Do you find it hard to stick to your meditation goals, despite knowing about the benefits involved setting up a meditation practice? That disconnection between knowing and doing is common, so if something is stopping you from sticking to the plan, this article can help you identify and tackle the root of the problem.
Confront Your FearsA clash between thinking and doing sometimes hides a layer of fear. Common fears include self-doubt, fear of finding that meditation practice uncovers a negative self, and fearing that stillness of the mind will lead to stillness of action.
Habit ReplacementIf avoiding meditation has become a habit, you should take steps to replace it with a positive one. To do this, think about how the habit you want to change became ingrained. You probably took a series of small decisions that reinforced each other and that stuck with you because they provided some sort of benefit.
Parts IntegrationIf you know the benefits of meditation but can’t get around to practice it consistently, there may a conflict of interest between your motivation and parts of your conscious or sub-conscious mind. This type of conflict takes time to uncover, but you can make the process easier by using a neuro-linguistic programming technique known as Parts Integration, whose objective is to help you find greater coherence between thoughts, values, and actions.
- Determine the conflicting parts in the behaviour you want to change (e.g. knowing it would be good to meditate is “the good part” and not doing it is “the bad part”)
- With your palms facing up, picture each part resting on each palm
- Ask each part what their final intention is, and keep asking the question until you come across a positive intention. For example, “the bad part” may want you to be productive and achieve lots of things during the day
- As you bring your hands together, imagine the parts’ intentions helping each other achieve your ultimate goal. Make sure you have a clear image of what this would look like
- Picture this new image of a successful you taking over other parts of your body
- Establish steps that will help you support the good intentions of the integrated parts
As conflict subsides, focus and motivation get stronger and you’ll be able to achieve your meditation goals.
Moving MeditationAnother common thing that gets in the way of regular meditation is feeling that this isn’t really for you. This is particularly common if you are a very energetic person who has trouble sitting still for more than a few minutes at the time, or if you get bored easily.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and the arms to the sides
- Take a deep breath while you cross your arms over your chest
- Exhale slowly and at the same time lift one arm while you lower the other (keep your arms slightly bent as you do this)
- Repeat while you alternate which arms goes up and down, for as long as you want your meditation session to last
Share AccountabilityThere’s strength in numbers and you’re not alone in your struggle, since nobody becomes an expert meditator without confronting fears and bad habits. If you don’t feel strong enough to address these issues, finding someone who is in a similar situation can help if you both agree to hold each other accountable and keep unrealistic expectations in check.