Day 10—THE FINALE!—of the 10-day Headspace meditation challenge
Ten days ago I came across the Headspace 10-day meditation trial for beginners (ie, ding dongs) while poking around podcasts. A ding dong myself, I signed up and meditated for 10 minutes every day. For reasons unknown even to me, I decided to write about it, making it a much bigger undertaking than it needed to be, which is often my style. But I did learn some things, both about meditation and about myself.
Life will not make meditating easy, and everything can be a distraction if you try hard enough.
Goals & Gains
Because I’m on a work sabbatical, I thought the 10-day challenge would be a good way to slow down…and not buy things online. I’m a parent of small children, so the slowing down did not happen. But I did enjoy being calm(er than usual) for those 10 minutes every day.
As for buying things online, I succeeded in that goal. Between stressing out about how I was going to complete each day’s meditation and then write a blog post about it, I didn’t have time to shop. So while Headspace did not pay me for what is essentially a giant ad, I did actually save money.
Unexpectedly, I realized the importance of having a routine, particularly during my time off from work because work is usually my main organizing factor. Having a set time to do certain activities relieves me from having to think about them 200 times.
Gettin’ Sticky With It
In an article by Dan Gordon called Making it Last, he talks about how we go about making behavioral changes and feel guilty when we fail at those changes. The article is based on Sean Young’s book entitled Stick With It: A Scientifically Proven Process for Changing Your Life – For Good. In the book, Young provides evidence-based strategies for making lasting change using the acronym SCIENCE:
- S = Stepladders. Starting small so we don’t set ourselves up to fail by becoming victims of our grand aspirations.
- C = Community. Making an experience social not only allows for others to give you support but also keeps you accountable.
- I = Important. Your chance of following through on something increases if it matters to you. Motivation alone isn’t always enough.
- E = Easy. Set up your life so that desired behaviors are easy and unwanted ones are inconvenient, ie, don’t keep snacks in the house if you’re trying to diet.
- N = Neurohacks. Change your behavior and your mind will follow, not the other way around. Then just do that day after day until it feels natural.
- C = Captivating. Rewards for doing a desired activity have to make the effort worth it. A certificate, for example, isn’t always enough.
- E = Engrained. Make a behavior so routine that it no longer requires thought.
SCIENCE for Ding Dongs
For me to complete this challenge, it took an audience (C = Community). If I wouldn’t have decided—for some unknown reason—to make the challenge public, I might have given up. But every time I was about to quit writing about it, someone would say how much they were enjoying reading about it. Knowing that every day a thousand (maybe 14) readers were hanging on my every word (skimming it) made me accountable.
The next time you read something and like it, say so. You will look like a supporter, not a stalker.
Also, shout out to Headspace for creating such a convenient program (E = Easy)! I’m even considering joining. Can I do it every day for 365 days? Next challenge! (TOTALLY KIDDING!)
Don’t be Scurred
Try it. The Headspace program is free for 10 days and can be done with headphones and a phone or computer almost anywhere: your favorite chair, your cube at work, a coffee shop; probably not your car because you have to close your eyes, although I was planning on meditating from the car dealership while I waited for my car. (I ended up postponing my service appointment.) Heck, if you can’t find 10 minutes for yourself then you might want to reevaluate your life. *Reevaluates life*
Overall, do I feel like I can meditate better than before I took this challenge? Yes. This is pretty much me now…