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This morning, as usual, I consulted my checklist for the day. Faith, Self-Care, Family, Mission. It’s Martin Luther King Day. No mail, no problem. No walk to the mailbox, self-care problem.

When was the last time I walked? I looked at my calendar. Ten days ago.

How could that be? I walk several times a week. That’s what I tell myself and others: walking is a habit.

Something was wrong.


RubinBookAccording to author Gretchen Rubin, in her book Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, people have different tendencies with regard to habits and expectations. I tend to be an Upholder, a rule-follower who likes to meet both outer and inner expectations. The three other tendencies are: Questioner (resists outer, meets inner), Obliger (meets outer, resists inner), and Rebel (resists both outer and inner expectations).

Of course, the tendencies overlap; I question, oblige, and rebel, too. As such, I’m not a big fan of best-selling, self-help books. But as a rule-follower, I tend to take good advice.

Upholders are, as Rubin wrote, “…self-directed and have little trouble meeting commitments, keeping resolutions, or meeting deadlines… They want to understand the rules…” But, she continues, “Upholders may struggle in situations where expectations aren’t clear or the rules aren’t established.”

There was my problem. Other than my daily weight warmup and stretching, I hadn’t established a regular, aerobic strategy for no-mail days or those with commitments away from home.

I needed better strategies.


To address foundational habit areas, such as sleeping, exercising, and eating, Rubin recommended monitoring, scheduling, and accountability. It’s easy to monitor my walk-to-the-mailbox days and hold myself accountable. And pairing walking with another to-do on my checklist is a good idea, since I don’t enjoy walking for walking’s sake.

Know thyself.

WoodpileJan2020So, for today, an at-home, no-mail day, I’ve scheduled two, walk-replacement pairings: help Keith move firewood into the garage and clean debris from the pipe at the bottom of the ravine. As my readers know, ditch-cleaning is never ending here on the mountain and especially important after rain. And I love being active and productive, meeting both inner and outer expectations at the same time.

Because I’m a creature of habit.


Click to take the quiz. Are you an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel? Please reply in comments.


This post on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUihQ59cmc8&feature=youtu.be