How to Make Meditation a Habit
It’s hard to start a new habit, even if it’s good for you like meditation, taking the stairs, or eating healthier. It’s up to you to make the decision and stick to it. But, below are four tips for making it a little bit easier to make meditation a habit.
1. Start Small
Start with 5 minutes a day for the first week. Then add 5 minutes each week until you get to a comfortable length for your schedule.
You'll see the benefits of meditation even if you keep it short - even just 15 minutes a day has show to literally impact the structure of your brain (in a good way). Consistency over length here!
2. Meditate Early in the Day
Make time for meditation during your morning routine. We all go to bed with the bed intention for tomorrow, but then you feel like staying in bed an extra few minutes, so you say you’ll meditate later and cuddle up under the covers for some extra shut-eye.
Then you get into the office and we all know how that goes - emails and meetings galore. By the time you get home, you’re pooped and using your brain to focus on for 15 minutes is the last thing you want to do. So Netflix wins and your self-care meditation practice is put off till tomorrow.
No no no no no!
Skip all of that by meditating early in your day. That way, it's less likely something will come up and prevent you from meditating - plus it makes you feel fantastic!
At first, you may look at meditating as a chore - an extra to-do in your morning routine. Practice self-discipline and do the thing you don’t want to do first. This is a great practice for overall success. I recommend Marisa Peer’s video on self-discipline to learn more.
If you meditate first thing in the morning, over time you will begin to crave its effect and it won’t be a chore anymore - it’ll be a habit.
3. Use an Existing Habit
The easiest way to add a habit is to do the new thing after something you already do everyday (habit coupling). Think of something you do each morning and use this as a trigger to remind you to meditate after you complete it. Do you get up and immediately go to the bathroom? Use the habit of your morning tinkle to remind you to meditate next (after you wash your hands, of course)
Check out this article about habit coupling and triggers for more details.
4. Use an App
This may be the easiest way to make meditation a habit. Apps have tons of awesome meditations at various lengths and most will send you a reminder at a certain time of day (cough morning cough) so you don't forget! I use Insight Timer. Read this review of some of the most popular meditation apps to help find what's right for you.
That’s it! Starting the new habit of meditating every day can be tough. And some days you will miss it - no one is perfect. Don’t be hard on yourself if (when) this happens, just pick it back up the next day. You got it!