Hello! I've been meditating almost daily for about a year and a half. Recently I've begun sharing my experience and teaching others out of a desire to see others benefit how I have (in reducing suffering). One huge issue I overcame and that I notice others struggle with is establishing a habit.
If you don't have a habit of consistently meditating it makes it hard to see any changes. This is similar to learning any new skill.
I wanted to share what helped me establish a daily habit.
Have a strong reason for meditating, make sure you know what it is and spend time reflecting on it whenever you can.
Attach the time of meditation to the time of another habit you already have. For example, meditate after brushing your teeth, after exercise, before cooking a specific meal, as soon as your lunch break starts, but before you get food.
Track your meditation time by the day or even to the minute. Use a calendar and X off days that you meditate, or else use an app like Insight Timer that tracks the time for you. Any method of both tracking progress and setting goals will help.
Associate with others that are interested or that are meditating. Social peer pressure does wonders. If possible find a meditation teacher or coach.
After your meditation, take time to spend a few moments showing gratitude to yourself for doing this practice. Try to really feel thankful that the random universe, or God, or your brain, whatever you believe in has allowed you to come to learn meditation techniques such that you can develop calmness and clarity.
Every week or so, try to push the envelope and see if you can sit a little longer, relax a little more, be a little more compassionate. Don't get caught up in striving super hard, but explore discomfort a little and examine how you feel when you step out of your comfort zone. Is 12 minutes much harder than 10 minutes? Is 15 minutes much harder than 12 minutes? Etc.
Be persistent. You'll forget to meditate, you'll get distracted, some days you just wont be able to make yourself do it. When you can, when it is possible, return to the cushion (or to your respective practice).
Establishing the meditation habit is just like meditation itself. You get distracted from it, when you do, return to it gently. Keep on doing this and you will soon be meditating consistently, more and more.
Hope these help!
Comments reminded me of more!
I've taken two online meditation courses and I am still going through a third. As I learn, I practice because I want to understand the material experientially. So taking a course may help with habit. All of the courses I take provide a certificate which is another carrot on a stick for me.
/r/30daysit is also great if you get with a group. I did a 30 day sit during a period where I was missing a day here and there. It turned into a streak of 74 days without missing.
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