Creating a new habit is hard!
Two weeks ago I shared my personal intention to create a steady and consistent meditation practice in a blog post. Sharing this journey publicly would make me feel more accountable and less likely to give up when I found the first hurdle, as I sometimes do with new things. And the first hurdle was right there, in front of me, only four days into it.
I went away for a weekend with family and I didn’t meditate for 4 days. My mind said I didn’t have a moment, but the truth is that I could have found some alone time. My mind said I was too tired on the following two days, but the truth is that I could have stayed awake for another 15 minutes no problem.
This was not what I envisioned I would be sharing with you on my second post. I wanted to be able to tell you that although there were moments that felt a bit boring and it felt a chore to sit down to meditate I had resisted all temptation. But that is not what happened, felt bad and skipped the post I was going to write a week later. But then I thought that sharing the reality of it would have more value.
We are so used to sharing our success stories and accomplishments that we forget how hard some things can be. And creating a new habit is hard. Meditating is hard. Sometimes it feels boring, sometimes you feel restless and can’t wait for the 10 or 15 minutes to end. Sometimes it is wonderful and you feel such a sense of wellbeing, calm and connection at the end that you ask yourself why you ever skipped it.
And while it is hard it is SO good for you. There are so many benefits to it, that it is worth getting back on the saddle every time you fall off it.
That is not the way we are used to talking about creating habits. We see 30 day challenges online and it looks as though once you do something for 30 days you will have reached the destination. But you see, our life isn’t a perfect 30 day challenge. There is another day after day 30. And another one after that, and then another one… Not to mention the wobbly bits in between, which we rarely think about. It seems to be important to reach those 30 consecutive days of doing something. Even when we use meditation apps, they have a way of measuring your success. They tell your phone for how long you meditated, they show you how many days in a row you practiced… and it gets a bit all or nothing for me. You either go all in and don’t miss a day or you fail. I am sure this is not how many people will see it and you might in fact find the measuring and keeping track of your progress motivating. I do when I am doing well, but when I have a little hiccup, I feel terrible.
When I started just over two weeks ago I thought by this point I would be feeling accomplished and proud to have done so well. After all, I do have willpower when something is important to me. But I don’t feel accomplished at all, and I think it is important to share this as well.
You might wonder what happened after that 4 day break. Well, the following evening I sat upright in my bed before going to sleep and set my timer and I followed my breath, in and out, counting it, losing count, counting again… I did that every day for 5 days and started looking forward to that moment of my day. And then I missed a day. And this time I tried not to feel bad, and I picked it up the next day.
If I have learned something over the past two weeks is the need to be compassionate towards myself, to be kind, and to be ok with not meditating for a day or two. When that happens, I do this: I try to remember that one day in a whole life is a tiny drop in the ocean, and no big deal. Then I try to remember the reasons why I wanted to do it in the first place.
And so the story continues, and I will be back with another update in a few weeks time. If you have any questions or comments or anything you want me to talk about specifically, just leave a comment below or drop me a message.
Until then, have the most wonderful day!
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Creating a meditation practice
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