How to Meditate: Staying Focused and Committed to Your Meditation Practice

Staying focused and committed to a meditation practice can be a challenge for beginning meditators. It's easy to get distracted by your other commitments, and begin neglecting your meditation practice. Next thing you know, you've completely stopped meditating.

There are a couple of ways to stay on track. One of them is to use a simple, yet extremely powerful, psychological principle to help you stay committed to your goals. It is called the commitment and consistency principle.

Here's how it works. Whenever we take a stand or make a commitment to something, we often go to great lengths to protect our view, or follow through on our commitment because we don't want to appear inconsistent in our actions.

Have you ever taken a stand on something, which you later realize is wrong, and continue defending your position, knowing very well that position was wrong? I have, because I didn't want to appear inconsistent. This is one reason why many strongly opinionated people have such difficulty admitting they're wrong.

Furthermore, our society places great value on being consistent. People who are consistent are viewed as being more credible. It is one of the tactics that helped George W. Bush defeat John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election. Bush portrayed Kerry as being inconsistent and indecisive, qualities we don't want in a president. Whether it was true or not, it was enough to discourage many people from voting for Kerry.

Setting Goals In Your Meditation Practice

So how can you use the commitment and consistency principle to help you stay committed to your meditation practice? Establish your goals for learning how to meditate. Here is what I recommend to all beginning meditators:

  1. Set a goal to learn how to meditate, and write it down. It doesn't have to be a long elaborate statement. In fact, short and concise may work better. Be specific, for example: "I will learn how to meditate in the next 30 days, by practicing at least half an hour every day."
  2. Post it somewhere you will see it every day. Your mirror and computer monitor are the best places. This will serve as a constant reminder of your commitment to yourself.
  3. Tell your friends and/or family members about your goal. This is the most important part. By telling others about your commitment, you make it difficult to go back on your word. The other benefit is that they will likely support you in your practice.

What will be even more effective is if you recruit a couple of people to learn how to meditate with you. Support from other meditators will go a long way in helping you stay motivated.

Starting a meditation practice is easy. Staying committed can be more of a challenge. The reason most people get discouraged is because they don't fully understand how to meditate properly, so they see little progress. They also haven't made a commitment to clearly established goals.

If you want to realize the benefits that meditation has to offer, find some form of instructional guide that teaches you how to meditate properly. Then establish goals for yourself, and share them with others. This way, you'll see noticeable progress and it will help you stay motivated and committed to your meditation practice.

Charles A. Francis is the founder and director of the Mindfulness Meditation Institute. For over 16 years, he has worked to help people find inner peace with mindfulness meditation through personal consultations, lectures, workshops, and spiritual retreats.

The Mindfulness Meditation Institute offers free tools and resources to help beginning and experienced meditators realize their goals of true happiness and inner peace, including their free ebook, Mastering Relationships With Mindfulness. Visit their website at:

http://www.MindfulnessMeditationInstitute.org/

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