“Whatever forms of meditation you practice, the most important point is to apply mindfulness continuously, and make a sustained effort. It is unrealistic to expect results from meditation within a short period of time. What is required is continuous sustained effort.” – Dalai Lama

People naturally often ask the Dalai Lama about meditation, and the best way to meditate, and the above is one of his best known answers on the subject. And it raises a problem that lots of people have. They understand the many benefits of meditation. They mean to practice it. They even get started. But then they struggle to stick with it, and the idea is forgotten.

So what can you do to help you stick to a meditation regime and reap all of its many benefits? Here is some easy to follow tips to help you make mindful meditation a permeant part of your life.

1. Keep it Short and Sweet.

It’s a widespread myth that you need to meditate for a long period of time, like 20 or 30 minutes. The truth is that just 5 minutes of meditation is all you need to start establishing meditation as a regular practice.

The truth is that if we want to start a new habit or make a positive change, we need to give ourselves every advantage we can. A variety of factors will work against us making that activity or behavior a regular part of our life, and we’ll make up any excuse we can think of to avoid it, so make the activity as simple, easy, and convenient as possible.

If you meditate for 5 minutes every day for the first several weeks of your practice, you’ll have laid a solid foundation on which to build. From then, you can gradually extend the length of your sessions to 10, 15, 20, and even longer (whatever you choose).

2. Set a Meditation Time

This is a straightforward and, for the most part, straightforward concept (though keeping to it can be difficult), but it’s something that most people overlook when attempting to make meditation a regular practice.

Almost all of your life’s most essential activities are scheduled. Consider this: meals, work, time with family, essential meetings and errands, time out with friends, kids’ activities, and pretty much everything else is scheduled.

You must make something a part of your routine in order to make it a long-term part of your life.

3. Practice Mindfulness in Everyday Life

It’s easy to believe that you can only meditate when sitting in a certain position, eyes closed, on a cushion, at first. However, you can practice mindfulness anywhere, at any time, and while doing anything.

You can practice mindfulness:

– While cleaning – In the restroom (yes) – At your office desk – During breakfast, lunch, and dinner – While taking out the garbage – While walking to your car – While grocery shopping

It’s also worth noting that practicing mindfulness does not necessitate a certain setting or location. These things can help, but they aren’t required.

To begin with, deliberately doing anything does not require doing it more slowly. This may be helpful or perhaps necessary in the beginning to learn the discipline, but once you’ve mastered it, you can walk at your normal pace while remaining mindful.

Second, mindfulness can be practiced in a crowded environment. The sole stipulation is that the voices must be inaudible. That is to say, if you can plainly hear a conversation nearby, you are more likely to lose focus. Even if you can’t understand what’s being said, the chaotic sound produces a continuous background against which it’s simple to concentrate.

4. Consistently Meditate for (at least) 11 days.

We all know (or at least believe) that doing something regularly over a lengthy period of time increases the likelihood of it becoming a habit or “automatic” action. However, it hasn’t always been evident how this influences meditation practice.

Coach.me, a goal-tracking app, analyzed data from customers who took a meditation course and discovered that meditators who practiced for just 11 days were over 90% more likely to continue practicing after the 12th day.

So, if you can make a streak of at least 11 days, you’ll be well on your way to making meditation a regular part of your life.

5. Give it Your All

The truth is that if you want to maintain a consistent meditation practice, you must be flexible.

Things will come up on sometimes that will prevent you from meditating during your regularly scheduled session, or from meditating for as long as you normally do.

When this happens, simply adapt and go on. If you’re short on time (not just fooling yourself that you’re short on time), meditate for 5-10 minutes instead of your normal 20 minutes.

Whatever you do, the most important thing is to meditate, even if it’s only for a few minutes. That’s an important aspect of developing a regular meditation practice.

6. Get to Know Your Critical Mind.

When we start meditating, something interesting happens: we come face to face with our minds. However, it is not a happy occasion for the majority of us (at least at first). That’s because what most of us find is complete pandemonium.

And as a result of coming face to face with our mind’s disarray, we discover that we’re naturally harsh on ourselves.

We think “I’m not cut out for meditation,” “I can’t meditate,” and “I’m not doing it right” because we can’t constantly focus on the breath since our mind is a crazy, unrelenting monster. However, when we’re alone and meditating , we don’t realize:

This is something that everyone goes through, and you’re not opposed to meditation.
This is quite normal. The practice is all about being with the mind as it is, without judgment (whether it’s chaos or serenity), and it’s how the practice should be.

Mindfulness meditation is about being with the mind in whatever situation it is in, not only being at peace. You may experience relative tranquility one day and complete chaos the next.

However, your attitude to both meditation periods should be the same: be alert and nonjudgmental when dealing with the mind, fully embracing whatever thoughts, feelings, and sensations come.

This is how you learn to appreciate your critical thinking over time.

7. Keep in Mind Why You Practice.

When it comes down to it, motivation is primarily a measure of our awareness of our motives for performing a specific activity (and the emotional intensity of those reasons).

Make no mistake: maintaining a daily meditation practice requires motivation. You’ll be significantly more motivated to sit in meditation if you can clearly define what drew you to meditation and what meditation practice has done (or is doing) for you.

Make a list of your reasons for meditating and make sure they are emotionally convincing. After that, keep these reasons in mind to start making the mental connection between your practice and these compelling reasons.

This is unquestionably one of the most effective ways to maintain a more constant meditation practice.

8. Make it a Lifestyle

Meditation isn’t something you take up and use to treat a condition, after which you’re free of that condition and no longer need to meditate.

Meditation can help us nurture vital traits like serenity, balance, and a sense of space, as well as work through a variety of major obstacles, giving the practice a sense of advancement. The journey, however, never truly ends because you must continue to meditate in order to keep those qualities and benefits.

To make meditation a continuous daily practice and preserve these benefits, you must abandon the concept of a “end point” and simply resolve to make meditation a long-term part of your life.

By the way, this is a great way to get rid of expectations. This is because, by adopting a long-term mentality, you can stop worrying about “when am I going to get to X point?” and instead focus on enjoying your practice.

Make meditation and enjoy this lovely practice. It has multiple substantial and potentially life-changing advantages, so make it a part of your life and simply sit and enjoy it.