5 Steps to Create a Meditation Habit on a Daily Basis
Every good meditation or yoga teacher will tell you the same thing: it’s essential to develop a daily meditation habit, so you’ll really make this practice part of your life.
When you first started meditating, you felt the effects of the practice right after the session. You noticed that those effects were present for at least an hour after the meditation. But if you kept few days in between meditations, you couldn’t preserve the consequences for that long.
If you turn meditation into a daily habit, you will achieve a consistent effect.
Why a habit, you might wonder?
If you observe the life of a Buddhist monk, you’ll notice there is a specific structure to it. They wake up at a particular time of the day, they meditate, and then they take on the daily responsibilities.
Meditation can be used for breaking bad habits and developing good habits, but first, it has to become a habit itself.
- First, Identify the Bad Habits that Drive You Away from Daily Meditations
Everyone has different excuses for not meditating. Let’s clarify something: “I’m too busy” is usually a lousy excuse. The meditation practice will not take more than 20 minutes per day. If you woke up a bit earlier, you could easily squeeze it into your daily schedule. You’re also taking breaks from work, right? Well, you could meditate then!
If you want to encourage yourself to meditate, you need to become mindful of the bad habits that push you away from that goal.
- Maybe you use the breaks to smoke. If you could quit smoking, you could use those moments for brief mindfulness meditations.
- Are you obsessed with TV shows that consume your free time?
- Do you tend to sleep in?
- But most of all: do you procrastinate? Procrastination is a bad habit that undermines your chances for success. You promise yourself that you’ll meditate every day, but you feel tired or you want to do something else. So you just comfort yourself: “It’s okay, I’ll double the meditation time tomorrow.” It doesn’t work that way. You need to be consistent in this practice, and procrastination is preventing that from happening.
The first step towards developing a good habit is breaking bad habits. The first step towards breaking bad habits is self-reflection. So reflect on your days. What did you do? Do you recognize a pattern you’d want to stop repeating?
- Set Goals
“I will meditate every day for 40 days straight.”
That’s sankalpa – a realistic intention or goal formed by the mind and the heart. You know this practice will be good for you, and you genuinely want to achieve it.
Sankalpa is not a simple goal. It’s something you draw your mind towards, over and over again. It’s something that affects your dharma. It’s a personal commitment you make to honor the broader purpose of your life.
Set your sankalpa. Believe in it. Even if you don’t always achieve it, just remind yourself of it. At one point or another, it will become so powerful that you’ll naturally incline towards it, without feeling like you’re making a serious effort.
- Take the 30 Days Meditation Challenge
You want to start with meditation, but you need a push? Then you need a challenge!
The 30 Days Meditation Challenge will provide you with free videos in your inbox, every day for 30 days straight.
What will this type of challenge change? First of all, it’s a mind trick. When you challenge yourself to achieve a goal, you compete towards it. You want to prove that you’re capable of doing it, so you’ll have that inner drive that pushes you towards daily practices.
Since you’ll be receiving daily email messages with meditation practices, you’ll be reminded of this promise on a consistent basis. You’ll have no other choice but to stop making excuses.
- Make a Commitment of 40 Days
If you want to take things even further, prolong that 30-day challenge for 10 days. Once the videos stop coming in, you’ll be left without that initial trigger that pushed you to practice. Of course, you can save these videos or find new ones to follow later on, but you’ll lack that structure of the challenge.
You have a personal responsibility to create and adhere to structure. No one will do that for you. So commit to prolong the personal challenge. If you made it for 30 days without exceptions, ten more days are not that challenging.
Why are 40 days important?
This is not just a mystical number. There’s a philosophy behind it: you need 20 days to break old habits and 20 days to develop new habits.
Jeffrey Thomas uses mindfulness meditation to keep himself calm and inspired to do his work as a writer for BestEssays. He tried this trick. “At first, I thought that 40 was just a number. But a friend challenged me to meditate for 20 minutes a day, 40 days straight. I never stopped meditating ever since. Not a day missed! I’m not saying I developed the habit on the 40th day. It was a process, but this number of days seemed perfect for making a long-term commitment.”
- Keep a Meditation Journal
A meditation journal will help you preserve the effects of the practice. When a good meditation practice gives you that “high” for a few hours after, you realize that this is exactly what you need and you promise yourself that you’ll meditate every day. But then you start skipping days. You omit one or two days, then you skip more, and then you completely abandon the practice. It happens. You remember you had a good feeling after meditating, but you can’t get hold of it.
The mindfulness journal will remind you of all the benefits you experienced from meditation.
Plus, it gives you the structure you need. When you get daily writing prompts, you won’t want to skip a day in the schedule.
Don’t worry; it won’t take much time. You just need five minutes after the meditation to write down your strong impressions.
Commitment Is the Key to Success
Meditation is amazing. It’s such a powerful experience that makes people change their entire lives. But it won’t happen instantly. It won’t happen as soon as you decide to start meditating and you go through a single guided meditation.
You have to meditate every day, so you’ll enjoy the long-term effects of the practice. You need to turn it into a habit.
Warren is a marketing enthusiast and a blogger at BestEssays, who loves music. If he doesn’t have a guitar in his hands, he’s probably embracing new technologies and marketing techniques online! You can meet him on Twitter and Facebook.