The last tendency of Gretchen Rubin’s personality framework, the Four Tendencies, is the toughest nut to crack; Rebels. Unlike the tendencies we’ve covered; Upholder, Obliger, and Questioner, Rebels have a tough time making any commitments to anyone.


If you want to find out which tendency you are before we get into Rebels, take the Four Tendencies quiz here.

What is a Rebel?

As the name may imply, Rebels do not respond well to rules, deadlines, agendas, etc. They like to do what they want to do, how they want to do it, and when they want do to it. If someone imposes a task or rule on them, they’re more likely to do – or want to do – the opposite.

What holds Rebels back?

Pretty much any strategy that works well for the other tendencies – accountability, goal setting, scheduling, etc. – fail when it comes to Rebels because they resist any form of constraint or regiment.

Because all of the other tendencies (and therefore people) respond to what turns Rebels off, there are a lot of practices in place in the world – especially the corporate world – that go against what they need. They often like to go against the norm which can be seen as disruptive and not being a team player whether in the work space or home.

What strategies help Rebels reach their goals?

Habits are built upon routine and scheduling, two things that Rebels typically resist, so getting creative with how they view their goals and actions is a must.

Here are some ideas:

Be ready when the moment strikes – Rebels like to do their tasks/habits when the mood strikes, so be prepared. Having a gym bag or shoes in their car or office helps them keep a gym habit by allowing them to go when they feel like it. If they see a class starts at 6pm and they feel like going, they can go straight from work whereas signing up the day before will likely result in them dreading it or skipping.

Identify – Rebels are determined to be true to themselves. By recognizing and connecting with who they see themselves as, they will be more likely to carry out tasks that align with that. For example, they see themselves as someone who is highly environmentally conscious, so they will take the time to set aside recycling and get it out to be picked up on time.

Look for freedom and choice – Rebels hate obligation and anything forced upon them. By keeping the end goal in mind and keeping their methods open and varied, they are more likely to stay on track.

For example, if they want to write more; instead of making a rule that they will write XX pages of a book a day, they can focus on doing any form of writing for however long they feel like it that day. One day they may write a postcard to a friend, another they may create an epic blog post they share with everyone they know. Instead of feeling trapped and restrained, they are able to go with how they are feeling that day, still working towards that goal of writing more.

I hope these tips and insights on the Four Tendencies help at least one aspect of how you set and reach your goals!

If you took the quiz, what are you?

Did you uncover any hidden barriers to achieving your goals? Come up with any new strategies that are working?

Please share!

Published by Samantha Kellgren

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