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10 Tips For People Who Want To Try Meditation

10 Tips For People Who Want To Try Meditation

The ultimate tip in meditation is simply allowing yourself to be. I wanted to ensure I started this article on the right note, without placing too much emphasis and rigid rules on something that’s meant to help you center yourself.

For some, meditation is repeating a powerful and meaningful mantra, in order to increase their own vibrations. For others, it is opening or realigning of their chakras to feel rooted and connected. For many however, meditation means sitting or lying still, saying OM and eventually reaching enlightenment. Meditation can be all of those things and it can also be none of those things. I will list some simple ways to help you begin meditation, without pressure or expectation, if that’s what you need but also how to recognize meditation in its many forms.

1. Turn off your phone and limit distractions

I need to start here in order to point out that meditation is a selfish endeavor to help you become more selfless. In order to begin a deep meditation, you must focus on the very things you do regularly. One simple trick is to breathe in counting to four, hold your breath for another count of four and release on the final count of four. Repeating this simple habit during meditation can calm your thoughts, keep you in the present moment and bring tremendous relaxation.

It’s hard to focus on your breath with the TV in the background or your phone buzzing with alerts and texts every few minutes. Give yourself the time to breathe. When you position it that way, you can find five minutes in your busy day to simply sit and breathe.

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2. Get comfortable

A lot of meditative poses and stances look incredible in pictures but feel very uncomfortable. Don’t worry about your hands or being in the lotus position. Simply find a spot you feel safe and at ease in and a position you’re comfortable holding for at least five minutes. This is a brief indulgent period of time you’re carving for yourself so whatever essentials (pillow, blanket, a fan…) will help should be considered beforehand.

3. Put on some music

Often when starting meditation, it’s the sudden silence that’s unsettling. The same silence contrasts the rambling thoughts dashing around your head. Find music you find soothing online or through a free app on your phone before beginning your meditation. That simple step will get you nice and relaxed, aiding once you begin to focus on your breath.

Another choice I personally find very helpful is guided meditation. Sometimes, you simply don’t know what to do and you spend all your focus wondering if you’re doing it right. Following a guided meditation allows you to simply listen to the voice of your guide and allowing yourself to fall into a meditative trance.

4. Allow your thoughts

A huge myth of meditation is that you have to stop thinking. By simply following the first step listed and focusing on your breath, on the silent gratitude you feel for being able to inhale and exhale, your thoughts will inevitably slow down. You don’t have to banish them or exert too much energy on trying to control them.

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Let them flow at first, focusing on everything, including the colors you see when your eyes are closed and slowly let them go. Don’t shoo them away rudely like unwanted guests, just let them go as if they’re memories that will return to you again. Let go of judgments about everything, especially about whether you are doing this the right or wrong way. If you can’t succeed with slowing your thought process at first, just focus on the positive and keep breathing.

5. Allow your emotions

Being connected to yourself often means allowing everything to flow through you with acceptance. Meditation will teach you to respect your many emotions and try to understand them rather then quickly trying to rationalize or avoid them. When you feel fear, it’s no longer your mind judging you for being weak. Meditation will turn that into an inquiry, to search for the root of that fear. Treating your emotions as valid will lead to greater self-love and patience as you work through small and big issues alike and prevent them from reoccurring so frequently.

6. Practice meditation

Meditation is no different from any other exercises or aspiration in your life. The more you meditate, the easier it will be to make this a habit. Start small if needed, with five minutes a day and once you begin to enjoy the calm that this practice bring, repeat it for another five minutes at night before bedtime. Aim to meditate at least three times per week.

7. Be Patient

Even the wisest man starts with one wise thought. Every time you fail at meditation, remind yourself that there is no failure because you paused, you breathed, you relaxed. Some days you will be more distracted than on others, some days might feel more fluid once you begin your practice. Pat yourself to sticking with it long enough to experience both type of days. Be patient with your practice and be kind to yourself.

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8. Keep yourself accountable

Keep a calendar or a meditation journal handy to jot down the days you’ve successfully completed your practice. This will help to keep you motivated. The journal is a great tool for noting any of the pressing thoughts you either accepted or derailed during your meditation. As you practice more often, you might even be able to make strong realizations that can help or guide you personally.

9. Forgive

It’s a lot easier to sit or lay in a relaxed manner and delve deep into yourself when you don’t have any grudges or heavy emotions tearing at you. As you make meditation a habit, it will be easier to let go of things that no longer serve you and to harness your energy, effort, will and heart into the present – where you belong.

10. Grateful meditation

If you’re too restless for standard meditation and simply can’t grasp sitting still, there’s something else you can do every day that’s just as simple and beneficial. Start with a minute, a pen and a piece of paper. Write down three things you are grateful for. Most people have to think a bit to jot three things down.

That moment of reflection and appreciation on the little things in life is meditation. The hint of smile, internal or external, as you realize the things you’re grateful for today is meditation. Once you finish jotting them down, drop your pen and hold on to that feeling for another minute and say Thank you. To the universe. To yourself. To the present.

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Namaste.

Featured photo credit: Sleeping Buddha by Matt Westgate via flickr.com

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Jolie Adam

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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