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‘Hour counts’ refers to the practise of tracking the number of hours spent forcing. It was a common practise in the past because the oldest guides instructed the reader to use them. However, they have gotten a bad name over the years from people perpetuating the idea that they are detrimental to the tulpa creation process. These fears are not entirely unfounded, because with the wrong mindset they can be very detrimental. However, with the correct approach they can be a beneficial tool that gives you schedule and structure, especially if you struggle with laziness. The purpose of this guide is to alleviate those fears by clearing up the confusion about hour counts and giving you a list of dos and don’ts to consider while using them.
Dos and Don’ts of Using Hour Counts
DO use hour counts as a scheduling tool rather than as a progress tracker. – If you are someone who struggles with laziness, scheduling your forcing sessions in advance may increase your productivity by keeping you on track. Hour counts are an effective way to do this, e.g. “I’m going to spend 15 hours on vocality forcing, 1 hour per day Mon – Fri over 3 weeks.”
DO remember that your targets are flexible. – You can change your target number of hours at any time, whether you are increasing or decreasing your targets and/or the time period spent on them. It’s important to not use this as an excuse for laziness though, try your best to only adjust your schedule if you have legitimate reasons to do so e.g. change of shift pattern at work, unavoidable social engagements like weddings or funerals etc. If you can’t meet your targets all the time, that's no reason to worry! Maybe the targets you’ve set for yourself were too unrealistic, if so, reduce them. You shouldn’t feel guilty and beat yourself up if you fail to hit your targets all the time. Hitting your targets is desirable but not mandatory.
DO remember that your targets are arbitrary. – Unless you’re using one of the old guides’ recommended targets (which I wouldn’t recommend, you’ll see why later), your targets will be based on personal choice and therefore will have no bearing on the progress you make during the time spent. Even if you are using one of the old guides, those targets will have no effect on your progress either because it’s the process itself, not an arbitrary number, that matters. It’s also worth mentioning that progress isn’t necessarily linear, so there may or may not be much difference between two arbitrary targets. It doesn't matter exactly how many hours you spend forcing, just as long as you are doing it consistently and to the best of your ability.
DON’T take the hour counts from old guides as gospel. – Most of the authors of the old guides even said that you shouldn’t follow their guides exactly, referring to them as guidelines as opposed to rules. I would even go as far as to say to disregard any recommended hour counts from any guide entirely because it may only cause anxiety for the reasons listed below. Another thing to consider about the old guides is that not just the hour counts, but some of the other information found in them may or may not be considered obsolete now, so take them with a pinch of salt if you decide to read them.
DON’T worry if you don’t see results after a certain number of hours. – This can cause discouragement. Not seeing results after a while isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it could encourage you to analyse what you’re doing and try something else that works better for you. You shouldn’t be discouraged by not seeing results after a certain number of hours because your targets are arbitrary anyway.
DON’T worry if you do see results before a certain number of hours. – This can cause doubts that you’re doing it right and can even cause parrotnoia (the fear that you're parroting all of your tulpa's responses) if your tulpa becomes vocal before you anticipate. A tulpa isn’t going to wait for you to achieve your arbitrary hour target before they speak to you because progress is determined by effort, not by arbitrary numbers.
DON’T compare your progress to others. – This is the main reason why people have had bad experiences with hour counts. People progress at different rates. When someone who's put in more hours finds that someone who has put in less hours has progressed further, they may become discouraged or think that they are doing something wrong. Conversely, when someone who's put in less hours finds that someone who has put in more hours has had less progress, they could develop doubts of their tulpa’s sentience/sapience or could develop parrotnoia.
DON’T think that you need to do a certain number of hours minimum per session. – This can easily cause fatigue, which could make your forcing sessions less effective. For me, 30 – 60 minute forcing sessions were optimal, however everyone is different in this regard and many people can force for longer periods with ease. Consistency is key in tulpamancy, doing a forcing session for 30 minutes every day for a week is better than doing a forcing session that lasts for 3.5 hours only 1 day a week.
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