I have been teaching meditation for the last 8 years, and one of the most common things I hear from people who they share with me how stressed and overwhelmed they are is: “Well, I start meditating and then I stop…”
A lot of people have an inconsistent approach to meditation.
While some meditation is better than no meditation, an inconsistent approach will never get you the results you are looking for.
The results being: a feeling of calm and peace, feeling less stressed, feeling more focused, feeling deeply connected to your intuition, feeling energized and vibrant, etc.
Overall, meditation just helps to you to feel better and happier.
And who doesn’t want to feel better and happier?
(I love that line from the book “10% Happier” by Dan Harris where he shares that’s how he used to tell skeptics why he meditated. He would share: “it makes me happier. At least 10% happier.”)
Meditation is the best. I love it so much.
I also went through a stage in the last two years during the pandemic, where I, too, had an inconsistent meditation practice, and noticed the effects of this.
Pandemic aside, I was more quickly prone to overwhelm, more anxious, less focused, less at ease, less connected to my intuition, more scattered and generally just didn’t feel as good as I once did when I spent a period of 7 years meditating literally every day.
I felt that there was a lack of sparkle in myself in my life that so often returns the second I begin meditating again.
And so, just like you, I also needed to get back into the habit of a consistent practice.
In doing so, I applied the same tools that had once helped me start my practice, and which I had taught people for so many years, and now am back to a meditation habit and reaping the benefits.
I am finally feeling better again that I have in a long time.
Here’s how I made meditation a habit again:
1. Do it The Same Time Every Day
It doesn’t matter whether you are doing it in the morning or the evening, but choose a general time of day and stick to it.
There are three common and helpful times to meditate to choose from:
- In the morning before you begin your work day;
- In the evening after work, before you being your “evening time” or dinner;
- In the evening after dinner or before bed.
For years, I chose option 3. I was so stressed and worked up when I would come home from work that meditating the second I got in the door before I saw my roommates or my boyfriend was a game-changer.
I would get home, shut the door to my room, meditate, and then emerge, 10 minutes later, a new person.
I highly recommend this under-rated time to meditate because so many of us carry stress from work into the rest of our lives.
Meditating at this time allows for a really nice delineation between your work day and time that is just for you, or time that you want to be able to be present for your family or friends.
Mornings are great because it’s easy to knock off your meditation time by waking up a little bit earlier.
When I was building my business in the evenings while working full time as a lawyer, I basically only had this tiny sliver of time that was for me every day, so I changed my meditations to the morning at this point and never looked back.
My morning meditation became my favourite time of the day.
When we are really busy or have evening obligations, mornings are great for meditation. Since many of us are busy, morning meditations can work really well.
Evenings work for some people, but a lot of people end up falling asleep when they meditate at this time.
Choose one of the three and commit to that.
It doesn’t have to be at the same exact moment, but teaching your brain that you meditate at a certain time of the day is helpful to create the habit.
When I was going back to meditate this time around, I chose mornings because I knew it was the one time of the day that I could be awake and have a quiet moment before Chris was awake, and remembered how mornings work really well for me for my practice.
2. Make it Through the First 10 Days
There is this remarkable thing with meditation; after the first 10 days you really start to notice a difference.
In my years of teaching, I have always challenged people to just get through the first 10 days of meditation because after that you really start to notice a subtle difference that’s enough to keep you motivated.
It would be like going to the gym and starting to see tangible results after 10 days.
I challenge you to just wrap you mind around doing 10 days, and give yourself full permission to end after 10 days. In my experience, after 10 days, you will not stop, but giving our mind an “out” can actually be a helpful tool in setting up the habit.
In my experience, 10 days are the hardest to commit to, but after that it gets significantly easier, and most people who end up getting to 10 days end up continuing on with ease.
3. Find a Quiet Space to Go To Consistently
I used to live in a tiny apartment where there was only one room other than my bedroom which was my kitchen/office/living space/everything.
I didn’t have a “quiet room” to escape to, but I could create a space.
I found this one nook beside my kitchen cupboards that I could rest my back against, and kept my yoga block I used for meditation there.
Every morning, I didn’t even have to think about where I was meditating, it was just this little nook on the floor.
When I first started meditating, I lived in a tiny bedroom and otherwise with roommates. During that time, my meditation was just lying down in my bed.
The same idea applies: my mind was trained to know that when I got home from work, I would go and lay on the bed and meditate.
Finding the same place to meditate each day helps it to form the habit by taking the guesswork out. You train your mind that you meditate in this area so no mental exertion is used in making that choice. I highly recommend this tactic.
4. Use Cushions, Blocks, and Eye Masks As Needed
A lot of people get uncomfortable sitting. I certainly used to.
I had terrible posture and trying to stay seated with my spine super straight was uncomfortable.
While eventually you might want to work toward being able to sit with a straight back, chin tucked slightly into your neck, that can take time to get comfortable with.
Meditate lying down if that’s more comfortable for you. If you prefer meditating lying down, you might like to put an eye mask or blanket over your eyes to help you.
Meditate seated against a wall is another hot tip.
This will help relieve some back pain and help you practice better posture, until you no longer need the wall.
It is incredibly helpful to sit on a yoga block, yoga cushion, or cushions in general.
In order to sit for longer periods of time, you’ll need to have your butt raised a bit off the ground.
As easy and cheap option is to get a yoga block online, or if you want to invest, get a meditation cushion. My favourite one these days is: https://byoganow.com/collections/cushions
This will make the whole experience way more comfortable, and once again, adding an “tool” of some sort can help give you a visual reminder of your habit.
5. Add Meditation to a Habit You Already Have
As you learned, I had a habit of…getting home from work, so that was an easy way for me to make meditation a habit because I attached it to walking in the door after work.
I would get home and immediately meditate.
I later started doing meditation with my morning coffee first thing in the morning.
I always have coffee right when I wake up, and so having meditation with the coffee made it easy to add this new habit onto something that was already habitual.
Studies show this one of the easiest ways to form a habit is to stick it onto something that you already do.
Right now I’m learning Spanish by doing it when I eat my lunch, since I do that every day.
You might decide to meditate right after you eat breakfast, brush your teeth, have your morning coffee, or anything else.
What is something you do every day that you could add a new habit of meditation to?
6. Track It
Making meditation into a game is also a fun way to make the habit stick. Call it the “gold star” effect from when we were kids in school.
On the insight timer app, the app will log for me how many days I have meditated in a row which is oddly satisfying. I come up with a number I want to hit, and now get motivated to sit each day.
I also use the app “Streaks” to check off every day when I meditate.
Making something a habit means acknowledging that you have done it each day until it comes second-nature.
It can be helpful to track it while you are in the process of making it a habit, since it’s motivating to see how far you have come.
7. Start with 2 Minutes
People are so intense and want to try and meditating for long periods of time right away, when their minds might actually not be able to sit that long and therefore the meditation can actually make them feel more agitated than when they began.
It would be like going to the gym and getting annoyed you can do a deadlift, feeling disheartened, and never going again.
Girl, get yourself the 2 pound weights and start there.
If you can only sit for 2 minutes, meet yourself there.
That’s actually where I started.
I meditated for 2 minutes for 10 days, and then eventually added on a minute at a time.
Don’t be a hero, you know?
Meet yourself where you are, and then add it up little by little.
You will be able to feel that you are ready to add a minute when it starts to feel easy to sit for the time you had allotted.
If it does not feel good, just stay with what you have got until over time it does.
Now my daily practice is 20 minutes which is a good amount for me at this stage in my life.
For years, my practice was 10 minutes which also felt perfect at the time.
Most people will benefit from a daily practice of working up to 10-20 minutes a day.
8. Learn How to Actually Meditate
My last piece of advice here is to make meditation a habit by learning how to actually meditate properly.
A lot of people don’t know what they are doing, or are only using guided meditations.
My thought is that while guided meditations are helpful, they aren’t going to motivate you enough to keep going.
In addition, guided meditations just give our minds something to latch onto, which can be helpful in the moment, but doesn’t actually lead to our minds become more clear over time. It’s a temporary solution, in my opinion.
I recommend learning how to meditate properly (like I teach in Soul School which you can get here), using guided meditations only sparingly, or to start adding minutes of meditation in silence after the guided meditations to eventually get yourself weaned off of the guided meditations.
Do you have any questions about meditation?
I hope this helps you get back into the habit.
If you have any questions just send them below.