There are hundreds of scientific benefits associated with regular meditation, and it is a key life habit that also sparks a chain reaction for other good habits to take hold, such as:
- Quality sleep
- Enhanced mood
- Better relationships
- Increased self-awareness
If you’ve been wanting to start a regular meditation practice that will create very visible, real and positive changes in your life, follow this 5-step formula.
The best way to successfully change any habit is to get crystal clear on why you want to do it. Take out a piece of paper or start a note on your electronic device:
- Write down all of the reasons you want to meditate. Keep going…
- Reflect on these reasons and continue to write about very specific circumstances, situations and experiences you would like to see improve.
- Visualize all the ways your life will be enriched as a result of a regular practice.
For example, if you want to sleep better, continue to reflect on how quality sleep will give you more energy so you can be more productive or creative on a project.
You might visualize how happy and refreshed you feel after waking up from a deep night’s sleep.
Perhaps you become less emotionally reactive when things go wrong and your family comments on how cheerful you are.
Continue this reflection for each of your reasons for wanting to meditate.
When the benefits are more compelling than the time required to meditate, you will find the time. A powerful why can endure any how.
When you are certain your reasons for wanting to meditate are strong enough, pick a start date to begin your meditation habit.
This is critical.
The date you are about to pick is a transformational moment you will remember for the rest of your life.
Take out your calendar and look at the week ahead:
- Select the day you will begin to consistently practice meditation. Between now and the next 10 days.
- Clearly mark this day on your calendar.
- Schedule two short periods of time to meditate that day. It can be as little as 2-minutes or as long as 30-minutes.
I highly recommend that you start small. Perhaps as small as possible to ensure your success.
You may increase the amount of time later, but right now you are establishing a realistic commitment to meditate twice daily, once in the morning and once in the afternoon (for a minimum of 2-minutes).
Pick an amount of time that is “challenge resistant.”
Obstacles will appear. A day will come that you will not feel like meditating.
Your commitment should be so ingrained that you make time no matter how you feel, what else happens or what anyone else says.
From this day forward you will never have to negotiate whether or not you will meditate again. You will simply find the time.
As you move through the next few days, begin to prepare your schedule:
- Reflect on how you spend time each day.
- Decide on areas you want to modify, rearrange or rebalance.
- Begin to adjust or eliminate unwanted things from your life.
Review your whys every day and get excited for what is ahead. Just as you will never forget the day the love of your life appeared, you may never forget the day your life transformed as a result of meditation.
Quick Tip: Set up a daily calendar reminder of your start date. Add the journal notes from Step 1: Identify so you can read them daily and get excited.
Everything in life starts with intention. You have made a powerful decision. The universe has received your intention and the transformation has been set in motion. Now it’s time to energize it.
- Write down the names of three people who will support you on your meditation journey. These are your “Energizers.”
- Contact each of these people and share your plan. Most importantly, share why this is important to you and the benefits you desire.
- Ask for their support and set up a regular check in schedule. What would it look like to have your friends and family support you?
These people are going to be your cheerleaders and accountability partners. They are going to keep you on track, celebrate your wins and support you when you don’t feel like following through on your commitment or hit a stumbling block.
Use these three people as your lifeline for success. If there are other people close to you that you need or want their support, share your excitement for transformation.
It is likely you will inspire others. If you find another person powerfully committed to change (meditation or any other positive life change), become buddies for transformation.
Enjoy the next few days of bubbling excitement and preparation.
Every day reread your whys.
Visualize how your life will be different this time next month or next year. Imagine yourself enjoying the twice daily times you’ve set aside for yourself.
See yourself effortlessly meditating and living life with more joy, clarity, love and ease.
Habits are never easy to change. You will come up against challenges. Get clear on obstacles that may arise.
- Brainstorm the three most likely obstacles that will throw you off track.
- Create a plan to overcome these challenges.
- Speak with your Energizers in Step 3. Ask them to role play these scenarios with you.
Ask yourself, Am I confident my plan is strong enough to overcome these challenges?
Ask your Energizer, Do you think my plan is strong enough to overcome these challenges?
Create a plan (and a backup plan) for unexpected emergencies. They have a way of coming up at the worst possible time and usually when you least expect it.
Preparation allows you to move through obstacles gracefully without missing a meditation beat.
Organize your life so you have the mental, physical and emotional space for success.
For example, if you were starting a physical cleanse, you would need to prepare the kitchen and pantry. You would likely eliminate processed foods and unhealthy snacks. You would shop and replace these with fresh ingredients and groceries. You would have nutritious menu options planned and healthy snacks that are easy to grab.
Reflect on your schedule and organize your time:
- Eliminate at least one “time-zapper” from your life.
- Review your other consistent daily habits.
- Identify one habit in the morning and another in the late afternoon that you can connect your meditation to.
Habits stick when they are connected to an already established routine.
Consider your morning routine: wake up in bed, rituals in the bathroom, drinking or eating, etc. Review your evening routine: close out the workday, change clothes, switch on the TV, surf the internet, etc. Choose an already existing daily habit (such as brushing your teeth) that you can connect meditation to.
Most people find it easier to maintain a morning practice. As the momentum of the day picks up, it can become difficult to find quiet time, but this is an important time to release stress from a busy day.
Take a mini relaxation break.
Even if it is just for 2-minutes, promise yourself, promise me, that no matter what happens you will sneak away behind a closed door or find a corner to sit down, close your eyes and breathe deeply.
You deserve it. And it continues the momentum of regularity and makes you a meditation super star!
The universe is constantly moving in the direction of higher evolutionary impulses, creativity, abstraction and meaning. – Deepak Chopra
So are you. Cultivating a new habit may not be easy, but you are infinitely flexible.
You are continually evolving. You are a dynamic living being.
The moment you wholeheartedly identify that you truly want meditation to be a part of your life, you become unstoppable. Your life will transform in ways you never imagined.
Have fun, be kind to yourself and enjoy the journey.
When you are ready, start the 31-day Meditation Challenge.
Share your personal tips that have helped you prepare to cultivate or change a habit. How have you been successful?
Share your tips below.