quite shocked. Although I have difficulty meeting my internal expectations and setting goals in the long term, I have decided that I must definitely change this.
Every day I started thinking about where I could walk instead of driving there in my car. I started to walk for coffee and to the office, to the doctors, and sometimes to buy groceries. When there was no place to go, I took at least a little walk.
Thanks to this tactic, I raised my average number of steps to 8,000.
Remember, whatever activity you choose, you need to monitor it accurately. If you are just guessing, you are very likely to be far from the truth.
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 activity to see how many calories you really burn.
Nowadays, you can get an app for almost anything – monitoring your diet, the number of steps, sleep, length of use of social networks, etc.
Strategy of Other People
Have you ever noticed that when your friend started a new habit, you got somehow inspired? Or did you start exercising more or eating healthier yourself, and suddenly, after a week or a month, your partner, friend, or colleague started doing the same thing?
People influence each other with their habits. One day your partner will come to you and say that he will start to go to bed earlier and also get up earlier in the morning, and you will say, “Ok, so do I!”
It is even scientifically proven that over time the health habits and statuses of both partners tend to resemble.
Keep in mind that if you manage to adopt a new habit, you can have a positive impact on your partner or children. What a responsibility!
Beware of rewards
These three strategies are usually the best for Obligers. However, they may also benefit from the Strategy of Treats. But it needs to be done correctly.
People often promise themselves different rewards if they stick to their New Year’s resolutions. If I can eat healthily all week, I’ll have a cake. When I lose 10 pounds, I get a new dress. Or if I run 5 km, I go for a beer. Atp. But this strategy can be tricky.
If we promise such rewards, we do not learn to make the habit for the habit itself, but for the reward. Moreover, we don’t see the new habit as something positive, but rather as suffering that we must survive in order to achieve the rewards.
A better approach to rewards is that we do the activity without expecting any rewards.
But we can treat ourselves from time to time. If after some time of sticking to the new habit you realize that you just want to have a cake, then you have it. Unplanned. Without merit.Just like that for nothing.
Such a form of treats will strengthen our self-control because we feel a new impulse. And we feel we cared for.
Specific examples of how to stick to New Year’s resolutions
The following lines will give you inspiration on how to use these tactics in life situations. If you can apply any of these tactics successfully or unsuccessfully, I will be glad if you write to me in the comments.
How to start running
There are people who simply get up every morning at five o’clock and go for a run if they want to (yep, lucky Upholders). They can stick to this habit all year long or even longer.
But it’s not the same for Obligers. They need some kind of commitment.
The ideal situation is to register for a race and pay the starting fee because then they just have to train. Alternatively, it is great to make a deal with a friend that you will run together. Obligers would feel way too uncomfortable to cancel the run and make their friend upset.
If you can, find a coach
Another good tactic for Obliger is to find a coach or other person who will supervise them.
Suppose you belong to the Obliger group and decide to write a book. At first, it may not be that difficult. You work out a plan and set a deadline by which you want the book to be written.
As the deadline approaches, you write exactly as you planned. When the book is almost finished, you realize that you know nothing about how to publish the book. Suddenly you get stuck.
You spend some time searching the internet and you don’t know what to do next. At the moment you tend to leave the project unfinished. But it can be quite different.
Find a person to help you publish your book. If your book is worth it, you may even pay for consultations.
And more tips
If you want to read more books, you won’t be able to read them just because you want to. So join a book club.
You want to see your friend more often, but do you know that after dinner you can’t make yourself leave the house? Tell your friend that you will pick him up and take him on the way, so you know your friend counts on you.
You hate to call a doctor, a hairdresser, a dentist to make an appointment, and you’re always putting it off. Make the next appointment at your next visit and write it on your calendar. You will certainly not want to call the doctor to cancel the appointment.
Do you want to go to hockey or baseball game or to the theater, but you can’t force yourself? Buy tickets and promise your friend to go with him
Do you want to clear closets and get rid of unnecessary things? Call the charity and promise to stop by and bring a few boxes next week.
Do you want to learn to take pictures, but you can’t get yourself to take the camera and go out to take some pictures? Enroll in a photo course.
Want to learn to play the piano? Pay a teacher, buy an online course, or arrange with another person (friend, partner, children) to attend classes together.
Another tactic that can help you build the habits you desire is to become a role model. Would you like to eat healthier and more vegetables? Do it in front of your children so they can see you.
Now you know what to do
As you can see, there are many ways to stick to your New Year’s resolutions. If you are an Obliger, it is crucial for you to create an external expectation, responsibility or commitment.
However, this is not true at all for another large group, the Questioners. These people are actually the opposite! But more about that the next time.
Summary: how to stick to New Year’s resolutions as Obliger?
- Pay in advance
- Join a paid / unpaid group
- Tell another person about your goal and ask them to check your success on certain days or dates
- Connect your habits with other people’s activities (if you exercise three times this week, the whole family will make a trip or movie night)
- Post your resolutions on social media or tell a group of friends
- Get a coach or a supervisor
- Become a role model for others