Obliger–How You Can Finally Accomplish Your Internal Expectations

Last time we talked about the 4 Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. I gave a quick overview of each tendency.

Did you get a chance to take the test to see which tendency you are? If you’d like to find out, click here to take the quick quiz.

Now, we’re going to delve a little deeper into each one individually. I want to help you understand yourself and how your tendency relates to others. This will help you fully express who you are and help you engage more effectively with others.

Photo by Lex Sirikiat on Unsplash

Photo by Lex Sirikiat on Unsplash

Have you ever called yourself lazy or undisciplined because you can’t ever seem to get your goals accomplished? Do you ever feel like you have time to help everyone else, but when it’s time to invest in yourself, there’s no time left? How about those New Year’s Resolutions? Did you give up on them a long time ago?

Here’s the kicker, even though you never seem to get your personal goals accomplished, you always seem to get that report to your boss on time. Your kids can count on you to get them to their sporting event, even though you originally planned to have some “you time.”

If any of this is hitting home, you, my friend, just might be an Obliger.

I’m an Obliger. For years I berated myself, calling myself lazy and undisciplined, because I could never seem to achieve personal goals. Forget New Year’s Resolutions! I had stopped making those decades ago! Why make a goal when you know you’re not going to achieve it and will then just beat yourself up for not meeting that goal?!

The odd thing was, I was great at work. You could completely rely on me when I was given a task to complete it or show up on time, every time.

Why? Why could I do everything for everyone else, but never get those things done for myself?

I had big dreams to write bible studies, books, speak and coach, but years would go by with no progress. Too busy? Not really, I just put everyone else’s needs and wants before my own dreams.

Then magic happened. Gretchen explained an Obliger needs external accountability in order to meet internal expectations.

Cue Hallelujah chorus. My life is forever changed! I no longer think of myself as lazy! I’m not lazy, I just need external accountability to get things done that I want to get done for myself.

So, now I have systems of accountability set up to meet my goals! And, for the first time in my life, I’m working on MY dreams!

Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

“How can an Obliger meet internal expectations?”

As an Obliger, we need to create external accountability to get done those internal expectations. Knowing this is freeing. You now can create a game plan to help yourself meet those internal expectations that you’ve been putting off for years! Woohoo!

Enlist the help of an accountability partner

Gretchen shared an awesome example in her book (The 4 Tendencies) how two Obligers managed to be each other’s accountability partner to workout at the Gym. They would each exchange a shoe when they left the gym. Now, they would have to show up or their friend couldn’t work out. Brilliant!!

Get creative and find those accountability partners to help you meet those internal expectations.

Employ apps to hold you accountable

For instance, I use the Lose It app to track my weight and my exercise. I used it last year to lose almost 40 pounds. But, I still continue to use it to hold me accountable to that weight. It helps me make better food choices. I know if I’m maintaining my weight or not and can take immediate action if I’m not. The app holds me accountable.

Try a planner to hold you accountable to your goals and/or your tasks

For my personal goals and daily tasks, I use a planner that has goal tracking in it (I use Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner). Since, I’ve been using this to hold me accountable, I’ve been actually meet goals for the first time in my life! Use whatever works, but try something.

Photo by  Dane Deaner  on  Unsplash

Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

“How can others help an Obliger?”

Don’t take advantage of an Obliger

Now for those of you that know an Obliger, or are maybe married to one, you can help them, by first, not taking advantage of their helpful Obliger nature. It can be so easy to continually go to the Obliger for help because you know they’ll say, “yes.” Please don’t over-ask and please, do use your emotional intelligence to read when they may hesitate before they say, “yes.” This is a clear sign they really should say, “no.”

Watch out for Obliger Rebellion

Warning - if an Obliger is pushed too far and they feel they’re being taken advantage of, they will rebel. Oh, for real; it’s called, “Obliger rebellion.”

Obliger rebellion is when Obligers have had enough and rebel against the external expectations coming at them. It may look like it’s coming out of now where, but it’s been building my friends. So, please be sensitive to not push your Obliger friends to the point of Obliger rebellion.

As an Obliger, you can watch out for this by learning to say, “no.” I know it’s hard, but you can do it!! It’s really for everyone’s good that you don’t get pushed too far and shut it all down.

Ask how you can help the Obliger to help them meet their internal expectation.

Next, ask–don’t tell–what you can do to help them achieve they’re internal expectations–goals. Again, an Obliger needs external accountability to meet their internal expectations. You can possibility help them with the external accountability.

My husband will ask me, “what can I do for you to help you write?” He’s not telling me I need to write. He’s helping clear other external expectations so I can do the thing I want to do.

P.S. It also helps me as an Obliger to actually go write when he’s helping me do other things because I don’t want to waste his help. 😉

So, bottom line for Obligers is to use external accountability to get done our internal expectations.

And, for those communicating with an Obliger, be sure to not over use their helpful nature and help where you can to hold them accountable to their internal expectations (for their benefit–not yours).

Next time, we’re going to delve into the Rebel!


If you’re an Obliger, what’s the best way you’ve found to employ external accountability to get done your internal expectations? Or, what will you employ now to hold you accountable?

For non-Obligers, what’s one way you think you could help your fellow Obligers with accountability?


The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People's Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin *

Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt

*Link is an affiliate link.