Do you find sticking with a consistent meditation practice a problem?
Life often throws up interruptions and they make regular practice difficult. I certainly can’t claim to be a perfect ‘meditation angel’ when it comes to practicing every day 🙂 . That said, I’m mindful of keeping interruptions to a minimum. If you’re struggling to keep up a consistent practice here’s some help. These steps are what I’ve used to keep me ‘on the straight and narrow’ for the last 10 years.
Step 1. When will Meditation fit into your daily routine?
Your first job is to decide when you can fit a regular and dependable Meditation practice into your daily routine. Get this clear in your head. Write it down then put that note somewhere where you can see it so it acts as a reminder.
Ask yourself, am I a morning person or an evening person, a lark, or an owl?
If you’re a lark, decide to be a morning meditator. To decide exactly when in the morning you’re doing it, write down your list of morning habits and work out where your meditation best fits in.
- As soon as you get up
- Before or after:
- Your shower
- Getting Dressed
- Having your breakfast
Once you’ve made your decision clearly state to yourself something along the following lines:
“I’m going to meditate immediately after getting up and before I have my shower“
If you’re an owl, decide to be an evening meditator. Write down your list of evening habits and work out where your meditation best fits in:
- As soon as you get home from work.
- Before or after:
- Your tea/ supper /dinner.
- Going to your exercise class.
As before, once you’ve made your decision clearly state to yourself something along the following lines:
“As soon as I get home, I am going to meditate. I’ll do it before I prepare my supper”
The procedure of consciously telling yourself when you’re going to meditate will set your intention of how you want things to happen going forward. And it means you’re more likely to stick with consistent practice.
Back this up with obvious reminders of what you intend. These could be post-it notes in strategic places or reminders in your phone calendar.
When I first started meditating, I had my ‘meditation box file’ ‘as an obvious reminder. It was on my dining room table and contained all my notes and any meditation books I was reading. This meant that I’d eat my breakfast, see my box file, pick it up, then go and do my meditation.
Step 2: How long will you meditate for and how often?
To develop consistency you need to establish both how long your meditation session will be and how frequently you’re going to do it.
- Most students find that meditating for between 10 and 20 minutes is what they need in order to really feel like they’re getting the benefits.
But more important than the length of time is the frequency:
- Look to doing meditation little and often, for example between 4 and 6 days per week.
- A regular practice will help you ‘drop into’ your meditation, effortlessly. Your ability to quickly be relaxed, alert, and able to focus will improve rapidly and you’ll feel like it’s working. That’s a great motivator in itself!
Step 3: Be realistic and flexible with yourself
Sometimes emergencies will happen!!!
Despite the fact that you’ve intended to meditate a certain number of days per week and a certain amount of time per day, some days it just can’t happen. That’s OK!
If you’ve got to go and sort something out, go and do it, but do all you can to get back to your practice as soon as possible. Ideally, try not to let one day off extend into two, three, four or five. But even if it does, jump back into the saddle as soon as possible.
Some helpful (and free!) resources to help you stay consistent.
First, there’s the Nine Breaths meditation. It’s short and easy to fit in if you are tight for time. Do this meditation rather than no meditation at all!
Also available is a downloadable PDF called ‘Quieten your mind in Meditation’. The title gives an idea as to content but it also lets you know about what to expect from your meditation so you can recognise when you’re doing it right. Again hugely motivating!
If you have any questions about consistency in meditation or anything else to do with meditation then feel free to email me and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.