A three step guide to stimulate motivation and develop meditation into a habit.
In the early days, motivation is a struggle.
Motivation for meditation is a severe struggle in the early stages. We are designed by nature to be busy with multitasking, achieving results and chasing happiness. Hence meditation is not a natural fit into our daily life. In this blog, I will introduce three step strategy, that will make meditation a daily habit.
Especially, if you are a beginner, you may feel like meditation is slowing down our activities. Therefore our mind begins to pile up counter-arguments against meditation. Furthermore, meditation demands to introduce entirely new workout into our daily calendar. On top of all these, it requires to close down our roaming mind. So, it is altogether natural for you to find a million reasons not to meditate.
I had the same struggle in my journey to meditation. You may find below, the three key strategies that I have used during those early days to make meditation a daily habit in my busy life.
It needs a different approach to make meditation a daily habit
The well developed motivational techniques that are designed for the modern world does not fit with meditation. Because they are designed to achieve tangible, measurable outcomes, of a busy life. For instance, motivation techniques that are designed for sports performers have milestones and rewards. Those rewards and milestones are quite nicely & systematically defined so one can understand and execute.
In meditation, learn to live without expectations.
In contrast, meditation is a mundane exercise engaging mind. It is almost impossible to define milestones. Because meditation by default is designed to counter the expectations. (i.e. In meditation we train our mind to live without expectations). Therefore the reward centric motivational models doesn’t apply to motivate and build meditation into a daily habit. But, don’t feel bad about that. You may find a brilliant alternative below, which has helped thousands of other meditators too.
Motivation for meditation requires un-conventional approaches.Tweet
Lay the groundwork for a solid foundation.
Let’s imagine, when you buy a potted plant, you follow the instructions; put it under 50% shade, sprinkle water in two-day intervals, etc. Now imagine you received a beautiful wild seedling from a friend. Now you don’t have instructions. (Because nobody knows the planting instructions of a wild plant). So you go to the basics of planting. I call it laying the right foundations. Then you stay vigilant, provide adequate care daily basis and observe seedling growing into a beautiful, healthy plant.
From the early stages, we shall aim to build a solid foundation. So, each meditation sitting becomes a stimulating experience. More importantly, we tend to see signs of progress regular basis. Imagine when we see green shoots every so often, we know the seedling planted, a few days ago is growing. Even we tend to see imaginary flowers and fruits. So the motivation becomes effortless.
How do we design a solid foundation?
To lay the foundation towards building a solid meditation practice require three cornerstones explained below:
It is crucial to understand what the purpose for you to do meditation is? Why do you need meditation? What aspects of meditation stimulates you to follow meditation? How do those aspects relate to your life goals?
Let me give you a few examples:
- Amanda started meditation just because her friends were doing it along with yoga.
- Peter wanted to improve his attitudes, such as self-discipline, tolerance.
- Paul thought meditation would improve his work efficiency and productivity.
- Agnus started to learn meditation at her seventieth birthday, hoping that would make her mind occupied in a healthy way.
- How about you?
Spend adequate time to define it clearly. Then write it down. Because when you write it, the purpose becomes even more clearer. And you can revisit and improve it later.
Or maybe put it on the wall to remind you. So you can see it every day that itself become a reminder and motivator.
Build the determination day by day for the first few weeks. Your goal shall be developing meditation into a routine. So that your meditation becomes a regular thing in your day, that you do not need to think organising or rescheduling. The time, place and duration of the meditation shall be a fixed part of your daily calendar.
Nevertheless, building into this routine requires sustained determination. One way to do is to create a Reminder – Routine – Review model. You set up a reminder (e.g. setting the alarm). Then define a small routine. (In my experience, every morning, I used to wake up, have a cup of tea, pick some flowers and sit for a five-minute prayer, before meditation. All these were part of my routine after wake up alarm). Then at the end of the meditation, I would do a silent review on my meditation, reflecting how and what I have observed during meditation. This review gave me a feeling that I have completed the days’ task, which itself is a kind of a reward.
Warning: during early stages of meditation, never expect a repetitive pattern in your mental status. For instance, one day, you may experience a peaceful and bright mind, and next day it can be unsettling, chaotic. This nature is quite common in the early-stage meditation.
You may need to do your homework to prepare your mind and body. Maintaining flexibility of the body muscles is helpful to sit comfortably. In my experiments, simple yoga exercises were beneficial to maintain body suppleness. However, I do yoga in the evenings while meditating in the morning.
Proper sleep is vital. At least six hours of undisturbed sleep balance the body energy to help morning meditation. More importantly, clear out stressful activities, such as deadline work, well in advance. Plan them into a calendar, so that your mind is free from tension of deadlines or unfinished work.