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How clarity is keeping me in shape

I promised last week that I wasn’t done talking about The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin, and today I’ll deliver on that promise. I wanted to write about making exercise a habit, and to do that I simply have to talk about the four tendencies. For the first time since college, I feel like I have a very consistent exercise routine. I leaned into my questioner nature to set this routine, and I’m happy to report it’s going great!

Questioners meet an expectation only if they endorse it as efficient and reasonable.
— Gretchen Rubin, The Four Tendencies

I like routines, repetition, and schedules. I like to know what I will be doing and when I’ll be doing and (especially) why I am doing something. I’m a familiarity lover to my core, and I’ve always loved exercise. So why has it been so hard for the last few years to make it a consistent, routine habit?

It was easy for me to stick to an exercise routine in high school and college where I had a pretty set schedule and exercise had a designated spot in each day. Now that I’m an adult with a normal job, I could fit exercise in each morning, or after work, or after dinner, or maybe even at lunch. Having all these options seems good, but I could never decide which was best. Or what exercise was best. Should I be running? Or doing weights? How many days a week should I do each? How important is yoga? Because I could never decide, I never had a routine, and my exercise was inconsistent.

I need exercise in my life to help keep me calm, focused, and able to sleep at night. I realized that I exercise consistently when I have a class to go to, so this fall I signed up for three classes. Even though I was getting my workouts in easily for weeks the habit still didn’t feel set until a week or so ago, when I gained clarity into why it was working. Why something works is what’s important to me, so when I came to my realization I was overjoyed! Getting enough exercise won’t be an issue until after the holidays when the class schedules will change again.

The Strategy of Clarity is crucial for Questioners. They want to know exactly what they’re doing, and why. They won’t meet an expectation if they don’t understand the reason, so they must receive robust answers to their questions. They also must clearly see and trust the authority and expertise of the person asking them to meet that expectation.
— Gretchen Rubin

Why does having a class work for this questioner? Having a class means I know where and when I will be exercising each day of the week, and how much time it will take. It’s efficient. I won’t have to make a decision, so I won’t get bogged down in deciding what the best option is for the day or the week. It’s written into the schedule, so I don’t have to decide if it’s the best use of time.

It can take me a long time to decide, but with classes I can decide once to sign up, and then not have to decide again for months at a time. I’m free to wonder about everything else. My decision to exercise is already made!

Questions: Do you like to exercise? Do you prefer classes, or working out on your own? Does having clarity around a habit help you stick to it?

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