If you’re feeling extra stress and anxiety these days because you’re alone. We are all facing more stress and uncertainty than usual, and it has forced many of us to pause and look at how we are living our lives.
I have received more questions about how to start a consistent meditation practice in the last several months than ever before. And you know what, creating a new habit is challenging. It requires a lot of focus, attention, and energy.
So I am sharing the secrets I learned after trying to create a consistent meditation practice for 8 years. Yes, I spent 8 years thinking about wanting to meditate—Whew! Think of all the brainpower wasted!
The thought track went something like this:
- Declare to myself that I want to meditate every day
- Take a seat wherever I am
- Attempt to look like the yogi’s I’ve seen pictures of. Do you know what I’m talking about? A body that looks at ease and peaceful while somehow being stiff and structured at the same time… while sitting on a very hard looking floor.
- Next. I feel uncomfortable, and my mind can’t stop the thought track of “am I doing this right?” or “why won’t my brain turn off”
- I then turn on an audio or video recording; I’ve used Headspace, glo.com, Calm, 10% Happier.
- Follow the guide and think okay. I can do this only to find my brain judging my thoughts for wondering and my body for being uncomfortable.
- Repeat for 1-3 days and then forget about it
- Get inspired and restart a few months later, then repeat the above.
It is a vicious cycle. Do you relate?
Now that I look back, it is easy for me to understand why I lacked success. I had no plan, and I got caught up in what the ‘perfect meditation practice’ should look like, instead of looking inside and figuring out how meditation could fit into MY life.
We are all hard on ourselves most of the time; meditation is a time where you should go easy on yourself and be gentle and kind.
The secrets I share below are techniques I used when creating a consistent meditation practice, and I still use a lot of these today.
Hopefully, my tips will inspire and help you create a consistent meditation practice if that is your goal.
The Secrets to Creating a Consistent Meditation Practice
1) Identify and create a specific space
Select one place for your meditation practice.
Make sure the space is quiet and comfortable. I recommend placing items and reminders in it that make you happy. The goal is to create a space you gravitate towards. Make it cozy by adding a blanket and a pillow or a bolster to sit on. It is also great to have a wall or structured chair you can lean on for support.
Wherever you decide, make it a place you’d want to be.
2) Select a consistent time
Don’t change yourself to make your meditation practice work. Stay true to who you are and select a consistent time that is best for you. I am an early bird that likes to practice first thing in the morning, but that doesn’t mean someone who is a night owl can’t be successful doing the same before they go to bed. Or that someone can’t be successful in the middle of the day.
Just select one time and stick with it each day.
3) Habit stacking
I learned this habit is forming a trick from the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. What this looks like for me is adding my meditation into a current routine. I practice in the morning, so it is my morning routine.
What this looks like is:
- Routine pre-meditation practice: Wake up, use the restroom, brush teeth, spritz Thayers Witch Hazel – Rose on my face, drink a glass of water, take vitamins, move my body, or workout, make tea.
- Routine post-meditation practice: Wake up, use the restroom, brush teeth, spritz Thayers Witch Hazel – Rose on my face, drink a glass of water, take vitamins, meditate, move my body or workout, make tea.
Just slip it in between habits you already do naturally with little thought. Don’t ask me about the science, James Clear is your man for that. All I Can tell you is it worked!
4) Write your goals
“You are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down” (Inc).
Writing your goals downplays an important part in forcing you to get clarity on what, exactly, it is that you want to accomplish. Better yet, write the goal down each day or place it in a location you see often.
5) Add it to your calendar
All of us are busy, and although I hate to admit that I will forget about it if it’s not on my calendar, it’s true. Adding a goal to your calendar with a time block helps create the time and prioritize it. If you don’t set aside the time, it likely will not happen.
6) Find an accountability buddy
This one is a biggie for most people. Having an accountability buddy that cares and checks in to see how your practice is going is important. There is something in humans that makes us feel like if we commit to someone, we can’t let them down.
So there you have it, my secrets for creating a consistent meditation practice, and really most of these can translate over to building other habits.