Consistency is what really makes a meditation practice work. It’s far more powerful to meditate 10 minutes a day than to meditate for 60 minutes once a week. Consistency is what lets meditation really seep into your mind and make a lasting impact.
Yet a lot of people struggle with consistency. They might start off excited by the idea of meditating, then find themselves slipping after a few days or weeks. Others find they’re able to meditate sometimes, but have trouble making it a part of their daily lives.
So, how do you build a consistent meditation practice? Try on one of these three tools.
What You Track Improves
What you track improves. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Peter Drucker, the “inventor” of the modern corporation and one of the most respected names in business history, was also a big fan of tracking. Tracking not only informs decisions, it affects decisions. What you track has a tendency to improve over time.
That’s why keeping track of your meditation practice can be an effective tool in boosting consistency. It can be as simple as putting a smiley face or a sticker on your calendar every day that you meditate. Having those stickers there visibly will encourage you to meditate more often, so you can put more stickers on your calendar. You’ll easily be able to see how often you’re meditating, which will also motivate you to meditate more.
Find a simple and fun way to track your meditation. Doing this alone might be all you need to make your practice consistent.
Find the Right Meditation
Some types of meditations will “sit” (no pun intended) better with you than others. For example, some people take to the “compassion” meditations right away. Others are more drawn to the “attention on the breath” meditations. Some like walking meditations better, others prefer stillness, while still others like light meditative music in the background.
Find the meditation that works best for you. Don’t try to force yourself to do a meditation that you genuinely don’t like. Try new meditations with an open mind, but also be on the lookout for the meditations that resonate best with you. Finding that practice will make it a lot easier for you to meditate consistently.
Start by doing 3 minute or 5 minute sits. Don’t jump straight into 20 minute meditation sessions. Give yourself the experience of success early on.
When you start trying to meditate consistently, one of two beliefs will form. Either “I have trouble meditating regularly” or “it’s easy for me to meditate regularly.” Which belief forms is largely determined by how much success you have in the beginning.
If you’re regularly able to keep to your meditation practice early on, you’ll feel successful and quickly build a belief that it’s easy to meditate regularly. If you start missing days early on, you’ll quickly start to feel like it’s difficult.
So, make it easy on yourself. Start small and only meditate 3 or 5 minutes a day. Give yourself the experience of being successful in meditating consistently. Then extend the meditation time, but only when you’re ready. Meditate for longer periods of time only once you’ve built up the belief that meditation is easy and that meditating consistently is easy.
While one meditation session is powerful, the real power in meditation comes when you implement it every day. In just a month of consistent practice, you could find yourself building a completely new relationship with your mind and emotions. If you follow these three ideas, following a consistent meditation schedule will become a lot easier. Give it a try! And as always, let us know what you think in the comments.