The internet is full of advice. Do this. Do that. Lose weight. Find Mr Right. Make millions from home. Get a billion followers and rock-hard abs by lunchtime.

I could do the same. This is how I managed to conquer **insert “flaw” here** and achieved **insert “success” here**.

But what works for me won’t work for you. Necessarily.

Let’s take me as an example. I am a conscientious nerd. I create my own rules and deadlines, then I am obliged to stick to them. For no reason except I made a rule. I have to meditate, write 500 words and run 10km before 10 o’clock or I’m a total failure. But this isn’t some humblebrag. I stress myself out with self-imposed deadlines, which no one else cares about. I am my own boss from hell.

I’m what Gretchen Rubin calls an “upholder”. Many people who write productivity/ self-help / diet books are also upholders. Follow these rules and you’ll get these results.


Erm. No.


Not everyone is an upholder. Most people aren’t. Maybe you need an external motivation – a group commitment, a friend you don’t want to let down, make a grand public statement.

Or maybe any type of rule freaks you out. Structure makes you want to run the other way. Or purposefully defy.

If you are like this, I don’t have the answer. I’m not you but other people are. Look around and you might find the answer from someone who thinks like you.

So my advice is take all advice with a grain of salt.

Including this.