I have discovered that I am a questioner. I naturally don’t accept what I am told (which will be no surprise to my parents) but research things deeply and figure out the best approach for me. I love customising and personalising, which can be handy in life and has led me to feel informed and really get to the heart of an issue but the downside is constant questioning, ending in analysis paralysis and not actually getting to the action part. This discovery has come from listening to Gretchen Rubin, you may have heard of her and her incredibly successful bestseller ‘The Happiness Project’, a friend lent this to me a few years ago and my interest was piqued recently when she was interviewed on The Rich Roll Podcast. Gretchen’s latest book is called ‘The Four Tendencies’ and the fundamental question (delighting me the questioner) is: are you an obliger? A rebel? An upholder? Or a questioner? If you have a few spare minutes and fancy a bit of fun, here is the quiz: https://gretchenrubin.com/2015/01/ta-da-the-launch-of-my-quiz-on-the-four-tendencies-learn-about-yourself/
It’s not only fun, but when thinking about New Year’s Resolutions – which everyone seems to be at the moment – finding out your dominant tendency can shed new light on the way to succeed in forming new habits – whatever you wish those new habits to be. As Gretchen says, "when you change your habits you change your life." Questioners, like me, tend to question all expectations and will meet them only when they make sense to themselves and really have to nail down the why of why they’re doing it. Upholders are great at meeting inner and outer expectations – so very readily smash their new resolutions and targets (how very annoying of them!). Obligers are good at meeting external expectations but not so good at internal ones, so if you have a goal in mind as an obliger, it can be key to engage other people in helping you to achieve them, e.g. go train in a group and hold each other accountable. Rebels resist both internal and external expectations, and are therefore more likely to succeed by not laying down hard and fast rules about how they wish to achieve their goals, Gretchen says that rebels like spontaneity and to remind themselves they can do anything as long as they want to do it.
Over twenty years ago, I questioned why I was still eating animal products (dairy and eggs) as a vegetarian. I researched it in depth and it probably took me a year or more to action it. Research can be good to not blindly leap but sometimes just following your gut instinct actually works best. I knew deep down that this is what was the right thing to do and would be better for me – as well as not involving unnecessary cruelty - but for a long time I stayed where I was not doing anything about it. I have heard many stories of people going for it and trying ‘Veganuary’ (see https://veganuary.com/ for more on this). I am in awe of people giving it a go and loving seeing all the photos of fabulous, tasty and healthy food that people are enjoying – it is inspiring and invigorating for this old timer. It fascinates me that as a society we have developed such unhealthy eating habits that are seen as the norm and naturally I question this. We know that plants are incredibly good for us (there is not a single study I can find otherwise) and that we must eat more and a much wider variety of fruits and vegetables. In fact there are ever greater numbers of studies showing just the depth of their anti-Alzheimer’s, anti-cancer, anti-obesity (and so on) preventative properties. All these potentially devastating diseases are massively on the increase in the western world and the simplest way of taking steps for our long term health and happiness is to be mindful of what we put into our bodies. It’s not about fad diets, it’s about eating mindfully or shopping mindfully today, so that we can truly look after ourselves and others, and have the happiest and healthiest year yet.
Habits are different for each person as we are all unique but by mindfully choosing our habits (which actually happen mindlessly and equates to about 40% of our time) we can lead happier, healthier and more productive lives. I’d like to leave you to ponder the answer to this great question posed by Stephen Covey: ‘What one thing could you do now – which you aren’t doing now – that if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous difference (to your life)?’. Take a leaf from a questioners book, and go personalise - and don't forget to action it!
Please get in touch below and share your answers - or a tasty plant based recipe :-) and I'll send you mine. Looking forward to hearing from you. Clare x
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