Today, we’ll be talking about how to meditate daily. We’ll be looking into habit formation and, in particular, how to build this habit of meditation.
Building habits, especially meditation, is not always easy. In the modern world we have distractions everywhere, information, and social media. We’re busy and often stressed out, but it is possible.
When you know how to build the habit, it’s pretty straightforward. We don’t want meditation to become something that we do whenever we feel like it, or only when we’re stressed out.
It should be a daily habit so that we can build up that inner peace and inner strength.
We want to be proactive and not reactive.
If we’re reactive, we meditate now and again or sporadically. This will keep us stuck in a cycle of dealing with negative emotions with meditation.
But if we’re proactive, we meditate every day, before we’re stressed or sad. This prepares us for when those difficult times come. And then we’re more able to cope with them. Over time, our inner peace grows and we become more stable, joyful, and peaceful.
Compare it to doing your homework. Better to do a little bit every day than 4 hours on Thursday night!
We spoke in the last episode about how the spiritual path can unfold for each of us. We talked about the suffering that may come up, which leads to healing. But we do need to prepare for that.
And the way that we prepare for those challenges, is with our daily meditation practice.
Start by taking baby steps. Make sure that you’re meditating for a short time every day. This is much better than meditating for a long time two or three times a week.
If you can meditate for 5 minutes every day, or even 10 minutes every day, this is a great start. And you can build on that as you move forward.
With habit formation, the best approach is to focus on one habit at a time. Start by building the habit of meditation and then move on to building other habits later.
The great thing about meditation is that it’s very good for habit formation. It helps you build discipline. And this is going to help you form other habits in the future.
Start with meditation and then, look into building a new habit like exercise or reading books. Don’t overcomplicate it; practice daily for a short time, and then increase the time.
When I started meditating, I tried to meditate for an hour a day, and it was too much. It put me off. I got bored, and then I’d end up meditating only 2 or 3 times a week.
The best way to do it is to start small and increase. Now I meditate for more than an hour a day, but that’s because I’ve increased slowly over time.
A challenge is a great way to build any habit. A 30 day challenge is an excellent way to start.
Some research suggests that one month is a good amount of time to build a habit, whereas other research suggests that 60 days is a better option. So if you commit to 30 or even 60 days, you’re going to find that it becomes much easier to continue doing that habit.
One excellent way to do that is to get a simple 30-day calendar, and check off the days as you go.
You could set the goal to meditate for 10 minutes a day. You print out your calendar and every day that you meditate, you check it off. That way, you can see how you’re progressing and if you’ve missed any days.
If you want a calendar, download the free meditation starter pack. It’s in the show notes. It has a video and audio, a little mini eBook, and a simple 30 day calendar that you can print out and check off the days as you go.
Now you may have to force yourself to meditate on some days. But as it becomes a habit, it will be something that you want to keep doing. When you don’t do it, you won’t feel quite right.
That’s why a meditation challenge is a great way to go.
Now, this is such an important part of habit formation. There will be days when you’re tired, when you feel kind of lazy, or when you feel like you don’t have the time to meditate.
But you have to find ways to meditate, even on those bad days. Because if you find yourself only meditating on the good days, then you’re not going to be able to build this habit.
Here’s the thing: you don’t need to meditate perfectly on those days.
In fact, if I’m having a bad day, sometimes, to be honest, I have a bit of a lazy meditation. I sit and watch the breath and try to notice the thoughts that are going on. I keep it simple and short. Because I want to make sure that I’m doing it, but I don’t want to give myself too much to do on those days.
But make sure that you sit down in your meditation space and at least give it a go. Just sit with whatever it is that you’re experiencing, even if that is stress, or pain, or sadness, and be with it. Go with it for a short time and allow it to be. This is the essence of discipline.
If you can meditate on those bad days, then you’re definitely going to be able to meditate on the good days.
Now, this isn’t the ideal scenario, but it can help on those more difficult days.
You’ve had a terrible, stressful day, you’re feeling low, and all you want to do is go to bed. At this point, if you can drag yourself to your meditation space, then do so.
But, if you find that you can’t face that, then sit up in your bed for five minutes before you go to sleep, and meditate.
You can sit on a meditation cushion or a couple of hard pillows, set a timer for five minutes, and do it .
I don’t want you to think that this is something to do every day. This is a last resort because there are some problems with this approach. First, a mattress is a little too soft to sit on, so you won’t be able to sit up with a straight spine. You may find that you slouch a little bit.
Also, because you sleep in your bed, there’s a subconscious association between bed and sleep. So you may find that you get a little drowsy. So remember that this is a last resort.
However, it’s a great way to build the habit. Because you’re training yourself to do meditation even on the worst of days.
I hope you can see how powerful an effect this can have on your mind. You’re sending a strong message to your subconscious mind.
You’re saying, “I can do this, even when I don’t feel like it.” And that’s powerful for your discipline in meditation, and in all areas of your life.
It’s important to reward yourself for your hard work and discipline. Write down a short list of some of the things that you would like.
Try to keep them relatively wholesome. So, a bottle of whiskey may not be a great reward. But a good book, going to a movie, getting a massage, or something you collect. Whatever floats your boat.
But give yourself a reward at the end of each week for the first month. Then reward yourself after every month that you complete your meditation practice.
Reward is a huge part of the science of habit formation. And although the best rewards can be internal, I find that external rewards can also be nice as well. They’re more tangible. They help you build that habit.
So there’s this idea called anchoring, where you anchor a new habit to an old habit. For example, you meditate straight after brushing your teeth. Or you drop the kids off at school, and then head to the gym.
We anchor a new habit like meditation or going to the gym to something which we already do every day. So, you can try to anchor meditation to something else if that helps.
I anchor my meditation to waking up in the morning. It’s the first thing I do before anything else. As soon as I pick up my phone in the morning, I tend to get sucked into cyberspace.
So, I have to practice meditation early on. Plus, the morning is the best time to meditate. After sleep, your mind is quiet and the world is quiet. So I recommend doing it in the morning.
Wake up a little earlier if you have to, and put the phone away until after you meditate.
If morning doesn’t work for you, then find a different time that you can stick to each day. This will help you to build that habit.
Notice the things that get in the way of your meditation practice, and then seek to keep those under control.
Television, social media, and email are all responsible for this. Some other offenders are excessive socializing, overworking, and lack of family routine.
If your kids aren’t in a routine, and they’re staying up late at night, then how are you going to find time to meditate?
Consuming alcohol is also is a hindrance.
This doesn’t mean that you should never socialize or watch TV again.
It means that you need to be aware enough to notice what’s getting in the way of your meditation practice.
If you’re meditating every day, great — keep it up. Keep doing what you do. But if you find that you’re skipping days, then seek to find out why.
Are you watching too much TV? Are you going out too much? Is there not enough structure in your day? There’s always a reason. And there’s always a way to squeeze in a short meditation every day.
So be aware of those obstacles and seek to change them when you can.
How to meditate daily to build the habit?
1.Keep it simple: Don’t go crazy. Meditate for a short time each day.
2.Challenge yourself to a 30 or 60 day challenge
3.Meditate even when you don’t feel like it.
4.Practice the emergency meditation by sitting up in your bed for five minutes on the bad days.
5.Reward yourself after weeks and months of meditation.
6. Do it at a consistent time every day to build it into your routine.
7.Be aware of the obstacles that stop you from meditating and seek to change them.
I hope this has inspired you to find ways to meditate every day. I know you can do it. This is the foundation for massive transformation in your life.
Download the free meditation starter pack for that 30 day calendar. You’ll also get some other goodies, including guided meditation, PDF guide and more.
Take care and I’ll see you next time.