Sorry for the delay in posting this, I had totally forgotten about it

I don’t know where the idea of the 30 day habit started, but I found out about it via Steve Pavlina1, who may have invented it.

The basic idea behind this is relatively simple: you have some habit that you are considering adopting but aren’t entirely sold on the idea – so you try it out for 30 days (or 31 if that is the number of days in the month, since it makes it easier) and see if you like it; sometimes you adopt the habits, sometimes you do not. Sometimes you may not have been planning on adapting those habits permanently, but you were simply curious about what it would be like to try them.

Previously I have twice done a 30-days no (non-tech) news, which turned out to be badly timed: the first was during the end of the arabic spring, the second this summer as ISIS took over the middle-east. I doubt I will do them again and I certainly won’t switch to no news permanently (this isn’t something I ever intended to for ever, since it is both terrifyingly lonely and I believe there is quite some value in keeping up with the world around us, even if just to see it crumble).

This month (October 2014) I did something a bit simpler: attempt to meditate for between 5 and 10 minutes everyday; this seems like it is a pretty easy goal.

Verdict: complete failure as far as getting closer to some form of control over my mind. It simply couldn’t stop running about everything else that was going on, every noise from the street or the heating system of the condo I live in would be magnified and result in an explosion of thought. I did end up feeling more relaxed after but I strongly suspect that would have happened if I simply just sat down and closed my eyes for a bit – no reason to focus on my breath.

Not so much a failure: Using beeminder to make sure I actually did my meditation.

Beeminder is an innovative way to keep you on your goals: you plan how much you want to do, then each time you work on your goal you put what your did into their site. If you don’t do what you said you would do (derail in beeminder terminology) then they take your money, up the amount you pay for falling of the road and put you back on the road towards your goal: the next time you don’t follow up you end up paying even more!

Admittedly beeminder is more suited to goals that doesn’t have to be done every day, but you can work on a bigger chunk a couple of times a week. That said it made me follow along with the intention to meditate each day, which I wouldn’t have done if I didn’t have money on the line.

As a side node: you can also use beeminder to ensure you get enough writing done, which is why I am currently writing this – which I should also have done after the other 30 day tests.

No link, his site is no longer worth visiting as it is now filled mostly with new age spiritual stuff.