February is nearly complete, and I have not checked in yet about my 2019 Lifestyle Resolution: To start a meditation practice. The plan was to start small with 5 minutes a day and slowly increase the time to about 30 minutes, keeping in mind that I would need to adapt to changes in my schedule as they popped up.
The reality of the situation is I haven’t made this a priority. The only time I succeeded in meeting my goal was during the 10-Day Detox in January when mediation was required each evening. Only ten days with a few others thrown in here and there! The shame I have felt is pretty intense, but I’m working through that and admitting my struggles here is my first step toward moving past it.
UNDERSTANDING WHAT WASN’T WORKING
I’ve been reading books by Gretchen Rubin (The Four Tendencies and Better Than Before), and they have helped me to realize some of the reasons why I have had such a hard time with this. As a newly discovered Upholder, I have not been utilizing my tendency to my advantage, and I’ve also been working with an already depleted pool of willpower. This means, without prioritization and a new approach, I’m not likely to move forward toward making this an actual habit.
Upholders, like myself, respond well to both internal and external expectations. This means I do better when what I need to do is clearly defined, either by myself or by an external source. What this helped me realize is I needed to stop and re-evaluate why I wanted to create a regular meditation practice. What was the ultimate goal?
For me, a meditation practice is a tool for stress management. As a recovering perfectionist and someone with anxiety, I believe heartily that stress management is critical to maintaining good long-term wellness. Daily meditation could affect my life in so many ways, from helping me to sleep better, to handling change or difficult times more effectively. For these reasons, I think I have finally convinced myself to make this a priority in my life.
With the why figured out, I needed to think more about the how. What about the approach I’ve been using is not working? Thinking back to the times when I’ve done well at meditating or yoga, it became clear that I always had an external guide in the form of videos, an instructor at a local studio, or part of a short-term course (like the 10-Day Detox). So far this year, I have been attempting to “wing it” with no clear definition of what “it” is. Clearly, this is the central reason for why it has not been working.
MAKING ADJUSTMENTS AND MOVING FORWARD
With a better understanding of what my goals are and how best to achieve them, I feel that I am in a better place to develop a plan for moving forward. For the next few weeks, these are the adjustments I will be making to my 2019 Lifestyle Resolution:
- Add in 10-20 minutes of yoga before meditation to quiet the mind and body. Added bonus: less joint pain and better energy flow through the body!
- Find videos for yoga sequences and guided meditations. I will start with YouTube to create weekly playlists to keep from getting too repetitive.
- Plan one week at a time. This will allow for adjustments to the time of day, length of videos, types of sequences, etc.
The third step above is an important one and deserves a bit more of an explanation. I’ve learned that I have a harder time keeping my goals if I plan for long periods to meet them. By allowing for one week at a time, I know that I just have to get through the week to be done. I’ll be able to check that box off the To Do List and can move on to the next item, even if it is the same item. I’m not sure exactly why this is how I work. Maybe it’s the Upholder desire to make and complete to-do lists.
The added bonus of planning one week at a time is it allows for more time to celebrate the successes (which I need to do more often) and to make those adjustments that are necessary for success. The changes may be learning what time of day works best for me, how much time I need to devote to a daily stress management routine, or determining which activities work best (maybe I need to add in journaling). The important part, regardless of what I do, is if I want to make this a habit is to show up every day.
Did you make a resolution to make a change in your life for 2019? How is it going?
If you need help figuring out why you’ve had a hard time keeping to your goals or you just want more accountability to keep you on track, you should join the Lifestyle Resolution group on my Facebook page. We can share what works for each of us to help keep each other moving forward in a positive direction.