How do you develop habits? Plus, a Summer Mango, Maca, Macadamia Smoothie

I quite like personality quizzes. I’m curious about people, so I’m drawn to anything that helps me to understand my own and others’ behaviours. Sometimes, this can see me digress into doing useless quizzes like; ‘Which Harry Potter Character would you be?’ or ‘How long would you survive on Game of Thrones?’ (Not long. I’m not ruthless enough.)

A while back, a friend sent me this quiz, about the four tendencies of developing habits. I also recently listened to Brooke McAlary’s podcast with Gretchen Rubin, who designed the quiz. Unlike the Buzzfeed quizzes, this one is truly interesting – it helped me to understand why I’ve been successful at forming some habits but not others – and that this is inherently related to how I went about establishing those habits, rather than the habit itself. I came out as an Obliger, which essentially means I meet outer expectations and resist inner expectations, explaining why I’ve always been so terribly bad at exercising, unless I’m accountable to or doing it with someone else. Additionally, I also have rebel responses to this – periods of time when I become resentful and burnt out, and then stop ‘obliging’ altogether.

My husband, on the other hand, is a Questioner. He is VERY good at getting up at 5am (ugh) to exercise. It was useful to reflect on how this plays out for us in our relationship – exercise is a good example. He finds it strange and frustrating that I struggle with developing good habits around exercise, and hopefully now understands why I find this difficult. It’s also useful for me to understand his questioning tendencies – his need to have a good reason to do something. It’s confronting for me to have to reflect on some of the bad habits I have developed, around my tendency to be a people pleaser – and then to become burnt out. Ultimately, I guess this is self-inflicted…

Check out Gretchen’s Quiz here – and if you feel comfortable doing so, please share your own result and thoughts in the comments below!

And now, a smoothie:

I first posted this summer smoothie on Instagram over two years ago – with a promise to put the recipe up on the blog. Oops! Well, I’m glad to have rediscovered it. My kids love this one. Last summer I also froze it into icy poles, which they enjoyed. This is (coincidentally) a vegan smoothie, but feel free to switch out the coconut milk for regular milk; or to add a 1/4 cup of natural yoghurt or kefir for some extra gut-health goodness. Maca powder is said to be good for balancing female hormones – to be honest, I just like its slightly malty flavour. It is a little expensive, so feel free to omit if you prefer! Last time I made this, I had some leftover, so I added chia seeds (on a 1:4 chia to smoothie ratio) to make a delightful chia pudding for the following day.

Summer Mango, Maca and Macadamia Smoothie

Serves 2

  • 1 fresh mango, flesh diced; or 1 cup of frozen mango cubes
  • 1 tbsp macadamia butter*
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut water or water; plus extra to dilute if desired
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1/2 tsp maca powder (optional)
  • Optional toppings: coconut flakes and chia seeds

1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor, and process until well combined.

2. Add additional water if you prefer a thinner consistency. If you like, top with chia seeds and coconut flakes.

*I make my own macadamia butter, which is cheaper than buying it. Macadamias are quite oily nuts and release their oils quickly. Simply process the nuts in a high-powered food processor until smooth and creamy, and then store in a jar in the cupboard.

Mango, Maca, Macadamia Smoothie


  1. Great post Erin …l’m a questioner through and through, love having the understanding behind it but l suppose that’s another indication l’m a questioner 😂

    • Erin says:

      I think that is an excellent tendency to have! To question the rationale and then be able to internalise it as a worthwhile decision or habit. To be honest I’m disappointed (though not surprised!) to come out as an obliger – I’d like to be able to be more accountable to myself!

  2. Great post Erin, I am a questioner although a few years ago I would have been an obliger. I love learning about what makes people tick (probably why I’m going to be a naturopath). I’m currently doing a unit on the foundations of communication and counselling and did a Quizz quite similar. I have a mango in the fridge so perfect for making your pudding! Thanks for sharing. X

    • Erin says:

      Oh that’s encouraging (to me!) that you were able to change your tendency! Was that something you were able to change consciously?

      • I think it comes with age Erin, although I have always been a questioner and gone against the norm I have grown more confident in my beliefs and don’t try and people please as much (I know I still do though). You quit sugar which is a huge internal expectation to accomplish, so don’t let a title define you. X

  3. Claire Marchant says:

    Love this post Erin! I’m like you, an obliger. I’m not surprised, but I feel disappointed😂.

    I’ve been working very hard to listen to my inner voice which I have ignored over the years when others question my opinions or actions. It’s a hard habit to break, but I’m determined to do it!

    Claire xx

    • Erin says:

      I know exactly how you feel. It’s strange because I’d say I’m a fairly driven person (in a vague, directionless way 😂) but can’t even commit to myself more than others. Seems almost a bit disrespectful to ourselves, you know what I mean? But I wonder if it’s also socially related, that as women and mothers we’re more likely to put ourselves last… Tracey also commented that she was able to change her tendency, so that’s promising!

  4. I’m an upholder, which describes me to a tee! I’m generally good at forming habits (both good and bad), but have a tendency to feel bound by internal and external expectations. That makes me the worlds biggest goodie two shoes and means I don’t always stretch myself especially if it involves taking a risk, or doing something differently. Thanks for sharing this Erin, it was really interesting. I’m going to get hubby to do it.

    • Erin says:

      That’s so interesting Rani – I was feeling a bit envious about the upholders but I can see that would be a lot of pressure too! PS I might be able to give you a run for your money on world’s biggest goodie two shoes 😉 xx

  5. Pingback: Well, are you going to show me yours?!! – "Sugar Lumps!" …

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