Lately, a friend at the yoga studio asked me if meditating 5 minutes a day would make a difference for him.
He’s used to Bikram Yoga and its hellish 90 minutes sessions, so he was doubting the fact that meditating a short time daily could have any impact on his life.
I told him that things change tremendously if you practice 5 minutes a day, as long as you keep doing it no matter what circumstances.
Tiny habits have a deeper influence than we usually think and most Buddhist masters insist on these small steps that get you a long way.
Check how tiny means big when it comes to meditation:
When you add up your daily 5 minutes of daily practice, here’s the results you get at the end of the year:
- 5 minutes a day = 30 hours of meditation a year
- 20 minutes a day = 120 hours of meditation a year (15 days if you practice 8 hours a day)
- 35 minutes a day = 213 hours of meditation a year (27 days if you practice 8 hours a day)
That’s the power of compound investment applied to mind-training, just pile up little bricks of practice on a daily basis and you end up with a fortress much sooner than you think.
Interested in reaping those results for yourself?
Great! Now let me warn you: people that achieve the kind of discipline that it takes to meditate everyday are stubborn and tedious as hell. The other type of people fail at that game, anyway: they choose a meditation schedule, then they get bored and they drop it.
I’ve kept the habit of meditating for almost 20 years now, I’m surely not a Guru, but I’m alarmingly tedious and persistent, so I’ll share a list of powerful habits to help you meditate as steadily as a tractor:
– Count: keep track of the time you spend meditating. Have a clock next to you, or a mobile application like Meditator or Insight Timer. You’ve decided to do 10 minutes a day? Let it not be 5 minutes, not even 8 minutes 47 seconds. Keep it consistent and hold yourself accountable.
– Don’t wait for their approval: your parents, your partner, they might love the fact that you’re meditating. They might not. Their call. Just keep doing it. When they see you becoming a better human being, they’ll stop having opinions on what you do.
– Do it early: meditate first thing in the morning, try to avoid last minute sessions at 0:30 pm, you’re not going to enjoy them and you’ll doze anyway (I’ve already snored on my meditation pillow, literally).
– Warn gently: make it clear with people around you that you’ll meditate and that you’d like not to be interrupted. Otherwise, they WILL interrupt you. Most people have no idea what meditation is, so take the time to tell them that when you practice you can’t answer the phone or help them get the cereals on top of the fridge.
– Don’t wait to be inspired to meditate: it doesn’t matter if you feel down or if sitting on your pillow suddenly turns you off: do it anyway. Inspiration is for pussies. Proceed.
– Make it a no-brainer. Whenever you’re bored or you’re not sure what to do: use that indecisive time to get your meditation done, don’t even try to figure something else to do. Allow that positive tendency to sink even further in your life by making it automatic.
– Look forward to it: when you have a crappy day, think of the relief you’ll get when you meditate, sitting, doing nothing. You’ll be totally left alone, that’ll be a privileged time! Try to link meditation to anything positive, all the time.
– Reward yourself: treat yourself with something every-time you meditate: an ice-cream, a cheesecake or anything you like (why not buy a whole ham if you can afford it, or a second pair of horns for your pick-up truck). After a while you won’t need an extra reward, meditation will be the actual treat.
– Be your own island: it’s great to team-up with friends to practice, but don’t rely on them. Your enthusiastic meditation partners might quickly lose momentum, then disappear pathetically, leaving you alone on your pillow.
Long story short, be their role-model if you can but don’t expect them to.
– Set your environment up: arrange your room so it becomes a nice place to meditate. Drop the ascetic fantasies, get a comfortable pillow instead, make sure you’re not cold, or hot. Light a candle if you like.
That was a shortlist of only ten items. you’ll develop a thousand more home-brewed strategies as you keep on practicing, they’ll be your personal combinations of tricks and methods to help your own mind cool down and gain mindfulness.
Let me know below if you set your yearly meditation objectives, I’m interested (I’m on a 30 minutes daily this year).
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