An erratic schedule, unclear progress, doubt – there are a lot of reasons why we can lose our motivation to meditate. Even when we’re aware of the paybacks of meditation, such as lower anxiety, a focused mind and improved sleep, it can still be hard to stay on track with our practice. Luckily, there are tricks that even experienced meditators use to stay motivated.
Here are six to consider.
- Do it for yourself. If you’re meditating because you think you should do it, or because you’ve been told it’s a good thing to do, it can be hard to stay engaged. Motivation studies by researchers like Edward Deci, a psychology professor at the University of Rochester, indicate that succeeding with healthy habits is most likely when you’re doing something you like because it will make you feel good. Focusing on how calm and happy you feel after meditation, for instance, helps transform it from a have-to-do into a want-to-do.
- Keep it fresh. There’s a lot to be said for creating rituals, such as meditating at the beginning and end of each day. But if you find yourself getting bored, try meditating at a different time or at the park instead of your usual spot at home.
- Inspire yourself. Staying on top of the latest meditation research news; and reading tips from people who meditate regularly will encourage you to spend more time with your own practice.
- Remember your goal. Did you start meditating because you wanted more calmness in your mind, more control over stress, or to help lower anxiety? When you find your commitment and frequency slipping, recall those targets. Writing your goals down and sharing them with others has also been shown to boost motivation and success.
- Stop comparing. There will always be more experienced meditators in the world, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t meditating properly. Start at your own pace and build up your own individual practice, resisting the temptation to doubt yourself. A tool like the brain-sensing Muse headband lets you see and celebrate your progress, taking the guesswork out of meditation by giving you real-time feedback on your brain activity while you meditate.
- Challenge yourself. If you find your motivation dwindling, you may need to try something new. The Muse app offers continually updated challenges, awards and tips—shared in your private and secure account—to take your meditation to the next level. Muse practice reminders help you stay on track, too.