3 Things I’m better at after a 4 month meditation streak

How mindfulness is helping me pursue change.

Image courtesy of Radu Emanuel via Unsplash

I just renewed my subscription to the Calm app. That means I completed my first year of meditation practice, and I’m continuing. I started out strong, with a 30 day streak but that was the best consistency I could achieve in 8 months of practice. Then something shifted and I committed to practicing every day. After this mornings practice I have achieved a 120 day streak of mediating for at least 10 minutes every day.

Why did I stick with it? Can I really credit meditation with my weight loss and finishing another novel? I think so.

One of the biggest lessons I learned during my meditation practice is that it’s not about controlling your thoughts, it’s about being aware of them. This awareness is immensely helpful in catching your mind before it convinces you that the quick, easy reward is better than the hard work. My self awareness is improved and that leads to better self control.

The 3 specific areas I’ve seen the greatest improvements since developing my meditation practice are:

  1. Wellness — Weight loss and exercise were two areas where I struggled. I’ve done it before, but I was having trouble getting back to my good habits. One habit that really jumped out at me was that after eating a healthy lunch I rewarded myself with two cookies (the 6 that followed later in the day when the sugar high wore off were the real problem). It wasn’t part of my meal plan and it was a habit I almost never noticed. After about 3 weeks of meditation I caught that “reward” thought and reminded myself it was a lie. I skipped the cookies and now I’m more mindful with everything I choose to eat. I’ve lost almost 15 pounds and feel great.
  2. Productivity — I tend to focus on getting one thing done. Most days I either write a few thousand words OR take care of things around the house. Doing both rarely happened well which left me thrashing around in a break fix mode. With meditation I have been able to recognize my focus and take a break to shift it. Some days my word count is low or dinner is thrown together a little late, but it’s okay. I gave my attention to different areas and accomplished more on the whole than I previously did. Plus I feel more confident that my time is being efficiently used.
  3. Parenting — My kids talk, a lot. It’s a good thing for sure but with three young teens it can start to feel like the same story over and over. When I’m on autopilot I do too much nodding and “Ah-ha” letting their words flow without paying attention. Now that I am better at catching my mind drifting I can focus on more than the words. Their tone, facial expressions, and energy are as important as their word choice and the subject of the story. Seeing the slight smile, hearing the higher volume and catching the sparkle in their eyes lets me know it’s about so much more than dropping a book or spilling their drink.

I am grateful for finding the practice of meditation. It still amazes me that while “nothing” happens during a good sit, 15 minutes in the morning can improve all the hours in the day.

I have a goal to write a post on Medium every day for the month of May, this is a big change for me. My focus is on how we can adapt and drive the changes we want to see in our lives. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

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