March 10, 2016
Each month I like to pick a habit that I want to explore and implement into my daily routine. Some of these monthly habits have embedded into my daily practice, such as writing. This is a habit I have hit over 260 straight days with. However, there are other monthly goals, like my no sugar month, which ended on the exact 30th day.
The key is that I also keep a list of some interesting things that I want to try and explore. I know that some of them will be harder than others, and that might factor that into my decision during the month. The key is to finish them and make sure there are no slip-ups. I like to keep a penalty in place just in case a day goes by and I slip up.
For February, I wanted to try meditating. Every person I seem to follow, and every podcast I listen to appears to mention mediation. There was a famous line that I heard that stuck with me “if you can’t meditate for 10 minutes day, then you need to meditate for 20.” I have tried some apps in the past and have played around with the idea of meditating, but I have never committed to it for more than two days in a row. February was a big jump as I attempted to meditate for 29 days.
I download the Calm app, and I subscribed to their premium plan. They have a bunch of free content, but I wanted to make sure I had the option to use everything in their tool box. You never want to have a lot of road blocks when you are trying to get a habit off the ground. Meditation was a habit; I felt could be largely beneficial.
Every Monday I am going to report on my progress from the previous week. The first week I started off with a generic “How To” that Calm has in its app. You need 10 minutes of quiet time to finish a “session.” So, ten minutes a day for 29 days that sounds easy enough.
The first takeaway was I was trying to do this before bed, and I nearly fell asleep every time. I changed the time to right after work. That is where I noticed some results, and fast. The first time I tried it, I was super burned out and stressed. When I sat down with headphones on, I felt a lot of different afterwards. I felt much calmer and relaxed; I couldn’t even remember some of the shit that was pissing me off before meditating.
Oddly enough, Week 2 was much harder than Week 1. I started to get confidence in the fact that I was finally meditating. I felt like I was crushing it and it felt fantastic. Then I started falling asleep during sessions and, even worse, began missing sessions.
I got back into my groove, and I didn’t miss a session. I started shooting for two-minute sessions in the app and then building back up to the 10 minute that some of the programs do offer. Two minutes were much easier to sell to myself in my head, and I would normally not fall asleep if I did them at night or after work.
This is where I started to experiment with this practice even more. There was an incredible weather day outside this week and, for being the middle of winter, I had to take advantage. I did my meditation outside in the sun near a lake. It was weird to sit there with your eyes closed for 5 minutes. I thought people were staring at me, but nobody was at the park.
I liked meditating outside for some reasons. First, was once it was all done being outside in the elements was almost a relief. It was hard to explain, it just felt better being outside. Next, There was a true cleanse that happened. I felt refreshed.
Calm had a lot of different options and reminded me each night to make sure I had my moment of pause. I am going to keep Calm on my home screen and try to make time for it. I think I am going to keep experimenting with the time of day. I think the morning routine would be a perfect place for this. I want to give it a full week in the morning, as a follow-up, to this to see if that is better for me.
There was a quote that I can’t remember who said it and on what medium but it was something like “If you are too busy to meditate for 10 minutes a day you need 30 minutes.”
Written by John Siwicki who lives and works building interesting things. You should follow him on Twitter