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Month 1: Meditation

Last month I detailed my plans for 2022, to try out a new habit that would positively benefit me every month. With some books and knowledge about habit formation under my belt, I felt prepared for the upcoming task at hand. Although I didn’t exactly follow the order in which to form the habits, I did pick one and stick to it. For January 2022, that habit was meditation.

Past experience

This wasn’t my first time meditating. For the past 2 or so years I’ve been meditating on and off, both with guided meditations online and just by myself. I had enjoyed it before, but hadn’t seen the massive benefits that I had heard about, so I never got it to stick past a month. There are a few reasons, that I know now, on why I failed these previous times, which I’ll get more into later.

This month

I recently have been reading a lot on self-improvement, discipline, time-management, and most importantly, habit formation. Atomic Habits by James Clear and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (both great books you should read) detail how habits are formed, how powerful they are, and how to cultivate good ones and break bad ones. Using the knowledge I got from them, I set myself up for success this month with a few small, but vital changes to my previous routine.

Firstly, I would meditate at the same time, in the same place, every single day. This is one of the keys to forming good habits. Habits operate on a simple loop of cue, craving, reaction, and reward. To build good habits, simply establish a recurring or obvious cue, and make it satisfying. Although this is obviously not the only way, it certainly increases your chances and makes the whole experience a lot more rewarding.

This leads me into my next strategy; to make it rewarding. By sandwiching it between enjoyable habits (in my case, I would shower before and sleep after), I can both associate meditating with these relaxing habits, and use it as an incentive for myself. If I meditate now, I can sleep better soon.

Lastly, some days there is simply no time or energy to meditate. I also went over this in my previous post, but to keep the streak going I made myself never skip two days in a row, since that usually leads to skipping three, then four, and so on.

These three strategies combined made up my grand total of 31/31 days of January meditating! Definitely a success. The important thing, though, is whether I actually saw any benefits, which I did.

Of course, I saw all the benefits that I already wrote about above. Better mental clarity, better sleep, reduced stress and anxiety, etc. Although, I think one of the most valuable benefits of meditation was that I was able to appreciate everything so much more. Every day seemed to go by slower, the good moments felt better and lasted longer. If this is what one month gives me, I can’t wait to see what more can do.

Do I recommend it

If it isn’t clear from the rest of the article, yes! I definitely recommend meditation to everyone. The fact that it’s so accessible (the only thing required is your mind, and maybe a quiet place) makes it perfect for literally anyone to do. I’ve found sprinkling quick one or two minute meditations throughout the day can be massively beneficial as well. So yes, definitely try it out, maybe by yourself or a guided meditation online or with others. Just find what works for you and go for it.

References

Why Meditate? | Change your Brain’s Default Mode