If I had read this blog title - let's be honest, even 12 months ago - I would have screwed up my face and shook my head.
"Ha! It's easy for YOU to meditate every day - you probably don't have children or a demanding job. You're not starting your own business and you don't have to commute to work. You're not planning home renovations and I bet you don't have family and friends to visit and things to organise every day... I might be able to mediate a couple of days a week - I know it's important - but come on, every day? I have a real life"
Yes, my friends, that was the head space I was in. And it took me a long time to even accept I could meditate at all!
Then, something huge happened.
I realised - in a deep, profound way - that all of these projections and excuses, all of this ego posturing and ‘busyness’ I was ascribing to myself - was not helping me one little bit. I was getting in my own way. I was talking myself out of a self-care practice that would radically enhance my life and well-being.
So - how did I learn, commit and finally surrender to a daily meditation practice?
#1 - I tended to my negative self talk
Make no mistake, when you make a decision to look after yourself, your self talk can become vicious. "You are selfish! Who are you to meditate every day - what, are you a monk or something? You don't have time. You can't possibly keep this up. There are so many other things you could be doing." It's not easy to tune out of these thoughts but I have learnt that the best way is to acknowledge them with a sense of curiosity, and then let them go with love and kindness. "Oh I see you thought, I know you're scared - but why don't we just give this meditation thing a try and see what happens?"
#2 - I took a ‘try it and see’ approach
When I'm implementing something new, committing to something or making a change my perfectionism often decides to speak up. When I set the intention to meditate, there it was - on cue - telling me "how I can't possibly achieve this, because it's too difficult to do something every day, so why even start." My approach to dealing with this? I soothingly tell my perfectionist self that it's no big deal, I'm just doing an experiment with this meditation thing and we’ll just see how it goes. This tends to calm down my perfectionist voice and allows me to ‘try and see’ how it goes.
#3 - I chose a practice that was nourishing
I love guided meditation practices that can help us to relax, and centre. I choose a time (say 10-15 minutes) I can fit in each day. There are so many amazing guided meditation practices around - Rebecca Campbell provides a beautiful 15 minute Source Meditation which would be a great daily practice, and the Hay House Meditations Podcast is fantastic for variety.
The meditation you decide to use and the length of time you commit to is a completely personal decision. You may choose a silent breath based meditation, it may be a yoga nidra or other body focused relaxation. You may repeat a mantra, listen to music or it may be a kundalini yoga practice. However, my tip I'd to choose a practice that makes you feel peaceful and nurtured.
#4 - I don't always sit in lotus position
I used to think that in order to meditate I needed to sit crossed legged with my back straight and palms facing upwards - and because of this, I used it as an excuse not to. But what if I told you - we can meditate lying down? Sitting in a chair? Laying with our legs up the wall? Sitting against a wall? Or even a combination of these positions? We need to find a place that allows us to relax and focus on our breathe, mantra, body or soundtrack. Experiment and find what works best.
#5 - I committed to the practice for X days
In situations where I'm trying something new, I like to put a loose time-frame on my commitment - because for me, the thought of doing something forever is just too overwhelming. I decided to pick 21 days. So maybe pick 21 days, 40 days or even 7 days to start with and then see how you go.
#6 - I didn't pick a strict time each day
I decided not to pick a specific time each day to meditate - however my general approach is that if I'm by myself I practice yoga and then meditate first thing in the morning and if I'm looking after my son I practice when he has his midday nap. Sometimes I practice in the late afternoon, and sometimes at night. For me, the important thing is just to do it at some time during the day.
I know for others it does work best to pick a time each day that we can commit to - as it helps us to stick to our practice, and that is completely understandable and clever. However if you pick a specific time each day to do your meditation, there may be days when you can't practice at that time. If that's the case, please don't feel like you've ‘missed’ the practice that day or somehow failed - just do it when you can - and don't worry!
#7 - I accepted that my mind would still think
I don't know about you, but I have a pretty noisy mind - it loves to think, hypothesise, analyse, remember, project, chatter - basically it doesn't like to be quiet or ignored. I used to think I needed to silence my mind when I meditated and I would get super frustrated when it would continue to talk. Now? I simply acknowledge the thought, and then re-focus onto my breathe or visualisation (depending on the type of meditation I'm doing). I also quietly congratulate myself for being aware of my mind and allowing this awareness to bring me back to my practice.
#8 - I remembered to be kind to myself
Inevitably there will be days when - no matter how much I want to - I may not be able to meditate. I have decided to treat myself with love and compassion when this happens - because otherwise the cycle of negative self-talk can begin. If this happens to you on your journey - don't worry, don't beat yourself up and don't give up. Just recommit to your practice the following day.
What is holding you back from a daily self-care practice? Are you sabotaging yourself like I was? How did you overcome this? I'd love to hear your stories!
If you'd like some support in learning how to bring change into your life and in need of some self-care why not sign up for my newsletter and we can book in a FREE life coaching session to help you through your stumbling block.
Amanda is a (reformed) lawyer turned holistic life coach, self-care advocate, workshop facilitator, writer, speaker, avid reader, nature lover, chai tea drinker and mother to a curious, active toddler. A spirit seeker who loves connecting with others on journeys of self-discovery, Amanda believes we can all find our own version of success and live an empowered life.