Are you having trouble starting a meditation practice? Or maybe you’ve started a few times but you just couldn’t get it to stick?
You’re definitely not alone. More people have less time than ever before. We are all doing more, doing it faster, and with our smartphones, we are filling our heads with more information about more topics than ever.
Our culture is changing fast. And ‘fast’ is definitely the operative word.
With that speed also comes stress. You probably know what I’m talking about and experience that inner tension yourself sometimes.
But here’s the thing. All these changes aren’t so conducive to starting a meditation practice. Meditation is not just about slowing down. It’s actually about stopping in your tracks. It’s kind of the opposite of all the stress, tension, and speeding up that you experience.
In that light, starting a bona fide meditation practice can often feel like a big pain in the you know what. Why? For one thing, where are you going to find the time? And when you do, will it be worth it? And maybe most importantly, are you actually ready and willing to slow down?
These are important questions. But the thing is, you just need to start and then you can answer these questions.
So I wanted to share a simple way to get your meditation practice started. I call it beta testing your practice. I like the beta idea, because it can help you think a little more fluidly about this little project. You don’t want to make it a big deal out of it, or you’ll never get started.
When you beta test your practice, your committing to a set period of time. After that, you can make up your mind about how to continue. Since you are in beta mode, you don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself to become the next buddha. The main event here is just getting off the starting line.
So here are 6 simple steps for how to beta test your meditation practice.
- Decide How Long to meditate each day
- Pick A Time of Day
- Give Yourself a Month
- Choose a single practice for that month
- Set your goals for the month
- Perform a One-month review
1. Decide How Long to Meditate Each Day
Your first step is to decide how long you want to meditate each day. I recommend you start simple. Do you want to meditate for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes? For this first month, I wouldn’t try more than 30 minutes.
Keep it simple and choose a duration that you know you can follow through on.
2. Pick a Time of Day
Try and meditate at the same time every day. This will help you block off the time and make it part of your daily ritual. Usually early in the morning or in the evening is good. I’ve always preferred the morning.
Committing to practice at the same time every day will help train your mind and body for meditation.
3. Give Yourself a Month
You’re meditation practice is in beta mode. That means you are giving it a test drive. Give yourself a month to do this. A month isn’t tool long, but it’s long enough for you to start seeing results and developing a rhythm.
When you meditate, it important to develop a rhythm. That way it becomes a ritual that you start looking forward to.
4. Choose A Single Practice
Don’t flit around and try different practices. Give yourself to one practice for your beta month. With any practice, it takes consistent repetition to start reaping the results. It’s the same with meditation. After a month, you should have a pretty good sense whether this is the right practice for you.
How will you know? You’ll know because you’ll start to get results. Maybe you’re mindful during the day. Maybe you experience a greater sense of calm. If you lose yourself in the practice and experience ecstasy and bliss, that’s probably a sign that you are on the right track.
5. Set Your Goals
Why are you meditating? Be clear about why you are starting a practice and set some goals for the month. Your goals can be practical or they can be deeper. For example, maybe your goal in meditation is to work up to 30 minutes a day. Or maybe your goal is to reduce anxiety or improve your focus.
Whatever it is, set a reasonable goal for the month. That will help you stay motivated on a daily basis.
6. Perform a One-Month Review
OK, you’ve done a month. Now do a review. Did you achieve your goals? Are you happy with the overall results? Yes, no, maybe? Depending on your answer, you can make adjustments.
Maybe you want to change your daily duration or maybe you want to try a new practice? Either way, when you do your review, give yourself the space to really consider what worked for you and what didn’t.
In the end, beta testing your meditation practice is a simple way to get off the starting blocks without feeling overwhelmed. My guess is that you are going to make much more progress than you in think in that month. It will be over before you know it.
So give it a try. If you use this approach, it’s manageable because it’s all happening in a discreet time frame. You’re not locked in forever. At the same time, it’s long enough to give you a real taste of what a daily practice feels like.
By Morgan Dix