What No One Ever Tells You About How to Stick With a Meditation Plan
[Reading time: 1 min 10 secs]
I started meditating about 20 years ago and over time have found that when I do it on a regular basis, I feel calm, centered, and happy. I also have better focus, am more appreciative of everything around me, and am a gentler human being.
And I don't even have to sit for an extended period of time to get those benefits!
You would think that with all those great side effects, I would be meditating daily and it would be a higher priority than brushing my teeth. But is it?
How to stick to a meditation plan
Task Initiation is the brain skill connected with our ability to start tasks.
If you want to meditate every day, give your brain what it needs to get over the hurdle of getting started.
And what is that?
Keep your time commitment small
Of course it would be great to sit for 40 minutes a day. Or even 20 minutes every day. But the reality is... that's almost impossible to sustain.
If you tell yourself you're going to sit for:
- 60 minutes a day;
- 30 minutes five times a week; or something even more complicated like
- 20 minutes for four days during the work week and 45 minutes on the weekend
...then you're setting yourself up for failure.
What no one ever tells you
The best way to support the brain and stick to a meditation plan is to make it crazy easy to get started. Making your time commitment small means it's easier to talk yourself into doing it. So dial it back and commit to something waaaaaay smaller... like ten minutes a day. And if you're still avoiding the daily sit, drop it to five minutes - or even two.
Now you may be thinking "What's the point? I'm not going to gain anything by meditating for two minutes".
But that's where you're wrong.
What you'll gain is something more valuable: A habit.
The benefits of a smaller time commitment
Committing to a smaller amount of time helps you get over the hurdle of getting started. Once you've meditated for the requisite five (or two) minutes, if you really do feel compelled to get on with your day, you can pat yourself on the back for doing what you said you were going to do.
Many people plan to meditate in the morning but that can get sidelined by having a busy day, not feeling that great, blah, blah, blah. An evening meditation plan can get sidelined for the same reasons.
Whenever you decide to sit doesn't really matter; just lower your daily time commitment because the fact is that the more you actually put your butt on a cushion, the more likely you will be to put your butt on a cushion.
And before you know it, you will have developed a meditation habit and find yourself sitting without even thinking about it.
This brain skill is all about our ability to get started on things - especially anything that is repetitious or boring. The brain likes things that are novel and dynamic. If you think of yourself as a procrastinator, this skill is probably not that strong in your brain. But don't worry - all you need to do is bring in the tools and strategies that support the skill of Task Initiation - and there are many. Check out the link below for more info.
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