I actually started meditating in the middle of the year. So technically meditation wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution for me. Personally, I was never successful in completing my New Year’s Resolutions, so I don’t partake in them anymore. Instead, if I want to make a change in my life, I try to plan and act on it as soon as I can, which can be at any time of the year.
But once I did decide to start meditating consistently, here’s what worked for me:
Firstly, I educated myself on the topic of meditation. I checked various resources online to make sure I knew what I was getting myself into. One of the most helpful websites for me was the meditation subreddit on Reddit. There are a lot of helpful posts on that site, and sometimes I join in on the conversation, so if you are a reddit user, you may bump into me!
On that meditation subreddit, I was able to find a link to this website, which helped immensely in understanding how I could make meditation a habit. I will go over now what I learned from that blog post and what I had applied to my own practice.
- I started small. I had heard of people sitting and meditating for 30 minutes, 45 minutes, an hour or even more! I knew that if I attempted to meditate for the first time, I would not be able to sit for that long. My first meditation attempt lasted only five minutes; I detailed the experience in a previous blog post. I knew if I kept the meditation session short at first, then the goal would be more attainable, and I’d be less likely to give up and quit. From there, I could move on to longer meditation sessions.
- When I first started, I added meditation to my schedule as a weekly appointment; if I could keep it to that type of frequency, then I would be more likely to do it. Forcing myself to meditate daily, especially when just starting out, didn’t seem like a good idea to me. If I missed a day or two, I think I would have just quit altogether, because I would have associated meditation with failure. Keeping a weekly meditation session instead had a far more likely chance of success, in my mind. And when I did keep that weekly meditation appointment, I felt good about myself, which then reinforced in my head that meditating could be a positive in my life.
- I found the right time of day to meditate. I have learned that the more tired I am, the harder it is for me to practice. So I meditate in the mornings, since that is when I have the most energy. If I only tried to meditate in the evenings, then it would be much more difficult to keep it as a habit. You might not know right away what part of the day will work best for you, so I encourage you to try different times and experiment through trial and error.
- I told myself that meditating would not be a temporary change. But words are cheap, so how could I really hold myself accountable? Well, I created this website. In a previous blog post, I go into further detail about why I created the persona Meditating Millennial, and what kind of effect it has had for me (SPOILER ALERT: it was all positive).
- No excuses—one of my mottos in life. Whether it is in meditation, gym, work, or in school, I always tried to discourage myself from giving excuses when I couldn’t follow through on something. Whenever someone disappointed me, they usually had an excuse; I did not want to be one of those people. When I couldn’t find time to meditate, I found different ways to apply the practice in my life. When I would wake up too late in the mornings, and didn’t have time to meditate, I started doing meditative walking while on my breaks at work. I wrote about my first experience of meditative walking in a previous blog post.
Lastly, I will quote a couple important tips from that guide, which I found extremely relevant in my quest to make meditation a habit:
“Stop looking at each meditation session as good or bad: You will feel there are ups and downs. Don’t beat yourself up for the downs. Just go with the flow and accept them as a part of the process.”
“Try creating a dedicated space to meditate: If you have a quiet space you can set up with a chair, pillow, or cushion, claim it! It might help you build a ritual and thus the habit.” (If you’d like to share what your meditation space looks like, let us know here!)
There you have it. I encourage you to read the guide in full. Hopefully my own experiences in making meditation a habit can encourage you, as well. Good luck!
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