By Leo Babauta

I’m happy to announce a new, faster and perhaps more organized way of forming accountability groups in the Sea Change Program.

The new system is located in the Sea Change members forum — click on the “Social Groups” tab, next to the “Forums” and “Members” tabs at the top.

Here’s how you form a group:

  1. If you want to be a group leader and form a new group, click the “Add Group” button. You can make it a public group if you’re looking for new members, or hidden if you don’t want new members … hidden groups won’t show up in the groups directory, so guests won’t see your groups page.
  2. Membership Approval: “invite only” is set as default. Leave it as is unless you want to allow people to request to join the group, and you can then select “Admin approval”.
  3. Category: Select “Following modules” if your group follows the Sea Change monthly modules, or “Special
    interests” if the members of your group have some special interests in common, beyond following (or not) the
    monthly Sea Change modules, or “Location-based” if you’re based on a country or city or region.
  4. Group Description: This is your front window to the Sea Change community! Indicate “Group full” or “Looking for X more members” at the top. Tell potential members what you are all about: your goals, interests, values and rules. If your group has a set day/time in the week/month for its weekly or monthly meeting, mention it with your time zone. It will be easier for potential new members to screen themselves out.
  5. Save it. You can later edit this stuff via GroupCP (= control panel) – General Settings.

You can skip the group logo and background/banner for now if you like.

Once you’ve created the group, you can go to your group’s home page anytime. News, on your home page, can be used for announcements. And create topics for group discussion within the “Group Discussion” section to the right.

More info here: Quickstart Guide to Social Groups

To Join a Group

If you just want to join (not form) a group:

  1. You can browse through the Social Groups portal, or look through the Group Directory (link on the right side of the Social Groups page).
  2. Find a public group, and hit “Join Group”! Or message the group’s owner for an invite if you’re not able to join.
  3. Once you’re in, you can then go to the group’s home page and join discussions.

If there’s another group that’s private that you’d like to join, you should message the group leader and ask for an invite.

Suggested Group Guidelines

You can run your group as you like … however, here are my recommendations:

  1. Limit groups to 5-10 members for best accountability. Larger groups can be fun too, but usually have less accountability.
  2. Make a commitment to each other, and care about upholding that commitment. For example, “We commit to reporting every day, as long as we are able, and to meeting once a week. We also commit to holding people accountable and being good members of the group.”
  3. Each month, commit to doing a specific habit (it can be different for each member), and ideally, decide on a consequence if you don’t do the habit a certain number of times (25 times, for example). Embarrassing consequences can be fun.
  4. Report to each other daily or as near to daily as you can. How did you do with your habit? You can be flexible about reporting, but try to uphold your reporting commitment when at all possible.
  5. Meet once every week or two — agree to a meeting software, such as Google+ Hangouts, Skype, etc. Have an agenda beforehand.
  6. If someone isn’t checking in, email them (everyone in a group should share email addresses with each other).
  7. If someone consistently doesn’t show up, agree that people can be kicked out of the group and replaced.