Here are 7 Tips to Start a Daily Mindfulness Practice:

(If you haven’t already joined our Free 30 Day Meditation Challenge, check it out HERE!)

1. Make it a Priority.

To start a daily mindfulness practice, you need to make a commitment to sit for at least five minutes a day. Put away all distractions, don’t multitask while meditating – that defeats the purpose. Remember, it’s just five minutes a day. Don’t make excuses, just find five minutes a day and make it happen!

One thing that can help to make it a priority is to write down your intention. Research shows you’re more likely to follow through on a goal if you write it down and if you connect with a deeper “Why”. Why are you doing this, and what are you hoping to get out of it? Get out a piece of paper and write this down:

I Commit to five minutes of mindfulness for 30 days to create more xxx in my life.
(fill in your own desired result for xxx)

Next, think about what systems you’ll need in place to make this a priority.

Is it telling your partner not to disturb you the first five minutes of every day? Setting aside time during your bus commute to listen to the meditations? Or, if you have little ones, putting them in front of a cartoon like Caitlin did;

“It’s so hard to find time for myself with a 1 year old and 3 year old who wake me up bright and early each day but I got them set up downstairs with their breakfast and a cartoon and came back into my room upstairs to do this. I found it wasn’t as difficult as I was expecting and actually went by very quickly. Thank you!”
– Caitlin Rives Hatzenbuhler

2. Create Sacred Space.

Decide where you’re going to meditate each day and create an inviting, cozy space for yourself. This could be setting up your favorite soft blanket or a candle in the corner of your bedroom, or simply deciding you’ll do the meditations on your commute to work each day on the bus. Wherever it is, make it an inviting space.See yourself in a golden bubble of light while, for example, riding on the bus with your headphones, listening to the meditation. Imagine yourself sitting to meditate in this sacred space each morning for the next month. This is called “future pacing” and it makes you more likely to follow through on something if you can see (feel, hear, smell) yourself doing something in the future.

3. Pick a WHEN.

In addition to creating Sacred Space and choosing a “Where,” you also need to choose “When” you want to meditate each day. You’ll be more successful if you choose the same time each day and build it into your routine.I recommend doing it first thing in the morning, as research shows this is when your willpower is strongest and it’s also when your mind is clear and in a rested state.Obviously, life happens. Sometimes you’ll end up meditating at a different time. But your baseline should be a time you choose in advance that you’ll stick to as often as possible.If you’re meditating in the evening before bed and struggle with falling asleep, you may want to try meditating in the morning or during your lunch break when you’re less sleepy.

4. Replace Bad Habits with Good.

Creating a Ritual around this new habit or practice is an excellent way to make it stick. One of the best ways to create a new habit, according to research, is to replace an old habit with a new one.Do you check your phone first thing in the morning? If so, how does that make you feel?If you’re like most people, it makes you feel anxious and stressed out, thinking about all the things you have to do that day and all the demands other people are placing on you.Instead, start your day with a new habit by creating a Morning Ritual. At night, before you go to bed, put a full glass of water on your nightstand. When you wake up in the morning, the glass of water is a visual reminder of your Morning Ritual. You drink the water and spend five minutes meditating before checking your phone or doing anything else.

This simple Morning Ritual will change the entire tone of your day because you’re starting your day with your needs and priorities, versus responding to everyone else’s demands. You’re taking care of your body by hydrating, and your mind by meditating. And you’re being proactive rather than reactive. This will help you stay grounded and focused on what really matters for the rest of the day.

You’ll be amazed at what making this one simple change will do. So remember – don’t check your phone or read the news, instead, drink a glass of water and meditate first thing in the morning.

5. Don’t Go It Alone.

Get support. Join our buddy system, be part of the community, and leave a comment on the page after you meditate. It may feel silly to make a comment after meditating, but the more you engage, the more you’ll get out of it. Having a Buddy who is going through the Challenge with you is one of the best ways to get support. There is a percentage of the population that really needs group support to follow through on things, if this is you, definitely sign up for a buddy, participate in the community, tell your friend, your mom, or your great-uncle to check in and see how you’re doing. Get the support you need to make this a priority.

6. Let Go of Expectations.

A lot of people get discouraged when they first meditate, and think they’re doing it “wrong.” If you’re having a hard time sitting still remember, this is NORMAL. Cut yourself some slack. Let go of all expectations and you’ll find this much more enjoyable.If you have a hard time staying focused on your breath, or you miss a day (or two, or five) of meditating, it’s ok. See if you can observe rather than judge yourself. There is no “right” way to meditate.

The key is to always come back to your breath and to the point of view of the Observer. Imagine you’re sitting in a theatre watching the movie of your life unfold. Let’s say your name is Sarah. You’re having a hard time concentrating. Instead of believing your mind chatter saying; “oh, I stink at this! I’m not a good meditator, I’m such a spaz!” go up a level to the balcony seats of the theatre in your own mind, and become the Observer. Look down at Sarah, trying to meditate, feeling frustrated and observe her with curiosity; “Wow, isn’t that fascinating, look at Sarah beating herself up, believing she’s not a good meditator, how interesting, she’s creating a lot of drama about this whole meditation thing.” Imagine you’re watching yourself. As soon as you pop up to the observer level, you create space between you and your thoughts and beliefs. This is the practice. Be the Observer, get curious instead of judging, and you’ll find this much easier and more enjoyable!

7. Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to yourself.  Did I mention…Be kind to yourself?

This bears repeating because it isn’t easy or natural for most of us. My new favorite self-compassion tool is this: Whenever you start beating yourself up about how you suck at meditating, try telling yourself; “I’m just a little bunny, working through my issues, trying something new.” Forgive yourself and move on.Research shows being kind to yourself actually BOOSTS your willpower! So don’t beat yourself up if you’re not meditating “right”. Any effort is worth a HUGE pat on the back! The fact that you even showed up gives you a gold star. :). Be kind to yourself, give yourself a gold star for even attempting this, and when you notice you’re being unkind to yourself, say; “I’m just a little bunny, working through my issues,” and move on.

Bonus Tip: Connect with your deeper WHY.

To really turbo-charge your practice, see if you can connect to deeper emotions and find your deeper why. Why are you doing this? What do you hope to get out of it?

If you’re forcing yourself to meditate because you “should,” it’s gonna be a slog.

There’s tons of research on the benefits of meditation, but why, specifically are you doing it? If you can find a deeper why (for example, “I want to be more present with my young kids rather than having my mind wander to all the errands I have to run.” Or “I want to be more focused at work instead of feeling constantly pulled in a million different directions”), and see yourself achieving this new desired state, you’re more likely to follow through. This will help motivate you.

When you connect with a deeper motivation, it’s easy peasy to stay on track.

Go big with your questions, ask yourself; “hmm, what will my Soul get out of this?” Remember the intention from Step 1? What is your deeper desired result? What’s your xxx in this sentence?;

I Commit to five minutes of mindfulness for 30 days to create more xxx in my life.
(fill in your own desired result for xxx)

Stay true to xxx, and you can’t go wrong!

Happy Meditating!!! Let me know in the comments below if you found these tips helpful, or any other questions you have about starting a daily mindfulness practice.

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