I have a surefire way to make 2015 the best year ever! And it is the simplest thing you will ever do—in fact, you’ve been doing it since you were born. It requires no fancy workout wear (although I love my fancy wears, believe me), and it requires no towel, water or money.
Establish a morning meditation practice. I know, I know…you’ve been talking about doing that for years. I also know you’ve probably started and stopped and started and stopped again and again. But you must not give up. Instead, dive in with more intention and willingness than ever before, because this practice guarantees you the happiness, peace and prosperity you are seeking.
I’m a huge fan of taking a meditation class, or if you’re a true warrior, going to a Vipassana 10-day retreat, where you’ll observe total silence in an effort to explore and discover the self and the deep connection between mind and body. But putting all those big goals that may or may not happen aside—how about just starting where you are, today?
First step, get any thoughts out of the way that say you don’t know how to meditate. That’s crazy. We are all wired to meditate. Every time you zone out in front of the television or computer, or let your mind drift like a cloud floating by, you are in an unconscious state of checking out. My point is, you are doing it already. Now you’re just going to do it consciously, which makes a big difference.
Second, set yourself up to succeed. When I coach people, my only goals are that they actually begin and become consistent. Once you establish consistency, you can then start to grow in your practice, but not until then. Here’s my meditation success equation:
3+5+10+15=A Brand New You!
January: Three minutes in the morning. Set your alarm five minutes earlier than usual. When you awaken, sit up, stretch, take some deep breaths,hit your timer on your phone for three minutes, close your eyes and focus on slow, deep, luxurious breaths. Personally, I have to go to the bathroom first, and I like to down a big glass of water. Then I sit to do my meditation. Whatever is best for you—just make sure your meditation is the first, second or third thing you do in the morning.
Don’t worry if you begin thinking. The focus is to just be still and allow the mind to be calm, but if it starts racing, it’s not a problem. Your job is to close your eyes, breathe and wait for the timer to go off. DING! Open your eyes and acknowledge that you have succeeded! If you miss a day here or there, don’t sweat (leave that for your yoga class). Just do it later or the next day. Three minutes a day, for one month. You can do that!
February: Five minutes in the morning. Same routine as above, but now that you’ve established consistency and you’re feeling wonderful about your breakthrough success, you can up your time to five minutes. It may feel like a stretch, or maybe not. The key here is to not do more than the five. Be patient and allow yourself to grow slowly. It will more than pay off in the long run. February is five—no more.
March: up to 10 minutes, and in April, if you feel ready, then it’s time to go for 15.
Words will not be able to convey how wonderful you’ll feel about yourself for this accomplishment. Not only that—your mind will be more at peace, solutions will flow like never before, happiness will not elude you and your body will be healthier. Even better, you will have established a positive habit that will continue to grow and grow. From there, the sky truly is the limit.
Rev. Mark Anthony Lord is an internationally-recognized author, speaker, teacher and founder of the Bodhi Spiritual Center in Chicago, IL. In 2015, he will be making the move to Los Angeles, CA to create Pride 2.0, a ministry focused on healing the world from homophobia. Visit his website at pride2point0.com.