A Weird Trick That Works

It is hard to develop a new habit.
Fortunately, I have a weird trick to help you and it is scientifically proven to work.
In a famous study “The Methods of Interrogation and Indoctrination Used by the Communist State Police” Lawrence Hinkle and Harold Wolff, examined how the Chinese government “brainwashed” American prisoners of war to become vocal proponents of China. The so called brainwashing was perplexing to the American military who funded the study. There was no evidence of torture, drug use or hypnosis typically associated with such a dramatic reversal of opinions.
The Chinese secret police had discovered through small, incremental steps of essay writing the opinions of the prisoners could be deeply and profoundly molded. Simply writing and sharing essays on the merits of communism could change a prisoner’s most cherished beliefs. (Hinkle, 1957)

In the science of habit formation public statements are effective but written statements prove to most effectively shape future behavior. (Read, follow through.)  
Having Trouble Meditating Daily? Consider trying the following steps:

  1. Stop right now and grab a pen and paper.
  2. Visualize when you would like to meditate.  I find it is best to link a new habit to something you already do daily like showering or brushing your teeth.
  3. Write down this commitment. “I will meditate for ____ minutes immediately after I __________.” 
  4. Send me an amazed email telling me it worked!

This has been tested and proven in a number of ways over the last 50 years. I did a research experiment for my master’s thesis which confirmed just how powerful this simple trick is.
I gave basic meditation instruction to 30 new practitioners. All agreed to meditate daily and report back their success. The control group got basic instruction. The experimental group got the same instruction plus the recommended steps mentioned above.
The difference was surprising. The control meditated 4.5 days on average and the experimental group meditated 5.75 days.
It is a simple trick and it works. Consider giving it a try. I’d love to hear if it helps you.
May your practice go well.
Warmly, (Actually it is very cold here)
Anthony A. Cernera, M.Ed.