Whether it’s getting regular exercise, getting up earlier, or just getting out of the house a little bit more, why do so many of us struggle when trying to form a new habit? Starting out with that initial boost of energy and enthusiasm and excitedly telling the world of what it is we are to accomplish, only to eventually find that storage of will-power being run down to last reserves. With something so seemingly intangible, this is doubly true when it comes to meditation. Therefore, we need a few key guidelines to help you out. After all, we want to make sure that you’re enjoying the life-long benefits of meditation for many years to come.
- A Little Each Day Goes a Long Way – At the moment I’m not in the best of shape and haven’t exercised regularly in the past few months. Yet I have just signed myself up for a another marathon in five months’ time. Now, if I were to go out and attempt to run 26 miles tomorrow morning I could end up doing some serious harm. It’s much better to go out for a little bit each day, get the muscles, joints and tendons used to that running again, the lungs and hearth used to breathing and circulating, get the brain accustomed to the physical motions again. Especially for those of you that are new to meditation, don’t try to be over-ambitious. You’re probably not going to achieve enlightenment any time soon, so no need to rush. What’s more, if you’re meditating in the same position for hours on end, you’ll possibly wind up experiencing some form of joint pain or back pain. So keep the sessions short but do them regularly. A little each day will go much farther than trying to do big sessions and burning out.
- Same Time, Same Place – When trying to cultivate a new positive habit into your life, consistency is a big key. And while you can meditate anytime during your day it’s worth trying to do it first thing in the morning. That way, you may find your mind to be fresher (as it won’t have yet been hassled by those stresses and strains that are supposedly out there in the really world!) and it also sets you up to be in a positive frame of mind to enjoy the rest of your day better. Also, by being consistent your brain is building neural pathways on a micro level that will help secure the practice of meditating into your everyday life. If you make a daily appointment in your mind, at say 7am in your kitchen chair next to the back-yard window then every day when it comes to 8am and you see the kitchen chair next to the back-yard window you will instinctively know it’s time to meditate.
- Make it Write – All the millions of self-help blogs out there are telling you that if you write down your goals, then you’ll be more likely to stick to them (I think there’s a statistic to prove it in there somewhere). Write down that you’re going to meditate, when and how long for and you can even comment on how each meditation is going. Now you’re turning an abstract idea into something more tangible. As long as you do keep in mind that the overall goal we want is to meditate and enhance mindfulness, not to robotically fill in a report card then keeping a meditation diary will be an excellent tool to help you stay on path and get the most out of it.
- It’s Good to Share – Meditating is simply a personal thing. You don’t need to form a team or obtain anyone’s permission. There’s also no need to buy specialist equipment you won’t have to call to make an appointment. All you need is a few spare minutes and somewhere to comfortably sit while you can safely ignore the outside world. Despite all of this, it’s always good to have a selection of friends, family or others around you in the loop, who are also meditating. That way you can keep each other accountable and share in the experience.
- Why Not Take Advantage of the Many Tools Available? – Meditation and mindfulness are becoming phenomenally popular amongst people from all walks of life. If you want to benefit from making meditation part of your everyday life then feel free to use those free tools out there that are available. For example, if you sign up at Satorio.org you can use the free meditation timer to record your meditation sessions and track your progress alongside fellow-users that are meditating around the world. Then, for each minute you meditate, Satorio.org will donate 10 grains of rice through Oxfam to a starving person on your behalf, helping you to keep up the habit by giving something back.
So remember, don’t try to do too much, too soon. Be consistent. Write down what you you’re going to do beforehand and share with other to help you stick to your plan. If you need any help to make meditating a habit then feel free to come and join us at Satorio.org.
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