Why Joining a Habits Group Can Help You Change Your Habits — and How to Start One.

One of the best ways to build good habits and happiness effectively – and also one of the most fun ways – is to join or start a group for people who want to change their habits.

I get a lot of requests for the starter kit, from people who want to launch a Better Than Before habits group, where people work on their habits together. Want one? Request it here.

These Better Than Before habits groups swap ideas, build enthusiasm, give energy and encouragement, and – probably most important – hold each other accountable. (Think AA and Weight Watchers.)

No surprise, many of these requests come from Obligers, who now see that external accountability is the key to sticking to their good habits — they want to form the group that will give them that crucial accountability. Which is a great idea.

Some solutions for accountability — like hiring a coach, working with a trainer, or taking a class — work extremely well, but they carry a cost; starting a habits group is free. And it’s fun.

Group members don’t have to be working toward the same aims; it’s enough that they hold each other accountable. My sister told me about her friend who’s in an accountability group where she’s being held accountable for working on a novel, while another member is being held accountable for getting massages, going to movies, etc. This may sound preposterous, but it’s actually brilliant — if you find it impossible to make time for yourself unless someone else holds you accountable, figure out a way to get that accountability!

Also, while accountability partners can also work well, pairs don’t offer the same stability of accountability. If your partner loses interest, gets distracted, or is absent for a time, your accountability vanishes.  With a group, you’re not as dependent on one person’s engagement.

If you’re part of a habits group, I’d love to hear about your experiences. What works, what doesn’t work? Are there resources I could provide that would be helpful?

For instance, I’ve been considering making a video that talks about groups, and why they’re so effective, and how to build them.

Sidenote: If you’re reading the book in any kind of group, and your group would like signed bookplates to make the books feel more personal, request them here (I’m so sorry–I can offer this for U.S. and Canada only, because of mailing costs). Or request a bookplate for yourself, or a gift, if you want.

Keep me posted about your group! I’m wildly interested to hear what everyone’s doing. Comment below or email me to let me know.

  • Sandy

    I’m an obliger but I’m struggling to find people to hold me accountable. An obliger group would be really helpful

    • Chris

      did you get a group started? I’m an obliger also.

  • What a good idea! I love to have a few people to check in with – I find goals that I chart publicly tend to go better for me.

  • Candace

    I am in the process of starting a group myself but I want to flesh it out and plan out the discussions before I start one so I have a clear idea/purpose. But I would love to hear ideas and experiences from other people that I can take into account.

  • Sarah L

    We’ve actually started a Habits group on Facebook. I’m sure it’s not as robust as a face to face group would be, but it’s convenient. Join here : https://www.facebook.com/groups/675585635811232/

  • I started a Nutrition Habits group for moms trying to lose weight and get healthier: http://www.losemama.com/habits-community/

  • Ali

    We have started a reading group, where we choose a book to read and we meet up every month to discuss that book. This has been going now for almost one year,
    Your book might be next, we would be happy if we can get it signed from you☺️

    • gretchenrubin

      Email me through the blog, with you mailing address and your request, and I’ll mail you some signed bookplates!

  • I started a 30-day Plank Challenge group on FB. I simply posted that I needed help being accountable and had people comment they were interested. Once people replied, I set up a Messenger group. We all had the same sheet we were following and were on the honor system of just checking in when we had completed each day’s allotted time. I’m planning on doing this again for April 2016 and I’ve modified the challenge so it’s more rounded (includes side planks and boat pose). It was great, which is why I’m looking forward to doing it again!

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific way to create accountability —

  • Caryl Bowman

    Hi Gretchen! Thank you so much for the starter kit and for the research you have done in building better habits for a happier life. I am a training coach. And one of my new services is fixing undesirable habits in the workplace. To facilitate those who want to train new habits, I have launched a habits group called “FIX MY HABITS.” I would love to keep you posted on how we are doing. I look forward for any new videos and resources from you. Like you, I’m wildly excited about my work!