Is sticking with a consistent practice a problem?
I know life can get in the way of regular practice at times and believe me I’m no perfect meditation angel when it comes to practicing every day. But I have stuck with doing it regularly for over a decade now so I thought I’d share my experience via these ‘3 steps to consistent meditation practice’. These steps help you design what I call your ‘foundation meditation practice’. This is the process you’ll use each time you meditate and as it becomes familiar to you, it will be one you can easily slip back into if you’ve had some time away.
Step 1. Where will Meditation fit into your daily routine?
Your first job is to decide where you can fit a regular and dependable Meditation practice into your daily routine with the least effort and hassle.
If you’re going to be a morning meditator you could try…
As soon as you get up.
OR before or after;
Having your breakfast.
If you’re going to be an evening meditator you could try…
As soon as you get home from work.
Or before or after;
Your tea/ supper /dinner.
Going to your exercise class.
Once you’ve decided where the best time slot is for most of your practice is, consciously tell yourself what you intend to do, for example:
“I’m going to meditate after breakfast”
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 physical reminders. 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 a physical 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, then pick up the box file, sit down and do my meditation.
Step 2: How long will you meditate?
To develop consistency you need to establish both how long will your meditation session 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 rather than doing it just once a week or once a month.
Regular, frequent small repetitions will rapidly get you to a point where you can consistently drop into your meditation and feel relaxed and alert immediately.
To help you, I’ve created the Nine Breaths meditation. It’s a 3-minute session which you can repeat 3 or 4 times to make up a longer meditation. Or just stick with the 3-minute version on the days when you have less time.
In my own meditation routine, I schedule it so that I do it 6 days a week (I generally give myself Saturdays off). If that sounds a bit too much for you right now, then just start off by scheduling in 4 days into your diary and see how that works.
Step 3: Be realistic and flexible with yourself
Sometimes emergencies can happen.!!!
Despite the fact that you have 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, you should 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 if it does, jump back into the saddle asap with the Nine Breaths I mentioned above.
How to quieten your mind in meditation
I hope these 3 steps to consistent meditation give your baseline practice more stability. Another goody I’ve created to help you meditate is the free downloadable PDF called ‘Quieten your mind in Meditation’. I go into more depth on all the tips which I’ve talked about today PLUS there’s some bonus content to support having a consistent meditation habit.
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.