Here is the truth: meditating every day is hard. But all the best things worth having in this life take time, discipline, hard work, and a lot of care. The same is true for developing and maintaining a daily meditation practice.
Make the time to meditate.
The first step to creating a daily meditation practice is simply making the time to meditate everyday. We are all guilty of coming up with excuses for things, especially when we know it is something that is good for us. But beginning by just setting an intention to carve out time every day for the next 30-66 days for your daily meditation practice is a great way to make sure your practice remains stable. (Research shows it takes 66 days for a new habit to become “automatic”, meaning you start doing it every day without thinking about it twice).
Pair meditation with a daily habit.
The easiest way to do this is to pair your daily meditation before or after an activity you already do everyday. For example, say you have a cup of coffee or tea every morning when you wake up, or you take a multivitamin at a certain time everyday, or maybe you journal every evening before bedtime, or take time to put on your favorite face mask. Pairing meditation with an activity you already do everyday is a great way to ensure you will begin to meditate on a daily basis. Scientists call this habit pairing, or habit stacking, and it is a proven way to increase the likelihood of making a new habit stick.
Create a meditation space in your home.
Creating a space to meditate is a great way to make your daily meditation practice special and more inviting. This does not mean you need to start home renovations to make your daily meditation practice a reality. Instead, it could mean finding a meditation cushion, or a comfy corner in your home, or finding a favorite candle you can light every time you meditate, or using a cozy blanket you can have with you every time you sit. It’s about creating a nurturing, safe, and welcoming space that you can look forward to coming to every day.
Find a meditation buddy or accountability partner.
Chances are you probably have a friend who wants to start meditating regularly too, but doesn’t know how. Finding a person to meditate with everyday, or simply an accountability partner you can text every day after you’ve done your daily practice is a great way to stay on track with your daily practice. Sometimes we need a little extra help and encouragement, especially when we are getting started with a daily practice, so go ahead and ask for the help!
Meditate, even when you don’t want to.
Meditation is a lot like going to the gym—sometimes we really don’t want to do it. But that’s not an excuse. Even on the days we don’t want to go workout, when we go do it we undoubtedly feel happier, stronger, and healthier. Meditation is like a work out for the mind, and even if we don’t feel the effects right away, I can promise you it’s working. Every time you come back to the breath it’s like a little bicep curl for the mind, so as you keep up the exercise, the muscles will continue to form.<<READ MORE: Meditation Can Help You Regulate Your Emotions>>
Be gentle with yourself.
Meditating every day is no easy task. Sitting in meditation can bring up strong feelings that we may have left unprocessed. Or it can feel difficult sitting still for twenty minutes, or maybe one day our back hurts, and another day our legs ache. And in addition to the physical discomfort, some days the mind may be jumping from one thought to the other and we may feel like we are making absolutely no progress. All of these instances are normal, so don’t fret. Instead, learn to enjoy the journey of your daily practice and ride out the twists and turns. Most of all, be gentle with yourself and treat your mind and emotions with patience, love, and care. The same way you would treat a new child trying to develop and improve upon a new skill.
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