Another month has passed.
And it feels like you’re going nowhere.
Your dreams of accomplishing your new year’s resolution are long gone. And it feels like you’re trapped in Groundhog Day...reliving the same day over and over again.
But what’s really eating at you. What’s really festering under your skin is much more frustrating—you feel like you’re failing at just about everything.
You’ve failed to start exercising. You’ve failed to get a promotion at work. You’ve failed to maintain a lasting relationship.
How did you get here?
When you start a new goal or project, you’re so enthused...but then months later, you end up exactly where you started.
Well, have you tried meditating?
Okay, I won’t kid you. Meditation isn’t the end all be all of improving every aspect of your life. I’ve been meditating for 13+ years, and hell, I’m not perfect.
With that said, meditation has helped me accomplish a lot.
It’s helped me become a full-time writer, conquer anxiety and panic attacks, negotiate a 16% increase in my salary and develop a healthy, happy relationship with my girlfriend of 4 years.
So how does meditation do this? Well first, let’s look at some major roadblocks that quash any goal you attempt to conquer.
The 2 big reasons many of us stumble
What I’m about to say should come as more of a cold water splash-in-the-face reminder than anything else. A reminder to stop making excuses.
Media and technology are a major source of our distraction.
These two things are a huge reason many people don’t accomplish much. With the internet, social media, smartphones, TV and other technological distractions, it’s incredibly easy to not get anything done.
As soon as you sit down and attempt to complete a task, you’re quickly distracted by a phone call, checking your Facebook account or taking a text message from a friend.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret.
This isn’t the real problem. The biggest reason you aren’t achieving your goals is because of you.
And I’m not saying it to be mean, but I don’t want to lie to you. And I’m guessing you don’t want people to lie to you either.
Media and technology can only distract you if you allow them to. If you turn off your phone, block your social media accounts and avoid technological distractions, you can find the space and quiet to accomplish just about anything.
But you need to make that decision yourself.
And it’s all on your shoulders.
But, wait…“How does any of this have to do with meditation?” you ask
Well, forming a meditation practice helps you develop a number of skills that come in handy as you strive to conquer your goals. So let’s take a look at each of these individually.
Extinguish distraction with a keen focus
Perhaps the most obvious skill meditation strengthens, improving your focus is one of the biggest benefits you gain from a regular practice.
When you meditate, you’re training yourself to be less distracted. As random thoughts pop up in your head, you suddenly become aware of them and refocus on your breath, mantra, stillness or whatever you choose as the focal point of your meditation.
As you develop this skill, it will eventually help you stay focused in your life outside of meditation.
Out of self-awareness, blossoms behavioral change
Self-awareness is simply being aware of your thoughts and actions, which is important because sometimes we do things we’re not even conscious of.
For example, three years ago I was self-sabotaging my relationship with my girlfriend by constantly blaming and berating her. I wasn’t even aware I was doing it, but meditation helped me see it clearly. Thankfully, I was able to change my behavior and salvage the relationship.
Self-awareness developed through meditation can do the same for you.
If you have a habit of checking your phone every 15 minutes, meditation can give you a heightened awareness of it. You’ll suddenly catch yourself wanting to reach for your phone, at which point you have a choice—you can reach for it or ignore the impulse.
As you constantly refocus on your breath or other meditation focal point, you’re training yourself for this exact type of behavioral change in everyday life.
Self-discipline suffocates excuses
To start a regular meditation practice (I recommend a minimum of 5 days a week), it takes a lot of discipline. First you need to figure out how you’ll squeeze it into your schedule. Then you need to find a way to consistently practice 5 days a week.
Surely, plenty of excuses will creep in, trying to prevent you from starting. But by prioritizing your meditation habit, you’ll learn to say “no” to them, putting your new routine first. And once it’s cemented its place in your schedule and psyche, the self-discipline gained will give you confidence and motivation to accomplish even bigger goals.
Stop talking. Stop dreaming. And take action.
It’s easy to think about everything you want to accomplish and the person you want to become. It’s easy to talk about your dreams and life goals. But most people never go further than talk.
When you start a meditation practice, you are taking action. You aren’t just thinking anymore. You’re creating a habit. A routine. Change.
And just like with self-discipline, you can use this “small win” of taking action to build motivation and confidence—and then take action with even bigger goals.
You can accomplish anything
Yes, you heard me correctly—anything.
Meditation is a stepping stone that can help you realize bigger and better dreams. It’s played a tremendous role in my life, and I’m sure it can do the same for you.
But regardless of whether or not you try meditating, I know deep down inside you, you have the ability to accomplish your goals.
It starts with taking responsibility for your actions, and developing your focus and discipline.
I know...it can be overwhelming when you want to accomplish so much and you’re just getting started.
That first step on your journey of 10,000 miles is often the hardest.
But you can do it.
Take baby steps. Take breaks along the way and catch your breath. And you will reach your goals. One step at a time.