Post written by
Digital Agency Owner, Speaker & Mortgage Agent Giving Likeminded People Access To Thoughtful Advertising, Education and Financing
By following three key pillars, you, too, can make this crucial mindfulness practice as automatic as brushing your teeth.
1. Be clear on your motivation to meditate and where it will take you.
When I first started to meditate, I failed to crystallize my true motivation. It felt like a vitamin instead of a painkiller and I didn’t get educated on its true benefits beyond keeping up with the Joneses. When you aren’t crystal clear on why you’re engaging in a new behavior, other than what your friends say, it will get lost in the shuffle when life happens.
I was initially sold on how it would make me more mindful and lower stress. Looking back, however, I realize I wasn’t convinced it would happen anytime soon. Whenever I missed a session, I downplayed it by thinking that I could just make up for it tomorrow and that someday the habit would just stick — I was too busy for it now.
One day, my gut told me I was going too fast and slowly burning out. It prompted me to hit pause and take a weekend at a personal development forum. For the first time in a long time, I worked on myself for three days without any busy work pulling me into other people’s priorities. It ended up being a complete game-changer for my business and it helped me wrap my head around why not meditating was no longer an option.
In the end, it made me realize how flawed my previous logic on pushing off mindfulness really was. I concluded that the speed and direction of my business trajectory was something I simply wasn’t happy with, even though I pretended I was. The inertia of always being busy blinded me from realizing that my growth was stunted and that this wouldn’t change unless I found more time to slow down.
Meditation suddenly became a painkiller when I realized how dire it would be if I didn’t get out of this vicious cycle. This is when I properly researched its benefits and was immediately able to relate them to my newly magnified life pains.
So, how does meditation help you? Over my 1,000 days of straight meditation, I have experienced various benefits. I experience a daily increase in my creativity, gratitude, empathy, willpower and decision making.
2. Start small and then build up.
Whether it’s planning out a big project or looking to run an Ironman race, you will likely have major setbacks in terms of both procrastination and overwhelm, especially if you don’t break things down into small chunks — meditation is no different.
When I started meditating, I tried 15-minute sessions but found myself distracted in the first few minutes. I simply couldn’t fend off internal thoughts and external noises so distractions would sidetrack me. This is before I started getting good at five-minute body scans and being able to focus on specific parts of my body with profound precision. I then became able to extend my meditation time and even my setting as I found myself meditating on public transport and in other hectic environments.
Building habits and strength comes from breaking things down and being aware of what complementary habits can spill over to make picking up mediation easier. Charles Duhigg, the best-selling author of “The Power of Habit,” breaks these spillover habits down into keystone habits: “When people start habitually exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other, unrelated patterns in their lives, often unknowingly. Typically, people who exercise start eating better and becoming more productive at work.”
Keystone habits that will help your meditation practice include exercising, sleeping well and having a fruitful morning routine. Your willpower is strongest when you wake up with a fresh mind, so I highly recommend you meditate in the morning before the day tugs you in draining and unpredictable directions.
3. Be consistent and reflective in your journey.
If you start small and turn meditation into a habit, you’ll be well on your way to building a base of consistency. Consistency allows for flexibility on where you meditate and what kind of advanced meditation practices you try out.
On the topic of spillover habits, I found that meditation made journaling more enjoyable. Better journaling made me hyper-aware of how happy, grateful and productive I was on a weekly basis, which in turn reinforced meditation as a key driver of these amazing weeks. Being more mindful and self-aware also allowed me to quickly cut out things that were no longer serving me whereas, before meditation, I was too busy to take decisive action in changing this.
This was a full circle in allowing me to mitigate the terrifying gradual burnout I experienced before the personal development forum that made me finally snap out of it. There was no snapping out of anything now; I felt in control of my life direction.
The busier you are, the more reason you have to meditate to ensure you are being true to yourself and the people who depend on you. Meditation needs your full buy-in and to be taken as seriously as the most challenging endeavors you have had to overcome in the past. All great feats require proper practice and constant calibration to positively affect your life and take things to the next level.