I recently finished reading Gretchen Rubin's Better Than Before, about how we form habits (and why we would want to).
I'm not sure I have necessarily cultivated any great habits since reading it (wait, that's not true--I've started wearing my retainer again at night #bringingsexyback), but one thing I really liked about it was the way the author offers a sort of personality quiz as she discusses the different tendencies and personality types, and how they affect the way you form habits.
I've written before about the four tendencies. I'm a Questioner, for sure, and David is an Upholder. After I read the book, we talked about the other categories and we were laughing at how opposite we are--hopefully in a complementary and not contrasting way!
In addition to the four tendencies (Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel), here are some of the categories she mentions:
Lark or Owl?
I'm more of an owl. It's not like I'm staying up super late late, but if I'm going to tackle an extra project--whether it's one more load of laundry or reading a chapter of a book or finishing grading papers, whatever--I'm more likely to try to squeeze it in at night before I go to bed than first thing in the morning. The idea of getting out of bed an hour earlier to have an hour to read/write/yoga/run sounds terrible to me. (David, on the other hand, gets out of bed super early so he can exercise before he goes to work.)
Marathoner, Sprinter, or Procrastinator?
One thing I liked about Rubin's book is that she points out that none of these tendencies is right/wrong or better/worse, but that if you become aware of which category fits you, then you can adjust your approach to habit-formation accordingly. This was a good example, because it seems like we're always told that a marathon-approach is the best way to tackle any project--plod along doing a little bit at a time (ie. write your dissertation in fifteen minutes a day!). The fact is that this method does work, but I actually think I'm more of a sprinter. I always tell myself I'll grade a certain number of essays or exams a day, but I am more productive when I set aside a bigger block of time and whip through as many as I can. I got over my procrastinator tendencies in graduate school, but if given the option, I'd rather dedicate myself to a project and get it done in one big chunk than spread it out over time.
Underbuyer or Overbuyer?
I'm an overbuyer, for sure. It's important to note that this doesn't mean spendthrift. I can stick to a budget, but I feel happier when the pantry is fully stocked with more than we need. If I'm picking up something like deodorant or shaving cream or trashbags or hand soap, I'd rather buy two and store than extra than run out and not have any on hand. Buying the big ass thing of toilet paper at Sam's Club makes me feel like I can breathe easy. (That is perhaps the weirdest sentence I've ever written.)
Simplicity-lover or Abudance-lover?
This probably relates to my overbuyer status, because I'm also an abundance lover. I love bookshelves overflowing with books. I love tufted furniture. I love fluffy duvet covers. I love gallery walls with lots of frames, gothic architecture, 800-page novels, and puffy wedding dresses. When it comes to most things in life--books, shoes, photos, seasonal decor--more is more, baby! (This explains the weird sense of sadness, confusion, and inadequacy I felt when reading Marie Kondo's book. Why would anyone feel happy by getting rid of the things that make them happy? Oh, because not everyone is happy surrounded by a bunch of things. But I am! Know thyself and then be yourself. (I should add that I admire minimalist decor, clean modern lines, and slinky wedding gowns--I've just come to realize that it's not my style.)
Finisher or Opener?
Oh, man. Here's one where I wish I were a finisher, but I am totally an opener. Starting a new bottle of shampoo or opening a brand new notebook = happiness for me. Squeezing out the last farts of lotion, or crimping the end of the toothpaste tube = the worst. This is how I end up with a bathroom cabinet full of lotion bottles with a dab left in the bottom and stacks of notebooks that are 3/4 of the way full of notes...
Familiarity lover or Novelty lover?
I kind of wish I were more adventurous, but the fact is that in a city full of awesome coffee shops, I return loyally to the one (awesome) coffee shop (shout out to Hartford!). I'm the kind of person who could eat the exact same thing for lunch every day of the week (in fact, in third grade, I did exactly that #peanutbutterandjellyftw). I'm more likely to suggest we go back to a restaurant I know I like than check out somewhere new. So this is a tendency that I do try to resist sometimes, because I think a little novelty keeps things interesting!
Abstainer or Moderator?
I'm more of a moderator. I can abstain from things, but after doing a spending freeze a couple of times, I found that it kind of makes me anxious. I do better sticking to a strict budget than doing no spending whatsoever. I have no problem having just one bite of dessert, or one glass of wine. (Although Caramel Delights a.k.a. Samoa Girl Scout Cookies are so delicious that I might have just eaten an entire row of them.)
It probably speaks to a remarkable level of narcissism that I'm fascinated by this kind of self-knowledge, but I'm also curious about you guys--anyone out there line up with me? Are you and your partner samesies or an opposites-attract kind of situation?