How to Psychologically Trick Yourself Into Regularly Meditating By Using The “Linking Method” – Tiny Habit Friday
One of the habits I’ve struggled the most with is becoming a regular meditator.
It’s a bit weird too, because I’ve been meditating for 10+ years, but like any other person, I’ve struggled with REALLY doing it every single day.
And I treat it like eating healthy food – do it once a week, and you’ll improve, but you won’t look or feel dramatically different.
Do it 5/7 days of the week, and you’re an entirely different person.
So I knew the same would be true of meditation, but how could I actually anchor it in as a habit, and do it every day?
In today’s Tiny Habit Friday I’ll show you the power of “linking.”
How to Anchor In the Habit of Meditating Throughout the day
The 30 Second Guide to How Habits Actually Work
First… here’s a quick primer on how habits work.
As it turns out, habits are created in a three step process:
The cue is whatever sets off the behavior and triggers it. For a smoker, they might be sitting at work around 3 pm when the boss comes over and drops a huge project in their lap. They start stressing out and need a break. They feel agitated and need to do something. That’s the cue.
So what does the smoker do? She gets up and goes for for a smoke break and takes a little walk / de-stress session outside. That’s the routine.
As a result, she feels relaxed and much more calm than before. That’s thereward.
Here’s another example many of you are probably familiar with: Compulsive texting / emailing.
The cue in this case is the phone sending us a notification. The routine is checking the notification. And the reward is feeling satisfied – like our ADD has been temporarily relieved :-).
Why I Feel Dirty If I Don’t Brush My Teeth (& Why You Should Too) – The Power of Linking
To anchor in the habit of meditation, there’s a strategy that I call “linking.”
Linking is super simple.
You take two activities, and you link them together.
For example, waking up and brushing your teeth (or taking a shower) is an example of two activities that are often linked.
You kinda feel dirty starting the day without them, right?
And eventually, it feels unnatural to get out of bed and NOT brush your teeth or take a shower.
So the point is that you’re much more likely to actually link these two things together when they make sense. And over time, you just “naturally” get up, take a shower, and brush your teeth. It’s just “what you do.”
That’s exactly what we’re looking to create here by linking the habit of meditation to something else in your schedule.
The Meditation Habit Cycle
So here’s how it goes:
We’re going to link meditating for 1 minute to doing 10 jumping jacks.
I came upon this realization after I created the habit of doing one minute of yoga after getting out of bed, since I wanted to improve my flexibility and fix my back after sleeping.
I realized that if I did one minute of yoga, it was really easy to link another habit to that activity, which in this case meant meditating for another minute.
When you first wake up in the morning, you’re going to do 10 jumping jacks. Just 10. That’ll take you about three seconds – so there’s no excuse for not doing them here.
And once you do the 10 jumping jacks, you’re going to sit down and meditate for 1 minute.
Yes, 60 seconds.
It sounds pointless, right? What positive effect could 60 seconds have on your life?
We’ll talk more about this in a sec, but it’s not about the duration – it’s about the formation of the habit.
So you do your jumping jacks, then you sit down to meditate.
And then you keep doing it. Just two minutes a day, one minute on each activity.
Over time, with repeated application, this is going to feel as natural to you as waking up, and brushing your teeth/showering to get rid of the tequila breath and smoke from the night before.
This simple linking technique (with a very short duration habit) also makes it impossible to use the excuse of “being in a rush and not having time.” If you don’t have two minutes, you’re probably fooling yourself.
Your Tiny Habit For Today: #Tinyhabitfriday
So today’s tiny habit is simple: get yourself to regularly meditate by linking two TINY habits together.
Do 10 jumping jacks (to wake yourself up and get momentum).
Then immediately meditate for one minute.
Eventually, your morning will feel weird without them. There are many ways you could potentially do this (like leaving a meditation cushion near the foot of your bed), but this has consistently worked for myself and many others, so try it out and report back with how it worked for you !
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