It’s New Years. The resolutionaries are on the march. You’re armed with new goals and visions for 2015. For example, it’s a fabulous moment to start a new meditation practice.
But have you thought about how you’re going to make it stick? How can you create the habits that are going to help you thrive and become a better you?
Where is the space—internal and external—going to come from to include a new meditation habit in your routine? Especially something like a meditation practice…
For some people, it’s easy. You just make up your mind and make it happen. But that’s actually pretty rare. Most of us don’t have the ideal conditions (inner or outer) to start a new self-improvement habit from scratch.
On the outside, you probably have a full work day, kids, and lots of responsibility. On the inside, you have years and years of momentum in your thoughts and choices that don’t support this new habit.
If you are someone who has tried to start a meditation or mindfulness practice in the past and lost steam, maybe you can relate to this. It’s more common than you can imagine.
So I thought I’d create a simple guide to help you stack the odds in your favor. And full disclosure, I have several big goals lined up for this year, and I’m deeply committed to realizing success. So the tips I’m about to share are things that I’m putting into practice to ensure my own success.
5 Steps To Create A Meditation Habit
Here are 5 steps to super charge your self-discipline and help you achieve your goals and realize a new level of potential.
5. Tracking Progress
When I lived in a meditation and yoga ashram for 14 plus years, I learned about the power of intention. My own intention was the largest factor in my own growth. What does that mean exactly? It meant that I had to want change more than anything else.
If I wanted my meditation practice to thrive, I learned that no amount of pressure from the outside was going to make that happen. It had to start with me and it had to come from a deep place where I made it the most important thing in my life. Or it had to be at least in the top 5 most important things.
Otherwise, I would never have the motivation, commitment, passion, or discipline to make it happen. Intention is your most powerful secret weapon in creating a new habit that will help you realize your goals and aspirations.
If intention is the first inner lever you need to employ, commitment is a close second. To be successful in your new meditation practice, you need to commit. It’s important that you sit down and make a pact with the most important person in your life—you.
Make a commitment to yourself that you are going to do this. Seal that commitment with your heart, mind, and word.
How are you going to keep that commitment? You have your intention, but there will be times when it’s not easy. Temptation to stray from your commitment lurks around every corner. That’s more natural than breathing, especially when you are starting something as challenging and long-term as a meditation practice.
That’s why you need an accountability system. Your first line of accountability is you. You made a commitment and you gave your word to yourself. The second line of accountability is someone else. Get an accountability buddy. Someone who you tell about your commitment and who can help you.
You need support to succeed. Try and enlist a friend or partner to start this new habit with you. Get an accountability buddy. That’s one kind of support. Here’s another, create a structural change in your life that supports the new habit. Set your alarm to get up earlier to make the time. Set up a reward or penalty system that will ensure you follow through.
You need inner and outer support and these are just a few examples for how to do that. I’m sure you can come up with more.
5. Tracking Progress
You need positive reinforcement. We all do. And one of the best ways to do that is to make sure you can see your progress. Get a sheet of paper or make a spreadsheet in excel and mark down every time you do the new habit and how much time you invest. Every day that you meditate, record the day, the time, and the duration.
Trust me, you need this. This will help make your progress tangible and it also makes your commitment and investment visible to yourself and others (if you choose).
I applaud your decision to create a new habit. Creating new habits is an amazing opportunity to unleash your potential and make change in yourself and the world. I have no doubt that you can do it.
And I’m doubtless that these 5 simple steps will help you every step of the way.
If you want to create a new meditation habit, you can try our free meditation mini course here.