Despite good intentions, it can seem hard to know where to start with the practice of meditation. But with the right tools, the path to this healthy new habit is easier than you think.
A lot of what we do on a daily basis is due to habit. These learnt behaviours, whether good for us or not, have been established through repetition. Interestingly enough, most of our habits have been formed subconsciously.
One of the great challenges we face in changing habits and making new ones is overcoming subconscious tendencies. What do we mean by this? It is understood that 90-95% of our thinking is subconscious. Even though we’re not aware of these thoughts, they are always influencing our conscious mind and behaviour. This is why changing habits influenced by the subconscious can be difficult.
Meditation is arguably the best new habit to form, as it gives us greater cognitive power to identify and change our subconscious tendencies. Think of meditation as the ‘new habit enhancer and old habit breaker’. People who meditate regularly often report finding it much easier to change these patterns. They also notice a huge range of other benefits, such as feeling more present, less stressed and more enthusiastic about meeting life’s challenges with greater confidence.
If you are struggling to change old habits or are finding it difficult to establish new ones, the best thing you can do is start a daily meditation practice and see how much easier it is to make the changes in your life you truly desire.
Here are seven simple tips to help make meditation stick as a healthy new daily habit.
1. Download an app.
Learning to meditate has never been easier or more convenient. At 1 Giant Mind, we have created a free 12-step Learn Meditation course that will teach how to practice a powerful technique that causes deep rest and recovery from stress and fatigue. The app is packed with great features to support you including a 30-day challenge to help make your practice stick. It’s available on iPhone and Android.
2. Make practice a priority.
Treat meditation as your most important meeting of the day. Use the app’s ‘Set a Reminder’ tool and put it in your calendar, as a non-negotiable meeting that can’t be moved. This one meeting is going to set you up for the rest of the day, giving you greater energy, clarity and resilience to meet any challenge or demand life throws at you.
3. Buddy up.
Invite one or more friends and family to join you in taking the course and trying the challenge. Teaming up with others is a powerful way to ensure you are held accountable to sticking to your goal.
4. See your goal as achievable.
If you set aside 15 minutes of the 24 hours you have each day, form a meditation habit equates to only 1% of your total daily activities. When you think of it this way, meditation is very achievable. Investing 1% of your day to improve the remaining 99% with greater energy, clarity and present-moment awareness makes a lot of sense.
5. Be clear about your ‘why’.
It’s very important to know why you are meditating, so you can understand the changes you want to see. The app has a ‘Journal’ tool where you can make a list and monitor your progress, which is a great way to reinforce the benefits of your practice and keep you motivated.
6. Savour the benefits.
When you begin to notice improvements from meditating regularly, such as feeling more calm and rested or more focused and clear during the day, stop and really savour the moment. Acknowledge these changes have come from your daily meditation practice and the positive impact it’s having on your life.
7. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day or two.
There is no evidence to suggest beating yourself up about anything helps in any way. Negative self-talk isn’t going to help you establish a new habit, nor break an old one. When you notice you are trying to talk yourself out of meditating, or self-criticising for not doing it, just smile to yourself and remember that establishing a new habit takes time and repetition and you are well on your way.
Jonni Pollard is the co-founder and creator of 1 Giant Mind. An internationally recognised meditation and wisdom teacher, he has dedicated his life to sharing ancient knowledge gained from some of the greatest living masters of our time. He specialises in teaching the art of embodying our true nature to live the most meaningful life possible.
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