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.
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.