Building a meditation habit

Building any habit takes time, patience and persistence. Most importantly, it takes a commitment to stick to this new habit over a period of time, past the novelty stage and through the boredom phase that follows.

Quietness employs several tools to help you build a healthy meditation routine, from the Habit Tracker in your “Profile” page to the different variations in guidance prompts on meditation sessions, and we are constantly researching new methods and strategies to encourage habit formation.

However, there are many more tools that you can use to build a habit. This article will explore a few, considering how they can be used in conjunction with the Quietness app.

Build a plan

Setting objectives and tracking them is one of the most efficient ways to ensure your motivation persists past the “honey moon” phase of your new practice.

As we mentioned in the Getting Started article, our recommendation is to start with a quick daily session, maybe before bed or just after waking up depending on what works best for you, and build up from there.

A sample plan would therefore look like this:

Week OneShort meditation session (around 5 minutes) at 11pm
5 times a week
Week TwoShort meditation session (around 5 minutes) at 11pm
5 times a week
Week ThreeMedium meditation session (around 8 minutes) at 11pm
5 times a week

Note how the plan increases the duration of the meditation session only after two weeks. This is intentional, as it sets an easier goal and then builds up from there.

Also, notice the flexibility in the schedule, allowing for a break on a couple of days to keep the practice less tedious. This break is in fact a double edged sword. If you are prone to procrastination, you might want to fix the days beforehand to avoid missing your target (e.g. instead of saying “5 times a week”, you might want to specify the actual days, such as “Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday”).

Stick to the plan

At the end of each week, you can check the habit tracker and recent sessions under the “Profile” page in the Quietness App to see how well you have done. Then you can move this information to a journal to analyse your performance over time and adjust where necessary.

If you find that you are constantly missing your target, it might be that you have set an objective which is currently too difficult for you to reach. You might want to consider changing the times around or reducing either frequency or duration of the meditation sessions. Maybe you can also alternate between meditation sessions and breathing exercises during the week, as the latter are a useful de-stressing tool when time is tight.

On the other hand, if you discover that you only missed your sessions occasionally, it is OK. Life gets in the way sometimes and you should not be too hard on yourself when that happens. Just resume your regular schedule as soon as you can and start tracking your goals again from there.

Revise the plan

It is a good idea to revise your meditation plan every few weeks (e.g. three or four) to ensure it still makes sense for you. Some questions to ask yourself at this stage could be:

  • What benefits have I encountered during my practice?
  • What is the goal I am trying to achieve?
  • How can I improve my plan?

This is when you might use the “mood” rating you gave at the end of each session, as it might highlight a problem on certain days or times (or with a specific program).

As time goes by and you build your meditation habit, you might choose to do a plan revision less and less often while you settle into your meditation lifestyle and reap its benefits.

Further Reading

Here are a couple of useful articles from around the web on habit building. We hope you find a technique that works for you and that you build a successful meditation practice.

If you have any suggestion on how we can improve Quietness to help you achieve your meditation goals, please do not hesitate to let us know.