The secret to making meditation a habit and fully incorporating it in the day-to-day is often influenced by how we see meditation. The more it’s seen as something boring, the less likely you are to want to do it.
You can’t just rely on motivation to stick with meditation, you’ll ideally want to use a combination of discipline as well as enjoying the process of meditation – not just the end result.
Unlike many other practices that have a positive impact on your life, like exercising, meditation can be practiced anytime, and when you consider that, to start with, you might not have to devote such a large portion of your time to meditation, but instead, take one step at a time to get there, you are more likely to stick with the practice.
1. One Step at A Time
Someone may hear about the benefits of meditation, especially long meditations, choose to get started and for their first session they’re able to meditate for one hour. But the subsequent sessions start becoming hard, to the point where the individual practicing meditation gives up.
This is a very common scenario because many tend to want to take one massive step at a time, expecting themselves to stick through with an hour-long meditation when they’ve never meditated before, to begin with.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally doable even for a beginner to meditate for that long, but most will not meditate for one hour or two when they start, especially considering every mechanism inside us working against that, such as the mind.
Considering the averages and how most who start meditating give up, just like most who start hitting the gym give up, a good way to build consistency is building slow but steady momentum. Small incremental changes that compound.
Start With Anywhere From 5 to 20 Minutes
That’s right, rather than setting this massive goal for meditation that isn’t realistic if you’re a beginner, make it a goal to meditate for 5 minutes.
Then, the practice becomes a whole lot less overwhelming. 5 minutes get your feet wet, and while I don’t recommend anything less than 20 minutes, 5 minutes is still better than nothing.
If you meditate for 5 minutes, you’ve already gotten started, which is the most important part, and you might stick with it longer for the session, given that 5 minutes of deep concentration does something to you, in this case, it gets the ball rolling.
But setting a meditation minute count at the bare minimum of let’s say, 20 minutes, can feel overwhelming for some, that’s why pretty much everyone if not most people are able to set aside 5 minutes a day.
Although this is unlikely to get you to a deep state of meditation to the same degree an hour-long meditation can, you’re able to feel at a small scale some of the benefits meditation can give you. Plus, you’d be dividing the meditation practice into bite-size pieces that you’d be able to handle.
2. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Having high expectations is a common reason many get into meditation. But high expectations can hurt you, because you need to know yourself before you meditate and while you’re on your journey to know what you’re capable of and comfortable with.
Even if you don’t meditate for the expected time you’ve set for yourself, you’re still making progress.
A short meditation where you’re able to build some momentum makes it easier for you to build consistency and increase the count of time meditating.
Rather than beating yourself up or looking down on yourself for how you meditate, allow yourself to fail and learn the ropes of meditation. As long as you’re making progress, you’re winning in the meditation.
Meditation can be hard at the beginning, especially when you don’t know if you’re doing things right or wrong and are constantly doubting yourself. This comes from the mind, not the real you.
The mind wants to always have fun, no matter what the cost is. If you’re able to push past that barrier without judging yourself in the process, you’ve overcome one of the major antagonists to your practice of meditation. Your perception of meditation will change the more you do it.
3. Fall In Love With The Boredom
Perhaps, one of the most underrated tips I can give is to fall in love with the boredom you may feel from meditation. Expect the practices to be boring, and a test of your discipline.
This is positive in the sense that you’re not deluding yourself into thinking meditation is something it’s not.
Instead, it’s allowing for a boring experience to become enjoyable. Falling in love with the process is key with meditation and pretty much anything else.
You can think of a goal you have with meditation, meditation is walking the bridge to that goal, and reaching the flow state of meditation is equivalent to glancing at the beautiful landscape while crossing that bridge.
If you have a mindset that you’re gonna meditate, no matter what, you’d be going against a battle of the mind, as you’d be depriving it of its ability to control you and what you actually want to do.
Deep down, you’re aware that meditation is good for you, but because it isn’t something you associate with please, you may not always want to do it.
Now, if you redefine what pleasure is, throw boredom into the mix, and you’re able to sit through the meditation while staring at your thoughts or focusing on your breath, you’re on a path to mastering yourself.
Falling in love with boredom will be easier for someone that’s already developed discipline in their life, but even as a newbie, it can be a great way to develop their discipline, to learn to love boredom.
Have very low expectations with meditation and allow the experience to take you to places you open up your mind to, ultimately ending with the meditation positively surprising you.
4. Changing Your Environment
This one is easier than falling in love with boredom, as you’d have to go through rigorous discipline, but can absolutely be done if you have a paradigm shift on meditation. But this implies setting an environment specifically dedicated to meditation.
It could be a room, or simply going out in nature, and if you have access to a waterfall, perhaps it’s meditating under a waterfall.
By setting your environment up to something that’s pleasant, and exclusively using it for meditation, you might be able to create a subconscious association between pleasure and meditation.
Meditation does give you a deep sense of peace, which it’d be hard to argue isn’t a form of pleasure.
Peace is such a foreign emotion to many, because many’s day-to-day life is filled with stress, and their mind is comfortably working.
If you change your environment, there’s less effort in trying to force yourself to meditate, thus, making it more likely for you to stick with it as a beginner.
5. Meditate With Someone Else
Aside from strengthening your bond with the person that you’re meditating with, be it a partner or someone else that’s near, being with someone on the journey can make it a whole lot more comforting. Especially if you’re on the quest to greatness with someone else.
There’s a deeper sense of collective purpose and oneness, so at the end of the day, you are less likely to miss out on the meditation, because you’ve committed yourself with someone else to do it.
Even when you don’t want to at the start. It’s rare for people to see meditation as enjoyable at the start, there are always some mental barriers or damaging beliefs that obstruct the path to meditation, but you’re not alone with that.
This can benefit you in the sense that you can find an accountability group to keep your meditation on track, even if you’re perfectly capable of attaining discipline by yourself.
But when you make a commitment with someone else or even publicly, you feel more pressure to live up to that. Pressure isn’t generally a good thing, but it can be turned in your favor if you’re, let’s say, meditating and trying to one-up yourself for another person, and they’re doing the same for you.
6. Reward Yourself For Meditating
Have you managed to meditate for a long time and make it a part of your day-to-day? Don’t stop there, reward yourself along the journey, once you hit milestones.
It helps to set up a reward timeline during your meditation journey with clear and concise goals to keep yourself on track, next to motivation on why you started. Below is an example of a pretty reasonable timeline you can use to reward yourself and when you should.
|Meditation Time||Timespan||Milestone Reached?|
|40 Minutes||4 Months||Reward|
|> 40 Minutes – 1 Hour||8 Months||Reward|
|> 1 Hour||1 1/2 Years||Reward|
Your goals may look different, but make sure you find something that works for you. Meditation is a means to an end, a system if you will.
But instead of just enjoying the results meditation can give you, you can reward yourself along the way, making the journey much more appealing.
Anything that keeps you going with meditation is generally a good thing. Now, I’m not talking about rewards that completely destroy or defeat the purpose of meditation such as engaging in things that are bad for you.
Simple rewards like treating yourself to a meal, visiting a different place, or perhaps buying yourself something are examples are simple rewards you can give yourself.
This way, you also train your mind. Your mind is constantly bombarded with rewards by engaging in feel-good activities, even if those activities in question are bad for you. This also makes these rewards in question lose value or not seem so appealing, because of the fact that they’re available to you all the time.
So, in a way, meditation is a way of exercising self-control and gaining it back, as well as producing feel-good sensations that aren’t just meant to vanish once they’re done, but rather, leave you with a deeper sense of fulfillment.
7. Remember Why You Started
While meditation isn’t something that should be outcome-dependent, and while there aren’t any wrong reasons to start with the practice, once you take a step back and evaluate your reasons to start with meditation, this may propel you to continue or to abandon the practice.
Motivation, in this case, is what gets you going, but a mix of discipline and your enjoyment of the practice is what helps you stick through.
But at least, by remembering yourself while you started, without being attached to whether that goal is fulfilled or not, you have something to look forward to when meditating.
At the end of the day, meditation is a means to an end. Meditation is allowing the said goal to happen, as well as increasing your odds.
You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain. Now, remembering why you started is mostly what’s gonna help you in the short term, because your long term motivation for meditation could change as you meditate more, which helps you learn something new about yourself, which in turn, can mean a new purpose.
However, meditating for the short term is what allows us to build the foundation for the long term, which is why it’s important to consider both short-term goals and long-term goals with meditation.
Matching or not the why you started with the why that keeps you going helps you find that balance and unique purpose with meditation, as well as make a comparison to find out what you’re to get from the practice.
Asking yourself if your motivations remain the same, and reflecting and the answer you can get will be a sign that the motivation is having an effect on you.
What Happens When Meditation Becomes Part of Your Day?
Remember all those excuses you’ve told yourself on why you wouldn’t meditate or didn’t want to meditate? Yeah… that’s a thing of the past at this point.
You’ve pushed through any barrier the mind could’ve possibly presented, and meditation has become a part of your subconscious, so much to the point where meditation becomes something you can’t go a day without. Just like if you’re used to brushing your teeth every day.
If you don’t, there’s gonna be a butt-biting part of the subconscious to get you to do it, making you feel bad if you don’t.
The same thing will happen once you incorporate meditation into your day-to-day. Your mind no longer controls you and you’ve reached a point where you’ve taken control of your destiny, as opposed to letting things happen to you.
Once meditation becomes part of your day-to-day, not doing the meditation becomes the hard part. You feel a void, a sort of emptiness by not doing it. At the end of the day, it only takes a few months for the average individual to change their brain through meditation. So this idea that you have to wait years to reap any benefits through the practice isn’t true.