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Meditation – Habit


All of man’s difficulties are caused by his inability to sit, quietly, in a room by himself. – Blaise Pascal

If you want to read the story of my first meditation retreat, start here.


  • Choose a time to meditate each day.  Meditating after waking up is easiest for most people.
  • Find a quiet place where you’ll be undisturbed for five minutes.
  • Sit in a chair that allows you to sit upright with back support.
  • Set a timer for one minute to start.


  • Close your eyes and feel the connection of your feet to the ground and your hands on your legs.
  • Take a few deep breaths to start.  Focus your attention on each breath.
  • Acknowledge when you’re distracted which you should expect to happen often.
  • Instead of judging yourself for getting distracted, just focus on the next breath.
  • Breath normally focusing on each inhale and exhale until time expires.


  • Afterward, take a moment to notice how you feel.
  • Maybe you’re tired.  Maybe you struggled.  That’s normal.
  • Maybe you’re calmer or clearer for the rest of your day.
This is a simple way to get started with meditation.  You’ll practice focusing on a single task by just breathing, monitoring your thoughts from a third-party perspective, and replacing self-judgment with breathing.  Continue practicing for one minute for as long you like.  If it’s easy to spend three to five minutes, work your way up to that over time.  If not, don’t sweat it.  Consistency beats volume.
Alternative Options
If you struggle with just focusing on your breathing, you have not failed at meditation.  Everyone struggles.  However, if you want another option to introduce yourself to a meditation practice here are a few alternatives.  Pick one and stick with it for a few weeks to overcome the inevitable initial struggle with forming a new habit that you should expect to experience.
Continue meditating with controlled breathing, but instead of just focusing on each breath answer:
  • Gratitude – “What are 3 things you’re grateful for today?”
  • Daily Visualization – “What is one thing I want to accomplish today?”
  • Strength – “Who from my past or present believes deeply in me?”
Now the rubber hits the road.  Take one minute right now while you’re reading this for the first time to practice.  All you need to do is close your eyes and count ten deep breaths.  If your mind wanders, acknowledge it and come back to counting each breath.  Remember, the odds that you’ll pick-up this life-changing habit increase dramatically if you practice this simple exercise for one minute right now.  Are you ready?
  • Close your eyes.
  • Count each breath until you reach a count of ten.
  • Open your eyes and be proud of getting started.
  • Notice how you feel.
You’ve now started your journey to become a focused force of flow. You will not regret it.
More Resources
  • Headspace – If you want a free, audio guide with a cool accent and funny animations, download Headspace.  The initial free meditations are ten minutes, but you can always turn it off sooner.
  • More Exercises – Two the most useful new types of meditation (5 sights, 4 feels, 3 hears, 2 smells, 1 taste and Self-Compassion) I’ve learned since I wrote this article are described here.  Try the ‘Self-Compassion’ exercise.  When you feel you’re talking negatively about yourself, ask: “Would I say these same things to someone I care about?”  “Would I say this to my partner, child, parent, best friend?”  If they don’t deserve to hear these things, neither do you.
  • BrainPickings The Power Paradox – If you can’t find time to meditate or want to increase your power, read this article starting with the paragraph with the “Good Samaritan study”.  The greatest predictor of unkind behavior is a perceived lack of time.  You can take control of your perception using meditation.

You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day, unless you are too busy — then you should sit for an hour. – Unknown