How To Make Meditation A Habit
Building healthy habits is something we often struggle with. We want to do it, but we can’t get to it, or we try it and somehow it doesn’t stick. Here are five tips to help you make meditating as easy as brushing your teeth.
Make a Choice & Just Do It
The first crucial point is to make a firm decision so you don’t reason with yourself whether to do it or not. This means that there is no “maybe I’ll skip today” or “should I really? I don’t feel like it”. You already know that you are going to do it. Like brushing your teeth. You don’t debate every morning whether to do it or not. You just do it.
Set a Time
Find a time that works and latch it onto whatever activity – that is already a habit – that went before or that comes after, whether it is brushing your teeth, taking a shower or going jogging. The main thing is to know when you are going to take time to sit and meditate.
Also, set an amount of time. This can be small, five minutes at first, later 10 minutes, etc. But know how much time you will dedicate to the activity and find an amount that is easy and pleasurable instead of feeling like an unmanageable imposition. That way you will feel it is easy to do and get up with a feeling of accomplishment and joy.
Find something you enjoy about meditating. Maybe it is the minutes of quiet, the joyful feeling while you sit, the sense of having taken care of yourself afterwards, the greater calm when you go back to your day. Whatever it is, find something that will make you feel that you want to come back to meditating. Pure discipline, while possible, is very hard and will not result in the open, spacious relaxation you are looking for.
Meditation is a process. There will be days when you feel that you might as well not try since you are just thinking anyway or where you get angry at yourself for not being able to focus. Whenever you feel this way, stop, hold yourself or put your hands on your heart and accept whatever is. Maybe you are just going to be thinking today. That is okay too. Sometimes that is the best thing, to just pause, sit and think for a few minutes. Just be with that and notice how it feels. The main thing is showing up and opening to whatever experience happens.
Let the Seed Grow
It is quite likely that there will be many days when you feel that nothing is happening. Other days, you may have amazing experiences and will feel bad when they don’t last and you go back to only remembering that you are meditating when the end bell rings. All of it is part of the process and just because you can’t see changes, doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. Looking back, you will see the difference. But just as when a tree grows or when we train our muscles, we don’t see the changes immediately but only after a while.