Do you remember how you felt the last time you meditated? Maybe it was the point at which you achieved your longest streak - ten minutes once a day for two weeks - where you really began to notice the impact. Perhaps you noticed how much calmer you felt or that you were less likely to react to things you normally would. Maybe you began to enjoy the feeling of being truly present in an experience or conversation.
The same as life, our meditation journeys are all unique. There are numerous benefits we each can ultimately experience, yet no timeline for when anything should occur. Still, if only for a short period, a consistent meditation practice can teach us so much.
Once we have been even the slightest bit awakened to just how different our lives could be through meditation, it’s natural for us to want to learn more. Between your own experience and what you have learned about meditation up until now, it is apparent why you would want to make it a habit.
Meditation is a powerful practice, and as with any other practice, the more you do it, the more there is to gain. Somewhere within us, we already know this, but, as with all habits, we still struggle to commit.
Here are a few reasons many of us struggle to build the habit of meditating and how to overcome them:
We put it on our “to-do” list
You might be thinking, “how is that a bad thing? Don’t we need to-do lists to build habits ultimately? And doesn’t it matter that I care enough to prioritize meditation by putting it on my to-do list?”
You aren’t wrong to experience any of these thoughts. And while putting meditation on your to-do list is not a “bad” thing, there are better approaches you can take.
Take a moment to consider all the things on your to-do list currently. Whether or not they are things you value or enjoy doing, anything on that list by default gets marked as something “have” to do. So even if we don’t intentionally connect meditation and, say, cleaning the house, our mind automatically does this as soon as it sees meditation on this list.
So, what’s the solution to this? After all, you weren’t off base to question the possibility of building a habit without a checklist. However, list or no list, the first thing you need to do is change your perspective. Each time you catch yourself saying or thinking, “I need to meditate,” challenge yourself to flip the script. Remind yourself that meditation is something that you choose to do.
The more you can meditate with this approach and mindset before you start, even if it’s not super consistent at first, the more meditation will become something you want to do. As human beings, we love the idea of making choices, and we easily break habits when we create them from a place of force.
We’re doing it all wrong
Okay, well, there is no wrong way to meditate, and one reason is that there is no single right way to do it either. That said, there are so many ways you can meditate. There are different guided practices, positions your body can be in, ways to breathe - the list goes on.
At the same time, many of us have an image in mind of what we think meditation should look like. In our minds, we might see a seated figure - still and quiet as a rock. We might go so far as to think that this meditating figure is even sitting on a rock, somewhere where the scenery is just as peaceful as we assume their mind to be.
The problem with thinking that this is the ideal way to meditate or look as we do it is that it adds pressure. We feel we must show up to our meditation being somewhere other than where we are. The tendency to believe that there is a way meditation should be, can cause us to miss out on what meditation could be in our lives.
We must find a way to begin erasing this concrete image to start meditating without the pressure and in a way that works for us. We need to know that the only thing we are doing wrong is believing we are doing it wrong. And the best way to break free from this belief is to practice meditation in different settings.
Believe it or not, your meditation practice does not have to take place in a quiet area with your eyes closed. For instance, you can walk around outside and do mindfulness meditation.
Feel free to explore various meditations and realize that they are not all associated with complete stillness and breathwork. The more you explore these, the better you’ll be able to take what you need when you need it. And isn’t that what building habits is all about - choosing to do something regularly until the choice becomes subconscious?
We aren’t reflecting on our experience
If you want to make meditation practice a daily practice, consider adding just one other practice to your day.
Don’t get overwhelmed by this suggestion. We know that if you’re still reading this, you likely came to build one habit and one habit only. That said, there is a reason why some habits in life stick while others do not.
Doing a task consistently because we have it set as a reminder or listed on our to-do list is one thing. Reflecting on that task and why we did it or how it made us feel can shift how we perceive or understand a task entirely.
So, when it comes to meditation, a nightly reflection is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the impact that your practice had at different points throughout your day. As days go by, you will start to recognize the positive effects of meditation on all aspects of your life. When you pause to acknowledge how far you have come, you will have more reason and motivation to go further.
Here at Trueahead, our goal is to offer you a productivity app that also focuses on mindfulness. We help you create good habits and help you reflect on your progress. Check our journaling feature and make reflection a daily habit as well as meditation downloading Trueahead app.
Focusing on yourself is a big part of your resilience. So, exercise, meditate, learn, relax, sleep. It also helps to write things down, get them out of you mind, so keeping a journal is a great idea.
Once your are reenergised, then you can try again. The best way to be an achiever is to keep trying, but mindfully.