top of page

How to Build a Regular Meditation (or Other!) Practice

If you'd like to meditate more regularly, there are a few easy things you can do to lock in your practice. Here, I share the most effective tips and tools I've found. (HINT: They're useful for building almost ANY kind of healthy habit!)

Woman meditating on the beach as waves come toward her

Ready to build your meditation practice into something that really sticks? Something more regular and ritualized? Here are the most effective tips and tools I've foundand the great news is they work for almost any healthy habit you'd like to build!


If you have an intention like meditating more, it's really important to know your why. The more clear you are on your motivation, the more you can root in this and draw strength and momentum from it.

I started my daily practice because of debilitating stress symptoms that doctors couldn't help me address. I deep-dove into restorative practices because I couldn't live that way one more day, and they helped me find the ground again. I continue to practice because I need these practices to keep me anchored in peace.

Maybe your why is softer and subtler: to help release work stress. To listen to self more. To become a little less reactive. To strengthen your ability to focus. There's a million reasons we meditate and countless potential benefits.

If you don't know your why, meditate on this: WHY DO YOU WANT TO SIT MORE? What do you hope the practice might clear from your life, and what do you hope it will bring in?

You might even post your why someplace where you can see it regularly, be it in the form of words, a picture of what you're hoping to call in (like a vision board) or something else.


James Clear's "Atomic Habits" is a terrific read allllll about forming new healthy habits. Here's the biggest takeaway and something that resonated SO MUCH with me and what I share with my students: START SMALL. No, even smaller.

For example, Clear recommends starting a new gym workout habit by literally just driving to the gym after work every day, not even going in. In his popular TEDTalk, Stanford researcher BJ Fogg shares his similar prescription: floss one tooth. The question is: How small can you make it so you can't NOT do it??

Once you've mastered that routine after a week or two, build on slowly.

Research shows it takes 66 days to build a new habit and that 95% of our cognition, including decision-making, occurs subconsciously. Thus, we need to lean hard on our willpower when we're writing a new habit into our already very-conditioned system.

So what amount of meditation feels so doable you can't not do it? 3 minutes a day? 5? I started my daily practice with a therapist's advice to take 10 deep breaths every time I remembered to, at least once a day. Starting small quickly built my confidence and felt almost too easy, so I quickly moved on to a deeper, longer practice.

(HINT: Even as you build your practice duration up, see if you can still maintain the mentality that 3 minutes still counts when things get hectic. By keeping your floor low, you give yourself space and grace to maintain momentum. Just floss one tooth when you have to!)


Another gem from "Atomic Habits": The easier, and in Clear's language more "obvious," you make it for yourself to practice, the more likely you are to do it. So maybe you meditate before even getting out of bed in the morning, or in bed right before going to sleep. Or you keep your cushion right next to your bed so you have to walk by it first thing. (I keep my earbuds on my nightstand so I'm visually reminded to do a bedtime practice every night...and it really works!)


Finding a time of day when you can most easily and regularly slot in your "totally doable" meditation practice is incredibly helpful for habit-building. It'll likely require some experimentation.

My teacher, davidji, recommends "RPM," "rise, pee, meditate." In his book "Destressifying," he explains that our brains aren't as active first thing in the day (fewer thoughts to calm!), we're less likely to get pulled into something and put it off till later (only to never come back to it), and the morning practice sets the tone for the day. (Recent research confirms that morning meditators are more likely to stick with the practice.)

My practice confirms all the above, and I also know that everyone has their own rhythms. Maybe it's right after work for you. Or in the parking lot in your car right before walking into work or dropping kiddo off at daycare. Play around with what works.


Try pairing your new practice with an existing well-formed habit. Like meditate right after you get your coffee, or reward yourself with coffee right after. In the morning, definitely try it before checking your phone! Conditioning yourself is easier when you build it around existing scaffolding...and positive reinforcement!


Tracking your new habit provides yet another visual reminder to keep at it, while also building positive feedback, momentum and accountability into your system. Most of the meditation apps do this in some form digitally, but I prefer to track practices via a good, old-fashioned printed habit tracker (or calendar) because it provides more tangible and frequent visual feedback.

James Clear has an excellent blog post about this, and apparently Jerry Seinfeld is also a huge fan, mentioning how marking off days on a print calendar "gameifies" the process!

Write your goal and why on your habit tracker, too, then display it someplace you'll see it all the time like a fridge or bathroom mirror, and you've got instant positive reinforcement.

Other ways to build in accountability and positive reinforcement include:

  • Finding a practice accountability buddy Agree to check in regularly with one another via text, email or phone. Share your goal(s). Share your progress...and any challenges that come up (it's OK, that's life and part of what you're working through together)! Share encouragement!

  • Finding a community that supports your practice Hanging out more with fellow meditators is going to positively support your meditation practice. So find a Meetup group, class near you, or affinity group through your church or school or library.

  • Journal about your practice The more you understand how the practice is benefitting you, what works and doesn't, the more motivation and momentum you'll build. So after you practice, before bed or once a week, try to jot down some notes about your experience.

  • Share your journey online, e.g. on social media You can hold yourself accountable by sharing your goal, experience and progress publicly, like with your Facebook or Instagram friends. You might be surprised at how much support you get and how many folks come out of the woodwork who want to do or are already doing what you're doing, too.


Most of us aren't motivated by "should's," self-judgment and self-criticism, yet we default to these modes of thinking. Instead, let's be our own best cheerleaders!

Make a goal. Set yourself up for success by making it attainable and building good, supportive systems around it. And if you don't make your goal, see if you can find some positives in your attempts: Did you meditate more than the prior month, even if you didn't do it daily? Did you feel better on days you sat, or learn more about yourself and/or the barriers that keep you from practicing?

Investigate and reflect. Instead of judging yourself, focus on gently exploring your experience. What was good about it? How did practicing make you feel? If your goal was too ambitious, what's something smaller that would be doable (like taking one meditation class a week)?

Find something to celebrate. Maybe it's that you undertook an effort to care for yourself more lovingly.

Reward yourself. If you meet your goal—or make good progress toward it—what's some meaningful reward you could offer yourself? After meeting a mark, I like to book myself a beautiful class I've been wanting to try (sometimes I even book it far in advance as encouragement to myself that I know I'll reach my goal!).


Overall, the best meditation practice is the one that works for you. So I always encourage students to explore meditation styles, durations, times of day and other aspects of their practice until they find what works for them.

Did you try any of the above tips? How'd it go? I'd love to hear! DM me on Instagram (@jennymayomindandmove) or drop a note in my contact form at the bottom of the page.


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page