The simple secret to meditating (or doing anything) every day

Takeaway: To meditate (or do anything) every day, shrink the length of a session until you no longer feel a mental resistance to it, and then meditate (or do that thing) for that long.

Estimated Reading Time: 1 minute, 8s.

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Several months back, my buddy Jon shared on reddit the simple secret he uses to meditate every single day:

“I just shrink the length of the session in my head until I hit a level I don’t feel resistance to. Like, “Could I do 15 minutes? No, I feel resistance, I’m not gonna do it. Okay, what about 10? Still too long, the thought puts me off. Okay, 5? Huh, I don’t feel resistance to that. I feel like I can sit for 5.” Boom.”

Then, if you feel like meditating for longer, you meditate for longer.

This idea is so simple, and I think it’s also the perfect way to take it easy on yourself as you integrate new habits into your life. Whether you want to meditate, work out, write, or study every day, forming new daily habits it hard. I think the more honest you are with yourself as you adopt new habits, the more likely they are to stick, and the less likely you are to procrastinate with them. Sure, there are huge benefits to breaking out of your comfort zone, but I think that by being aware of how much mental resistance you have to a new habit, and by respecting those limits, you’ll get a lot more accomplished at the end of the day.

Photo credit: Jenny Downing

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  • Jackie

    I teach Qigong and Tai Chi which are wonderful and offer huge benefits to health and well-being – but only if you do them every day or at least 5 days a week.

    I encourage my students by suggesting they ask themselves, “Can I do 2 minutes – okay yes, I can do that and then more if I feel like it.”

    I also suggest they ‘tag’ the activity to something already routine in their lives.
    One thing I do is 2 minutes of any pattern I don’t need my hands for – because one hand is busy brushing my teeth – with my 2 minute timer electric tooth brush.

    When I tell my students that in class, it always gets a laugh.

    • Linda Secretan

      You wouldn’t be surprised, then, if I told you how much my balance has improved in the year I’ve been practicing 2″ every morning and night!

      • http://learningaboutchi.blogspot.ca/ Jackie Davies

        That’s about 17 hours practice in a year if you do it 5 days a week and 24 hours if you do it daily.
        I really does add up and make an impact.

  • Ntathu Allen

    What a wonderful idea…takes all the pressure of starting anything, I shall apply that next time I have to do my finances. Thanks

    • http://ayearofproductivity.com/ Chris Bailey

      You bet! Perfect technique for tax season too ;-)

  • Tiffany Rose

    But what if the amount of time I feel least resistant to doing something isn’t enough time to make that something worth while?! For example, going for a run for 5 mins won’t do me much good!

    • http://ayearofproductivity.com/ Chris Bailey

      I disagree, I think it would! Even if you just run for five minutes, that’s still infinitely better than not running at all, and even though that wouldn’t bring you many fitness benefits, it would bring you huge benefits in habit formation. Plus, at least with my meditation practice, I’ve found that after the few minutes that I originally thought I’d want to meditate were up, more than half of the time I wanted to sit for twice as long, simply because I wasn’t trying to force the practice on myself :-)

      • Tiffany Rose

        Thanks Chris. I ran for 18 mins this morn and only set out for 5 :)

        • http://ayearofproductivity.com/ Chris Bailey

          Awesome! :-)

  • http://moneyminiblog.com Kalen @ MoneyMiniBlog

    This is so simple, but eye opening for me. It may not feel like you are accomplishing anything by only doing a few minutes everyday, but over a year, it will add up tremendously. Thanks for the tip, this is great!

    • http://ayearofproductivity.com/ Chris Bailey

      Not only does it add up, but the method also works wonders in helping you develop new habits :-)