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Episode 171: 6 Lessons I Learned from 30 Days of Meditating

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Summary 

I have a confession to make...

I am a holistic health coach and I have always struggled with maintaining a regular meditation practice. 

Even though I know the endless benefits proven by study after study (which we cover in depth in this episode). 

Even though I've always had a gut feeling nudging me towards more intentional meditation.

Even though I've experienced the benefits of doing meditation-like activities like going on long walks, coloring, and yoga. 

The practice of sitting and being alone with my thoughts or a guiding voice has evaded me. Until now. 

Like starting any healthy habit, it really came down to just making the decision that I was going to commit to this, no matter what. So I set a 30-day meditation challenge for myself, just to see what would happen. 

Now chose to focus on healing my acne-prone skin and decided to listen to the same guided meditation every day.

And I have to say, I took more lessons away from the experience than I ever thought I would. And that is what I want to share with you today... 

1. It isn't about the habit. It's about not breaking promises to yourself. 

I remember there was one night where I unexpectedly went out with friends and didn't end up getting home until about 1 in the morning. This would have been an extremely easy night to just say, 'forget it, I'll just skip one day.'

And yeah, missing one day probably wouldn't have made a difference when it came to the benefits I got from meditating. 

But here's the thing, doing that would have set a precedent for breaking promises to myself. And every time we break promises to ourselves, we chip away at our confidence in our ability to change, we break trust with ourselves, and it makes future goals we set for ourselves mean less and less and feel further and further away. 

Think about it as if a friend kept promising to meet you for coffee but she always found reasons not to go. Eventually you're going to stop getting your hopes up and maybe even give up on her altogether. 

So start taking promises you make to yourself just as seriously if not more seriously than promises you make to your loved ones. 

2. You can't heal a body you hate.  

One thing I loved from this guided meditation about my acne was the perspective shift it gave me when it came to my skin. 

Instead of viewing my acne as a plague I couldn't escape, it helped me view my acne in a positive light: it's a signal from my body that I need deeper healing work, it's my body's way of communicating with me, and it's my body's way of releasing toxins that aren't good for me. 

I use this mindset shift a lot with my weight loss clients, because what we resist persists. It's like quicksand, the more you fight and struggle against your body  being fat, or spotted, or old, the faster you sink. 

But when you can love your body and accept it, as it is, right now, in this moment, the faster you'll heal and the healthier you'll be. 

3. Not being good at it doesn't mean you don't do it. 

I know so many people who don't meditate because they say they're bad at it. But that's kind of like saying you're not going to workout because you're not strong. You can't put the cart before the horse. 

There were many nights where I went through the motions of the meditation, but my mind was bouncing all over the place. 

I didn't judge myself for it, I just accepted it as part of the practice. Because that's what it is, that's what everything is... a practice. And practice means there needs to be room for error and improvement, always. 

4. Even when your body can't change, your mind always can.

This comes back to accepting your body where it is. When you do that mindset work, it will very likely get you to your goals faster.

But the beautiful thing is, even if it doesn't, you won't be nearly as bothered because your mind has shifted from resistance into acceptance and peace.

During my 30 days I did feel like my skin improved. But not permanently and not completely. But I will say when I break out now, there's less emotional distress around it. And I'm able to speak more lovingly to myself whether my skin is clear or not. 

5. Ritualizing a habit will make it easier to stick to. 

I'm a huge fan of ritualizing habits, particularly ones you have a resistance to. This is all about making it as enjoyable as possible so it's something you can look forward to each day. 

My version of ritualization was making a cup of chamomile tea to sip on before curling up in my bed to meditate. It was a way of easing into the habit with something I already found pleasant and relaxing.

6. If you only focus on the result you wanted, you miss out on all the results you actually get. 

If I only focused on whether or not my skin cleared up, I may have decided to never meditate again. I would have called it a failure, pointless, or a waste of time. 

Instead I noticed the little improvements both in my skin but also in my life as a whole. I noticed I was kinder to myself. I was calmer. I was sleeping better. And I was pulling out all of these little life lessons as I went along. 

This is something I also challenge a lot of my weight loss clients with. It's really easy to change your diet for a week or 2 and then get frustrated and quit if the scale doesn't budge.

Meanwhile, your energy was improving, your mood was improving, your sex drive was improving, and your digestion was improving, all showing that what you were moving in the direction of your goals, just not in the way you expected or wanted right off the bat.

But had you taken the time to notice those other benefits, you may have been encouraged enough to keep going instead of throwing in the towel.

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