We all know it: with the best of intentions we go about our newly discovered task and then this – the inner pig dog catches up with us. Tired, hungover, not in the mood, no time. Maybe tomorrow. Or the day after. Well, there goes all our plans, right? Nonsense!

Learning meditation is not difficult. But to really enjoy the positive effects of the exercises, you should stay on the ball in the long run. In this article you will find 7 helpful tips that will soon make your exercises a natural part of your life.

Tip 1 – Meditate in the morning: Create stable conditions

A habit can be defined as behaviour that you regularly practise in a stable context and without much thought. 1] Stable context? This can be anything from the place where you meditate, to the time of day, to what you have eaten before. In other words: your context is your friend.

Choose a place within your four walls to be your meditation corner. Whether a chair, your favourite cushion or balcony, a yoga mat or the fluffy carpet – the main thing is that you can use this place regularly in peace. If you are still a beginner, you should take special care that you are not disturbed there.

You should also have a specific rule about time. Do you want to do your meditation exercises in the evening? Or do you find it easier to meditate in the morning? Is the afternoon perhaps your time? Experiment a little to find your feel-good time, then set it: every morning after getting up, meditate for 15 minutes. Or always in the afternoon between half past three and four. The more precisely you decide, the easier it will be to establish a routine.

Of course, you don’t have to meditate every day, but you can, for example, choose three fixed days of the week. However, the more often you do meditation, especially as a beginner, the sooner you will make progress.

Tip 2 – Just the thing: Create a feel-good atmosphere

You have a fixed time and place, great. Make sure you feel comfortable in this context: make yourself a blanket and, if you can sit on it better, a pillow. The temperature should also be pleasant so that you can really look forward to your meditation instead of shivering at the thought of cold feet. You will also be able to concentrate much better if you feel comfortable.

Also let your flatmates know that you take time for your meditation practice and therefore need rest. If necessary, a sign on the door will also do. A harmonious environment is always good and especially as a beginner, disturbing noises will distract you unnecessarily.

Tip 3 – The right setting: write down your destinations

Why do you want to learn meditation? What is your motivation? And which routine do you want to establish? Make yourself aware of your goal and write it down. Then hang it up in your meditation corner, so that you are reminded of it again and again. The more concrete, the better: “In order to come to rest and switch off after work, I will enjoy a 15-minute meditation for beginners every day at 5.30 pm”.

According to studies, the probability of success increases significantly if we lay down our goals and the necessary measures in writing. By comparison, in a study by psychologist Gail Matthews at Dominican University in San Rafael, California, participants who formulated their goals orally achieved less than half the desired success. But those who wrote down their goals, concrete measures and progress in writing achieved an average of 76 percent of their desired goal. In addition, the most successful test group also told a friend about what they wanted to achieve – which brings us straight to the next tip. [2]

Tip 4 – Strong together: include your social environment

Our friends and family have an immense influence on our habits. After all, they are part of the “stable context” in which we move. If you tell others about your goal, additional motivation from the outside comes into being, which you cannot develop on your own – you might want to proudly tell your friend next time that you are eager to learn to meditate, just like you said.

You can also further specify your measures by making an appointment. Maybe you know someone who would like to sit on the meditation cushion with you twice a week. Then you can consolidate your new habit together and motivate each other to persevere. [3]

Tip 5 – Trick yourself: if-then plans

Even with a regular routine, there comes a point at which you just can’t get there. You get unexpected visitors, the child is sick and needs you, the appointment at work takes longer and your meditation practice is already falling through. Don’t worry, that is quite normal. Deviating from the rule once or twice will not ruin your routine. But: Your attitude is crucial here. If you feel bad after a few interruptions and let it go, you will gain nothing.

So formulate an if-then plan that gives you an anchor for action in the case of unforeseen events: When unexpected visitors come, I meditate as soon as we have had a coffee together. Or: When I come home from work later, I meditate before going to bed. You can stick to this plan if something comes up in your routine. [3]

Tip 6 – Everything cool: Do not expect too much

Learning meditation takes time. Do not expect to be immediately at peace and do not expect distracting thoughts to come into your mind. Unfortunately there is no immediate enlightenment in four weeks. Instead, see each completed meditation exercise as a small success for itself. Make meditation a habit you can look forward to and be satisfied with, even if you cannot always concentrate fully and only feel the effects in the long term. This is quite normal. The pressure of having to achieve something only gnaws at your conscience – free yourself from it.

Tip 7 – Meditating becomes like breathing: Stay tuned

For your daily meditation to become a habit you no longer think about, the magic number 66 is crucial – because according to a study by Phillippa Lally of University College London, it takes an average of 66 days to establish a routine. One day’s rest did not have a significant effect on the new habit. Only more frequent breaks had noticeable negative effects. [4]

A good two months of daily practice may seem long to a beginner, but don’t let that discourage you: The more regularly and the longer you engage in your meditation practice, the better you can establish your automatism. Getting up, meditating in the morning, starting the day – it’s as simple as that.

By the way: If you need help in developing your routine, you can use the reminder function of the sonamedic app to let you remember your pending meditation every day. Here you can also find pleasant, guided sound journeys, which are perfect for beginners.

Sources

[1] Zeug, Katrin: Mach es anders! In: Zeit Wissen Nr. 2/2013, S. 1. Letzter Zugriff: 24.11.2020. Online   

[2] Mai, Jochen: Ziele aufschreiben steigert Erfolgschancen auf 76 Prozent. Letzter Zugriff: 24.11.2020. Online 

[3] Zeug, Katrin: Mach es anders! In: Zeit Wissen Nr. 2/2013, S. 4. Letzter Zugriff: 24.11.2020. Online

[4] Reine Routine – In 66 Tagen zur Gewohnheit. In: Alltagsforschung, 2010. Online 

 

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