I wrote recently about the challenge of turning plans into routines. One of the activities that is the most impactful for me is meditation. I cannot say that I have a perfect meditation routine, but I can absolutely say that when I do do it, it makes me feel great, immediately.
There are a bunch of good tools out there to help build a meditation routine. I have found that guided meditations are the easiest to start with, since they give you a framework and something to react to, but can also be hit-or-miss in terms of fit.
The very first guided meditation that really worked for me was this 6-minute body scan, by my friend Paul Fulton. If you have never meditated and are looking for an easy way to feel it out, this is a great one to start with.
I have also used a bunch of apps to help build the habit. Insight Timer has both a library of guided meditations as well as a very nice tool for building your own meditation timer (complete with punctuating wood blocks, bells, etc). My current go-to is Simple Habit, which has very nicely curated sets of meditations. All the apps in this space try to help you out by visualizing your “streak”, which if I’m honest only kind of works for me.
In terms of building my own routine, what I struggle with the most is finding the right time. If I can manage to do it first thing in the morning, that’s what works the best, in terms of teeing up a good mindset on the day. But I have also found that tucking it in in spare moments (especially with guided meditations under 10 minutes long) also works — for me, often times on trains and planes.
Meditation, like aerobic exercise, is magical in that it is both mental and physical. I walk away feeling calmer, clearer, more focused, and more energized. It is incredible, really. So I am a bit surprised and a bit bummed that I have not yet managed to make it a bedrock of my every day. Working on it.