In the personal and professional development space, meditation is ubiquitous. I read about it all the time and find that so many financially successful and high-performing professionals incorporate meditation into their lives in some way or another.
I wanted to experience the benefits — to train my mind and and reap the rewards raved about by those who regularly meditate. So I started to meditate, too.
But it wasn’t long after I started that I promptly stopped.
I’ve been feeling disappointed that I gave up on meditation so quickly, so I’ve pinned down the three major reasons why I fell off the meditation train in an effort to get myself back on it.
Meditation is hard.
I’m a busy guy, and I’ve always been that way because I thrive when I have multiple projects going on at the same time. My productivity soars that way, but because of it my brain is constantly on high alert.
I’m always thinking about my to-do list, the next deadline I have to meet, my next podcast episode idea, tomorrow’s networking opportunity…the list goes on and on. Meditation is all about reflecting inwardly, and that’s tough to do when it’s hard to stop thinking about everything going on around me.
When I found that it was extremely hard to silence the thoughts in my mind, it was easy for me to quickly give up meditation.
But that’s a counter argument for why I know I should stick it out in the future: sticking it out is the harder move. I know the most valuable things in life are never the things that come easily, and I also know that meditation takes practice.
It won’t ever get easier unless I continue to try.
It’s difficult to find time to meditate.
When I attempted to regularly meditate, I found it extremely hard to find the perfect time to do so.
My typical day usually goes something like this: I wake up at 6:30am, get ready for the day, work a full day at the office, then work on my own businesses and projects when I get home. That doesn’t leave much time for anything else, let alone meditating amidst all the craziness.
I did try to incorporate meditation into my nightly routine for a while, hoping it would help me relax before falling asleep. But I found that my days wore me out so much that I would drift into sleep the moment my head hit the pillow!
However, the counter argument for myself not finding the time is for me to make time. When you really want to watch that new episode of your favorite show, you make the time to do so even if you’re exhausted, right?
A tip I’ve given myself is to look for the times in the day when I can scrape a few minutes together. For example, I spend almost two hours every day commuting to work on the train or subway. Now, I know that’s not exactly a quiet environment in which to meditate, but it doesn’t hurt to close my eyes for a few minutes, gather my thoughts, and then try to let my mind go blank.
Adopting the mindset that I need to make time instead of find the “perfect” time is a way for my meditation goals to become actionable and for me to actually make progress.
I didn’t see any results.
When I started to meditate, I expected to see changes in myself from doing it — to see some measurable results. And when I didn’t, I quit.
When I work out consistently, I tend to see some results after a few weeks. When I change my diet and stick to healthy, whole foods, I feel better pretty soon after. The results I see are what give me the momentum to keep going.
But when I meditate, I don’t see this same kind of change, and I quickly lose that momentum. But my counter argument is that meditation creates changes over time.
You may not notice the change right away when you start meditating. In fact, you probably won’t. But over time, your mind will change in less noticeable ways. You might feel less stressed after a long day of work. You might feel more positive overall.
But these are small changes that are really hard to see on a daily basis. If you stick with it, meditation has the power to create tiny leaps of progress for your body and mind that equate to big changes over time.
The truth is that way more of us should be utilizing meditation as an incredible strategy for gaining better control over our minds and emotions, improve our focus, and generally escape from our external experiences for a brief time every day.
Meditation has so many benefits, from helping to deal with stress to boosting focus, awareness, and even memory. In fact, dedicating time to meditate is a great way to invest in yourself. So set a goal for 2018 to try meditating and see if it works for you. I plan to do the same!
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