How Does Your Personality Affect Your Motivation



"What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while." ~Gretchen Rubin

Let’s face it, you’re not always going to feel motivated to exercise.

Regardless of your dedication towards reaching your goals, there will be days (*cough* or, you know, weeks…*cough*) when you just don’t feel like it.

Maybe your work life gets in the way and consumes the time you scheduled to get your sweat in.

Maybe your kids’ schedules dictate your life and you forgot to schedule time for yourself.

Maybe it’s anxiety that gets in your face and says, “Nope, we’re not going to yoga and don’t even think about dragging me to that spin class. Not gonna do it, nope. No way.”

Personally, I’ve been using the 5-Second Rule to get workouts in when I just don’t feel like it. It absolutely works for so many things I just don’t want to do.

Admittedly, the other night I didn’t want to walk 15 steps to get my glasses, so I could clearly watch a Seinfeld episode. Amol counted, “5-4-3-2-1…” and I miraculously returned with my glasses on. (Thanks, Amol.)



I love adding tools to my productivity toolbox, so I was pleased to discover a theory that helped me understand my personal motivators, and how they affect my life in general - more specifically, their relation to my fitness goals.

I stumbled upon the author, Gretchen Rubin, and two of her books: ‘The Happiness Project’, and ‘The Four Tendencies’. (And I happy danced to the library to pick them up. Fortunately for your eyes, video of this occasion is not available.)

I started with ‘The Four Tendencies’ which discusses how everyone falls into one of four tendency categories. That tendency is based on our motivations; both internal and external.

Julius Charles Hare wrote, “Be what you are. This is the first step in becoming better than you are.”

I took a few minutes to determine my tendency and I was able to better understand my motivations, giving me a clearer focus on my goals and how I could work productively within MYSELF to achieve them.

Rubin developed a FREE online quiz to determine your tendency.

Go take the quiz and hop back here when you’re done.

Seriously, go. I’ll wait….

YOU’RE BACK! YAY! What did you get?

No matter your result, all four tendencies have their own specific pros and cons based on how we meet our inner and outer expectations.

So, for my competitive friends out there, don’t think, “Ooh, I got the best tendency.”

No such thing.

(But really, Upholders are pretty cool. Just saying...)


“Be what you are. This is the first step in becoming better than you are.” Julies Charles Hare

In case you DIDN’T take the FREE quiz: “The Four Tendencies” are:

The Upholder - meets both inner and outer expectations

The Questioner - resists outer expectations and meets inner expectations

The Rebel - resists both inner and out expectations

The Obliger - meets outer expectations and resists inner expectations

Adhering to a fitness program can be challenging.

But - understanding your tendency can help you make progressive decisions about your fitness strategy that will maximize your results.

Let’s take a look at how our tendency can instruct our fitness journey;

The Upholders: Let’s Plan!

Upholders crave discipline and easily meet inner and outer expectations. If they set an intention, they will work to meet it. Know this though, Upholders tend to overwhelm themselves and be afraid that they are going to let someone down. When thinking of a fitness program, Upholders will typically follow a well-written, well developed plan. Being mindful of their progress, but scaling back as needed, which is important for Upholders so they don’t over train.

As an Upholder, I have in the past, had a very narrow focus when training for half-marathons.

Many times, those plans were successful and I met my goal for those races.

But, I‘ve also been guilty of overtraining and often needed a friend to point out that I need to reign it in to avoid injury.

...ironically enough, I did not avoid said injury.

The Questioners: Track It!

Questioners take any expectation and through a thorough investigation turn every expectation into an inner expectation. They need a fitness plan that aligns with their ideals and one that they can adjust as they deem fit.

A questioner works out best alone and sees results by tracking their progress. Reviewing a fitness log in a paper journal or via an app will assist the Questioner in staying motivated to meet their goals.

The Rebels: You Do What You Want!

Rebels - dear sweet, Rebels.

Rebels love to live in the moment, thriving on extremes. Rebels need freedom of choice and listen to what their bodies need.

If you tell a rebel that they need to strengthen their core, they are NOT going to strengthen their core.

Rebels need a plan that will work for them.

They also do really well with tangible rewards, such as a spa day after a consistent month of training.

The Obligers: Sign Up & Get A Buddy!

Obligers need external accountability, meeting outer expectations and only getting done what they have to get done day to day.

To be successful with a fitness program, they either need a workout buddy OR a personal trainer OR fitness instructor - if not all three - that will hound them if they don’t show up.

Choosing a workout buddy is important - because that person has to be extremely dedicated to their goals while also working to keep the Obliger motivated. (Or they might just end up sitting in a coffee shop talking about how they should be working out...)

Our fitness plans will only work if they energize us and match our tendency!

If what you’re doing right now is working for you, keep it up!

If you’re having difficulty staying motivated, take a look at your tendency, and make an adjustment.

I’d love to learn about the tendency that describes you!

And if you need accountability, a fitness plan, an extreme race to sign up for (I’m NOT doing that race with you, Rebel), reach out!

Let’s connect!