Part 3 – How to Master Healthy Habits with Personalized Motivation

HealthyHabitsAs we learned in Part 1 & Part 2 of this series, by understanding the brain’s habit loop and by using cravings as our driver of a desired habit change, we can now master healthy habits.

The final ingredients?  Know yourself and personalize your motivation.

Know Yourself

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, suggests that people generally fall into one of four categories.  Read and choose yours.

From: Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

Upholders

Respond readily to both outer expectations and inner expectations. They wake up and think: “What’s on the schedule and the to-do list for today?” They want to know what’s expected of them, and meet those expectations. They avoid letting people down, including themselves.

Questioners

Motivated by reason, logic and fairness, they question all expectations, and will meet an expectation only if they believe it’s justified. They wake up and think, “What needs to get done today, and why?” 

Obligers

Motivated by external accountability, they tend to be “people pleasers” who respond readily to outer expectations but struggle to meet inner expectations. They wake up and think, “What must I do today?”

Rebels

They resist control, even self-control, and enjoy flouting rules and expectations. They resist all expectations, inner and outer alike. They wake up and think, “What do I want to do today?”

Got your category? Cool. If not, roll with one that’s close enough. You’ll need one to personalize your motivation.

Personalize Your Motivation

Personalizing motivation is all about picking the right strategy for you. Some categories (Upholder, Questioner) have multiple motivators, while others (Obliger, Rebel) are more specific and have limited motivators. That’s why it’s important to know whether you’re some one who can be motivated in multiple ways or need a very specific motivator.

Ready? Let’s scroll. Find your category and you’ll see personalized motivators below it.

Upholders

Schedule a Habit

If it’s on an upholder’s calendar or planner, they’ll be motivated to respond quickly to the expectation and get it done.  When it’s on the calendar repeatedly, the habit gets reinforced.

Monitor a Habit

Upholders don’t mind tracking progress. Pedometers and Fitbits work well for these folks to stay active. Scales help them with weight loss.

From: Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

Research shows that wearing a pedometer and trying to hit a goal does make people more physically active.

(To order the pedometer I’d recommend, click here).

(To check out the best Fitbits, click here.)

Check your weight, daily.

I know, weighing yourself everyday seems a bit overboard, but research says it works.

From: Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

Current research shows that weighing each day – which may strike some people as excessive – is associated with losing weight and keeping it off.

(To see the best scale for upholders, click here).

Questioners

Schedule a Habit

If it makes sense, a Questioner will put it on the calendar. When it’s on the calendar repeatedly, the habit gets reinforced.

Monitor a Habit

Questioners don’t mind tracking progress. Pedometers and Fitbits encourage these folks to get moving.

From: Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

Research shows that wearing a pedometer and trying to hit a goal does make people more physically active.

(To order the pedometer I’d recommend, click here).

(To check out the best Fitbits, click here.)

In addition to counting steps, a daily weigh-in can lead to pounds lost by Questioners.

Check your weight, daily.

I know, weighing yourself everyday seems a bit overboard, but research says it works.

From: Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

Current research shows that weighing each day – which may strike some people as excessive – is associated with losing weight and keeping it off.

(To see the top-rated scale without question, click here).

Face a Challenge

Questioners aren’t big on meeting expectations unless it makes sense to them, but they won’t shy away from challenges that motivate them.  Signing up for a 5K, Tough Mudder or fitness competition can fuel their fire.

Pride is important to all categories, especially Questioners and Rebels. When they feel like it, questioners will be motivated to prove they can do more or better than others. Their pride powers them with a refuse to lose attitude.

Obligers

Schedule a Habit

If it’s on an Obliger’s calendar or planner, they’ll be motivated to respond quickly to the expectation and get it done.  When it’s on the calendar repeatedly, the habit gets reinforced, especially to avoid disappointing others.

Monitor a Habit

Obligers aren’t always keen on tracking progress, but if it’s a group thing, they may join in with a pedometer or Fitbit. Research says it works.

From: Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

Research shows that wearing a pedometer and trying to hit a goal does make people more physically active.

(To order the pedometer I’d recommend, click here).

(To check out the best Fitbits, click here.)

Now for some simple obliger math…

Obliger + fitbit = more fit obliger

AND

Obliger + scale = thinner obliger

Check Your Weight, Daily.

I know, weighing yourself everyday seems a bit overboard. But, Obligers trying not to disappoint others may benefit from the daily weigh-in, especially in group settings like Weight Watchers.

From: Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

Current research shows that weighing each day – which may strike some people as excessive – is associated with losing weight and keeping it off.

(To see the best scale for obligers, click here).

Partner Up

Accountability is ideal for obligers. When some one else is watching, an obliger steps it up. They are motivated to make others happy and do well with an accountability partner, be it a trainer, coach, group, class, team, etc. Research shows that accountability partners help with weight loss too.

From: Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

In one intervention, people who enrolled in a weight-loss program with an accountability partner maintained their weight loss more successfully than people who joined alone.

If you’re an obliger struggling to master healthy habits, partner up with a trainer!

Rebels

Face a Challenge

Pride is important to all categories, especially Rebels. When they feel like it, Rebels will be motivated to prove they can do more or better than others. Their pride powers them with a refuse to lose attitude. Signing up for a 5K, group classes or competitive events like the Tough Mudder can fuel a rebel’s fire.

One of my rebellious clients loves a challenge. In group settings, she’ll meet the challenge head on. She doesn’t care to be first, but she’ll push herself to be sure she’s not at the end of the line.

Wrap-Up

You may have noticed that some categories have multiple motivators. If that’s you, simply pick one that works for you. Once you know yourself and personalize your motivators, you have reached a final step to know how to successfully master healthy habits!

  1. Know Yourself – Are you an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger or Rebel? Once you know how you respond to expectations, you can find your personalized motivators to master healthy habits.
  2. Personalize Your Motivators – Upholders, questioners, and obligers can personalize their motivation to master habits by scheduling them, monitoring them with fitbits and scales or partnering up. Rebels can find some extra motivation with challenges like 5Ks, group classes or competitive events like the Tough Mudder.

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About Dave Barnas, M.S., CES, NASM-CPT

Dave is a true health expert. He is the founder and owner of True Health Unlimited, LLC, a personal health and fitness company in Tolland, CT. Dave earned both a Bachelor's (1998) and Master's Degree (2000) in Nutritional Science from the University of Connecticut, and also holds certifications as a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Group Instructor, and Nutrition Specialist. He's also the lead author for four published works. Dave has over 18,000 hours of combined experience in nutrition counseling, dietary supplement advising, personal training, corrective exercise training, health coaching and public speaking. In addition, he's spent over 20 years studying spirituality, meditation, and personal growth strategies. Dave's clients are all ages: youth, college championship level athletes, folks in their retired years, and everywhere in between. He's worked with three of the nation's leading physicians as a dietary supplement advisor and been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Yale University, UConn, St. Joseph College and various church groups, health clubs, and high schools. In 2013, he was invited to Whole Foods Market to share his Real Food Therapy Guide. And in 2015, Dave's funny "Snowga" (yoga in the snow) video caught the attention of The National Weather Channel, who aired it to shake off cabin fever and bring laughter. In 2016, Dave & Hollie (his beloved) began writing evidence-based Wellness Newsletters to spread a message of health and happiness to various small businesses throughout Connecticut.

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