30 Day Meditation Journey
Hey Everyone 😀 It’s so awesome that you are interested in starting meditation! The goal here is to create the habit of meditation as a daily practice in your everyday life. And build up to a consistent and COMFORTABLE 20 minute practice. You will be practicing several variations of classical mindfulness meditation with a focus on the breath. Before beginning these 30 days, be sure to read What is Meditation? and What is Mindfulness?
I have recorded many Guided Meditations to help you out and make this as easy as possible for you. Every meditation will begin with a body-check-in, move to breath awareness, and finish with some gratitude. We have four milestones to hit: 5 min, 10 min, 15 min, and 20 min.
We are going to build gradually, baby-step by baby-step, working our way towards our final goal of 20 minute meditations! Growing one minute a day until we hit our first milestone of 5 minutes. Take some time to get used to 5 and then step one minute a day again until we hit our second milestone of 10 minutes. And then gradually upping our time until we finish with a full week of 20 minute meditations 😀
The easier we make our task, the more likely we are to complete it <3
And the more we feel good about doing the task, the more likely we are to continue completing it! So, Celebrate!
What’s so special about 20 minutes?! There have been many studies over the past 20 years showing a significant effect to study goers when they consistently meditate 20 minutes everyday for 8-weeks. Just 20 minutes a day, for only an 8-week period. One study in particular, done by Harvard, had people meditate for 27 minutes daily for 8-weeks and found a measurable increase in volume for the regions of the brain associated with memory, learning, emotion control, self-awareness, and perspective. I’m so excited for you to begin!
You can feel good about completing that 1 minute meditation today! That is all you need to do today. Feel good about that 2 minute meditation tomorrow. That is awesome! And know that this is building to a stable 20 minute meditation practice. We can’t run a marathon until we run 100 yards first, and then 200, 300, 400, and finally 46,145 yards.
- We are going to start TODAY!
- First goal is 1 minute TODAY! (you got this )
- Build one minute a day until we reach 5 and 10 minutes
You are already here, so I don’t need to go over the endless list of benefits that can stem from meditation – Read more about it on the home page or throughout the blog. Now, let’s walk through some ways to help you stay committed for the entire 30 days 🙂
Set a RITUAL. Make a Vow & Commit 100%. Prompt. And Celebrate! These have all been proven through scientific studies to improve your odds of successfully cultivating a new habit.
Set a Ritual
It is easiest to build a new habit by setting a ritual. That means we are going to meditate at the same time everyday, in the same space everyday. The body is naturally habitual, it likes things to be the same. When you ritualize any new habit, it removes the ability to argue with yourself as well. No thoughts like “Meh...I’ll do it later.” - because this is the set time for it. Also, using the same spot everyday will help you settle into your meditation more easily as it will feel familiar. Find the right time and place that works for you.
Make a Vow & Commit 100%
A vow is an unbreakable promise to yourself that you are beginning this 30 day journey with complete sincerity. There are no excuses. There is nothing stopping you from meditating for the minimum amount of time everyday! It is so much easier to commit 100% to something than 99%. Similar to the ritual, there is no room for negotiation. No, “Well, I meditated the last couple days...I can skip today.” Nah nah nah! That’s not a 100% commitment. We no longer waste energy mentally arguing with ourselves, or finding excuses to not do the thing we deep down know we want to do. Make Your Vow - "I am Committed 100%"
How do you get yourself to start meditating? Get yourself a prompt or a cue - something that gives you the reminder to meditate. It helps a lot too if you attach meditation to something you already do habitually. Say you wake up in the morning and the first thing you do is brush your teeth - Wammo! - there's your prompt. Every time you brush your teeth in the morning, the very next thing you do is meditate. Link meditation to the already established habit of brushing your teeth. What is your Prompt? And what is it attached to?
Bj Fogg, a leading researcher on habit forming and the author of Tiny Habits, states that celebrating is one of the most important things we can do to help rewire our brains. The key here is to celebrate every micro-win. Celebration enables us to tap into our biological dopamine reward center that tells the brain, “This was good. Let’s do that again!” - the same thing that happens when eating something with a high sugar content. So everyday when you sit down to begin a meditation think “Yeah! I’m awesome. That’s like me!”, and then when you finish the meditation, again think to yourself or say it out loud “Yeah! I’m awesome. That’s like me!”
Day 1 to 7 – Here We Go!
Starting where I originally began on my first vipassana retreat (insight meditation) in Northern Thailand, we begin with a very simple rising and falling of the breath – simple does not mean easy!
- Come to your breath, notice the breath, feel the breath. This is we will start every meditation.
- Begin to notice the sensation of rising when breathing-in, noting to yourself “rising, rising, rising.”
- Begin to notice the sensation of falling when breathing-out, noting to yourself “falling, falling, falling.”
- End the meditation noticing something you are grateful for: “I am grateful for x because y. Thank you.”
Day 0 – How to sit? 7-point-posture
Days 8 to 14 – The Balls Rolling!
Way to go! The snowball is rollin’ now 🙂 We will continue our focus on the rising and falling of the breath. This is the most foundational practice in classical mindfulness meditation. The goal is to find greater comfort in these meditation sessions, which will naturally occur via repetition over time. You will begin to notice a little more space in the next week.
Days 15 to 20 – You’re Killin’ It!
You are totally killin’ this challenge! Flowing through the journey! Creating that space and growing in your ability to notice. Becoming a little more aware every passing day! Along with the rising and falling of the breath we will begin to practice elongated breathing as well. Really practicing slowing down the breath. Trying to extend our in-breath and out-breath for as many seconds as we can do repeatedly, comfortably. 4 second in, 6 seconds out. And after some time 6 seconds in, 8 seconds out. And after some time 8 seconds in, 10 seconds out….so on.
Days 21 to 24 – You are Dialed-In Now!
Now we’ll throw in one more mindfulness technique called RAIN. I learned this from Tara Brach, a Clinical Psychologist and Meditation Mindfulness teacher. RAIN is used typically with our emotions, often helping us expand our capabilities in processing difficult emotions. But RAIN can also be used with pleasant, light and fluffy emotions too 😉
RAIN is an acronym meaning: Recognize, Accept & Allow, Investigate, Non-Identification & Nurture
We will learn more about this process in our 18 and 20 minute meditations 🙂
Days 25 to 30 – Final Stretch!
Congratulations!! You have been meditating for over 3 weeks!!! Really allow yourself to appreciate the effort you have put forth thus far. It is really awesome that you have been meditating this much. It is never easy to instill a new habit within our lives and we need to celebrate every micro-win we get 😀
Congratulations! What is Next?
breath) to build greater mindfulness and focus. From here you are more capable to experience the benefits of other branches of meditation like reflective, contemplative, visualization, open-monitoring, flexible awareness, and natural awareness. Although it is possible to practice any of these without a foundation in classical mindfulness, you will find them more accessible having the foundation we have built here 🙂