I visited a site designed to help people start new habits called lift.do. You would choose one of the many habits from their list and they’d support you with instruction, pairing you with other people starting the same habit, sending you graphs of your progress, and things like that. A lot of hand-holding.
I get their intention, but I find it counterproductive. I think it’s effective at getting people to temporarily try habits without their taking root.
The main fault I find with the site is that supporting someone externally diminishes the activity’s intrinsic value. You could say the support is like training wheels that, once the habit takes root, you can let go of. I suppose, but I suspect people don’t use them that way. My friend who told me about the site started a dozen or two habits and none of them took root. He’s just dabbling, and the site motivates dabbling.
What got me most was their page on how to meditate. The internet has probably thousands of sites describing how to practice meditation. They didn’t need to create another. If someone wants to meditate (or nearly any habit), rarely, if ever, are they held back by a lack of instruction. They’re held back by a lack of meditating.
The SIDCHA way to start meditating
Here’s the best way to learn to meditate, what I call the SIDCHA way, based on only the activity being self-imposed, daily, challenging, healthy, and an activity, which SIDCHA stands for.
Here’s all the instruction you need:
Sit still for twenty minutes every day.
That’s all. If you want to start with five minutes daily, fine. The point is just sit still every day.
Wait, you say, That’s not meditating right. You have to learn the technique.
The SIDCHA way says start first, improve later, not learn first, then start. The SIDCHA way forces you to take the initiative yourself to improve your technique. The point is you’re doing it, not thinking about but not doing it.
If you’re reading this you probably haven’t started meditating, nor have you started the SIDCHA way. Your way hasn’t gotten you started. With the SIDCHA way, five minutes from now you will have finished your first session. And it will motivate you to learn what you’ve avoided or not done so far. Then you’ll improve. Doing things, however wrong, gets you to do them right. Inaction hardly gets you anywhere.
The SIDCHA way to start any habit
How to start any habit:
Do the habit every day.
Don’t allow choice. If you choose you’ll eventually skip.
Don’t worry about perfection. The best way to perfection is practice. That means doing it.
That’s all. Do it every day and you’ll improve. If you don’t do it you risk not starting.
Learn by doing. Learn and improve later.