How to Start (and Keep) a Meditation Habit

As science cranks out more reasons why meditation is good for us, the push to start practicing gains more traction. But knowing and doing can still be miles apart. Here are are few key steps to help start and keep a meditation habit.

9 Keys to Building a Meditation Practice:

1. Write down a plan. Set a target time and place. Thinking through the details of how you will build your habit helps with follow-through.

2. Ask yourself “Why is this important?” The most motivating answers are often related to money, health, and social connections.

3. Set reminders: sticky notes, a Panda Planner, a calendar reminder, or use a meditation app to keep the habit in mind.

4. Take baby steps. Commit to a goal so simple it seems ridiculous – meditate for 1 minute each day. It’s hard to make an excuse for not meditating for 1 minute. Build on your gains.

5. Get help/support. Apps like Headspace and Calm provide guidance and a sense of community. Try starting with guided meditations.

6. Make it harder to do bad habits and easier to do good habits. Take the batteries out of the TV remote. Put the meditation bench or cushion in the middle of the floor where its presence is a constant reminder.

7. Reward yourself. Use chocolate if necessary.

8. Don’t beat yourself up for setbacks. Talk to yourself as you would a friend who has fallen off the horse and needs to get back on.

9. Act first, think later. Don’t wait for your mind to get revved up for meditation. As your body gets more comfortable with practice, your brain will go along.