Upholder (Gretchen Rubin)

Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations. They wake up and think: “What’s on the schedule and the to-do list for today?” They want to know what’s expected of them, and to meet those expectations. They avoid making mistakes or letting people down—including themselves. Others can rely on Upholders, and Upholders can rely on themselves. They’re self-directed and have little trouble meeting commitments, keeping resolutions, or hitting deadlines (they often finish early). They generally want to understand the rules, and often they search for the rules beyond the rules—as in the case of art or ethics. Because Upholders feel a real obligation to meet their expectations for themselves, they have a strong instinct for self-preservation, and this helps protect them from burn-out. However, Upholders may struggle in situations where expectations aren’t clear. They may feel compelled to meet expectations, even ones that seem pointless. They may feel uneasy when they know they’re not observing the rules, even unnecessary rules, or when they’re asked to change plans at the last minute. Others may find them rigid. There’s a relentless quality to Upholder-ness, which can be tiring both to Upholders and the people around them. Upholders embrace habits, and form them fairly easily, because they find habits gratifying. The fact that even habit-loving Upholders must struggle to foster good habits shows how challenging it is to shape our habits.