Back in 2016, I decided to try meditating every day. I was always somewhat skeptical about it, but since I’ve struggled with overthinking and ‘racing thoughts’ for all my life, I figured why not give it a try.
Fast forward to today: I’ve meditated almost every single day (with only a handful of exceptions due to surgery, etc.). My mental outlook has improved a lot, I’m way less stressed, more focused, more grounded, and a better listener.
Meditation certainly didn’t fix all of my problems, but I’m much better equipped to deal with them now.
Like any skill, the toughest part about meditation is staying committed to it. If you’re looking to make it into a daily habit, then simply read on as I share some of the tips that have helped me on my own journey.
1. The “2 Minute Rule”
This is the simplest and most powerful tip I can give you. Some days, just the thought of sitting down and spending the next 10-20 minutes doing nothing can be dreadful.
However, instead of letting my inner procrastinator get the best of me, I do a mini meditation session instead. So rather than doing a full 20-minute meditation, I’ll do it for just 2 minutes.
Even if you feel the worst, I bet you could muster up the mental capacity to sit down for 2 minutes. Just doing the basics: checking in your body’s senses, following the breath, or simply letting go.
A big part of meditation is kindness. Beating yourself up for not sticking perfectly to your schedule will only make you give up on the habit. Just do it little by little, and remember that it’s not about the short-term intensity, but more about long-term consistency. Even if it’s just for 2 minutes a day.
2. Create a Routine
Another great tip I have for you is to meditate in the same place, at the same time every day. This creates a strong connection in your brain between a trigger and an action.
So, the trigger in this case would be, say, brushing your teeth in the morning. If you meditate right after that every single day, it will eventually become an automatic process – no willpower required.
I prefer to meditate early in the morning when my mind is fresh. It puts me in a clear headspace for the rest of the day. Meditating in the morning makes me feel like I’m in the control of my day, doing things from a very grounded place.
On the other hand, when I skip my morning meditation, it often feels like I’m winging everything I do that day.
Of course, morning meditations might just not work for you. In that case, I’d recommend finding a specific time in your day where you’ll always be free. Your lunch break, or maybe before you go to sleep, for example. You can switch it up sometimes, but I don’t recommend it as it can make it harder to stick to the practice.
3. It’s Not About Perfection
We often tend to criticize ourselves when starting with meditation, including thoughts like “I’m not good at this. My brain’s just not built for this meditation thing.”
But that’s the point. Meditation is a skill. It’s practice. Just like football, you need to train consistently to reap the rewards. And it’s okay to mess up. Just keep going. Don’t give up.
4. Try Group Meditation
Doing meditation with other people makes you accountable to them, according to the co-founder of Mindfulness Meditation Group in North Caroline, Charles Francis.
Group meditation can also create a healthy and positive environment where we push each other to thrive.
The best thing is, you don’t even have to leave your house. Online group meditations can be just as powerful for keeping you motivated to stick to your practice.
5. Start Small
If you’re just starting with meditation, it’s best to take baby steps towards your goal. Meditating for 20 minutes per day right from the start can make you give up quickly.
Try with just 5 minutes per day. Then add a minute every week, or even every month. Remember: you’re in it for the long-run. It’s not a sprint!
6. Get a Mentor
Just as group meditation can make you more accountable to other people, having a teacher or mentor can provide you guidance and help you push through those moments where you feel like giving up. A mentor will often give you daily challenges, such as abstaining from social media or doing short guided meditations, to help push you further on your journey.
7. Go to a Meditation Retreat
A meditation retreat is typically an organized ‘event’ which lasts between 2-10 days in most cases, and revolves around meditating many hours every day.
If you’re new to meditation this may seem like a daunting task. But paradoxically, those who went on a retreat say this is where they really became committed to meditation.
If you’re able, try going for a meditation retreat – it can deepen your practice and lead to an amazing transformation.
8. Turn it Into a Fun Challenge
This was one of the biggest reasons why I was able to stay so committed to meditation. Once I set a goal to meditate every day, I didn’t want to break the streak. I had a check-list for the first 30 days.
Every time I ticked off the box for meditating that day, I felt a sense of empowerment and satisfaction.
This created a positive feedback loop in my mind. It became a fun challenge where I enjoyed seeing the number of consecutive days meditated increase.
Anything Else to Consider?
Incorporate More “Active” Meditation
One of the advantages of meditation that it can be done anytime, anywhere. Literally. Sometimes it seems so difficult, but it’s the easiest and simplest thing we can do, ironically.
But who says you need to just be sitting in your room to be meditating? Meditation can mean cleaning your house, taking a walk, exercising, or any activity in which you can be aware of your body and surroundings.
With meditation, you can turn an hour of room cleaning into a fun challenge, where you attempt to stay aware of the present moment as much as possible.
Many professional athletes do this when training. For example, a friend of mine who’s a boxer, engages in a meditation practice even while punching the bag. She said to me: “If I don’t punch with focus, that’s when I can hurt myself.”
Meditation isn’t one of those things you do for a few weeks, gain the benefits, and then you’re done. It’s a thing that becomes a part of your lifestyle, just like exercise, brushing your teeth, showering, etc.
So rather than thinking too far ahead, enjoy the process. Make the most of every meditation session right now. Those little moments where you get to sit still, and give yourself a break from all the craziness of everyday life.