How to Start a Mindfulness Practice That You Can Stick With

how to start a mindfulness practice

Relaxed. Restored. Rejuvenated. All of these words could bring to mind the defining characteristics of someone who has mastered the art of mindfulness. It sounds so appealing, right?

At its core, mindfulness seems enticingly simple. How hard can it really be to just take a minute to acknowledge the present moment and step away from the daily grind on the regular? The answer… it’s really hard for most people, and with good reason.

Mindfulness asks you to practice a series of daily steps and activities that provide a path to letting go of the past. Mindfulness simultaneously asks you to trust that the future is taken care of in order to be fully in the moment you’re given. This can be a tall order.

Yes, mindfulness is a gentle act, but the ability to bring attention back to the present when you’re surrounded by chaos demands skill. As with all skills, it requires practice to achieve success and the problem is—we all live in a world where just about everything but mindfulness is exalted as something to aspire to.

The breathtaking pace of our daily lives is counterintuitive to mindfulness’s request that we slow down and focus on what’s happening right here and right now.

This is seen through our social media pages updating in real-time, the news presenting an ever-changing barrage of information and the fact we can connect to anyone and anything at the touch of a button.

Even these few examples highlight just how not surprising it is that so many people find it hard to let go of the grind.

Pair that with the fact that all of this is happening in addition to our busy schedules and desire to keep up with work and life responsibilities. Where does a sustainable mindfulness practice even fit in?

So the question is: how to start a mindfulness practice that you can stick with?

Finding Time for Mindfulness Despite it All

finding time

The unfortunate result of the way our lives are designed in the modern world is that we’re inevitably left with a long list of broken promises to ourselves when it comes to mindfulness.

Far too often, the goal of integrating a mindfulness practice is in direct conflict with the goal of fast-tracking the process so you can still keep up with the demands of life happening around you.

No matter how many adjustments are made within these parameters, it’s destined never to work. A fast-track mindfulness approach completely and utterly defeats the entire purpose. When you rush mindfulness, you’re failing to integrate anything helpful and are only successfully adding more stress to your to-do list.

That leaves many people wondering if it’s possible to create a mindfulness practice that not only works, but that’s sustainable over the long term. Funny enough, the answer lies in the principles of mindfulness itself.

It all starts with small steps and the following are just a few tips to help you get started when you want to find time for mindfulness despite the world’s way of working against you.

Remember That a Small Amount of Time Makes a Big Difference

big difference

It’s important to keep a realistic perspective firmly in place when you’re in the process of creating a mindfulness practice you can actually stick with over time.

The mainstream portrayals of mindfulness often depict it as something that can be attained if you’re just willing to invest absolutely everything for a short while. In many ways, it’s the idea that mindfulness should be taken to the extreme starting on day one of your journey.

Feel free to ignore those messages because this couldn’t be further from the truth. Much like a fad diet or passing trend, mindfulness that’s incorporated suddenly and severely is likely doomed to fail. Setting impossible goals in the hopes of achieving mindfulness more efficiently is a detrimental myth that leaves people frustrated and far from mindful.

Instead, it’s important to remember to start small. A little goes an exceptionally long way when you’re starting a mindfulness practice built to last and this truth applies to the amount of time you commit to your practice daily.

When you’re just starting out, there’s no reason to expect more than a little from yourself. This isn’t coming into mindfulness with low expectations or cutting yourself short. Rather, it’s a healthy and manageable way to start making a mindfulness practice an integral part of your day without becoming overwhelmed.

Social media might stress you out, your to-do list may seem never-ending, but a mindfulness practice that works should be designed with ease in mind. Telling yourself you’re going to start meditating 2-hours daily and following it up with an hour of yoga right off the bat is a good way to burn out before you’ve even begun.

Start with 5-minutes of reflection in the morning. Yes, this is actually a good place to begin and enough time to make a difference.

Set your alarm 5-minutes earlier than you would normally rise and begin with gratitude. Remind yourself you’re thankful for what you have and set an intention for a good day ahead.

This simple practice solidifies perspective before your feet have even touched the ground, and is mindfulness integrated into your day before anything else. That’s something sustainable to feel great about!

Start With an Established Place to Practice, Then Allow for Flexibility Over Time

place to practice

Mindfulness is indeed a practice, but ultimately, it’s designed to be a way of life so it should be expected that flexibility is part of the program. When you’re just beginning to build a sustainable and long-lasting mindfulness practice, picking a place to practice is important to establish a routine.

This is going to look different for everyone. Maybe it’s a certain cushion that you use for 10-minutes of meditation at the start of each day. Perhaps it’s a chair on your deck where you take time to settle in with a cup of coffee and focus on what you’re thankful for before work.

No matter where it may be, establishing a place to practice mindfulness is important to train yourself in a healthy way in the beginning. This should be an easy-to-access place that’s welcoming and comfortable.

It generally won’t take long to get used to settling into your preferred place. But then comes the day when something inevitably comes up and you miss your mindfulness moment you’ve been so committed to for so long. What do you do then?

Above all, don’t panic. As human beings, we tend to allow ourselves to feel defined by the routine we cater to. When things don’t go as planned, it can be easy to feel too quickly defeated.

In the world of mindfulness practices, a schedule thrown out of whack can cause many people to give up. When you’re looking to establish long-term mindfulness habits, never let this be the case.

Here’s the big secret…it’s ok to switch up the schedule! While you may need your mindfulness practice to include a place at the beginning, over time, a sustainable practice is one that you can carry with you anywhere at all.

If you get up late by accident and don’t have time to meditate, take a few minutes over lunch to breathe, reset your mind and relax. If you can’t spend the full 10-minutes enjoying your coffee, consider turning an evening tea time into your mindfulness moment instead.

This type of flexibility equates to growth. If you can set those feelings of failure aside and allow mindfulness to take its own path, you can know with confidence that you’ve built a practice to last.

Reminding Yourself Why Mindfulness Matters IS Mindfulness

mindfulness matters

It can be easy to fall into thinking that mindfulness is an exclusively physical act that has to be carried out to be effective. While many acts of mindfulness such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing do require time set aside to focus, the beauty of mindfulness lies in its versatile forms.

The belief that mindfulness is always physical adds unnecessary stress to life. It’s important to remember that simply reflecting on why mindfulness matters in your life counts too!

Most mindfulness practices ask participants to set intentions when it comes to their day, their mindset, their processes, and reflections. In all of the focus on what we’re trying to achieve, we can often forget the important why behind it.

Taking time to remember why you’re doing this at all is an act of mindfulness in and of itself. It doesn’t require you to step away from your desk and it isn’t something anyone else is going to notice—but it still makes a very noticeable difference in your own life.

Integrate Your Practice Into Something You Already Do


A long-lasting mindfulness practice that’s simple to stick to doesn’t always require anything additional added to your day. In fact, integrating an act of mindfulness into something you already do is a more efficient way to create consistency with extraordinarily little effort required.

At the beginning of your practice, this can be something remarkably simple. It might be as small as enjoying your lunch somewhere outdoors each day where you can feel inspired and savor the view without taking up any extra time. It could be as easy as placing a sticky note with an inspirational quote on your computer so you can glance at it each morning before you even get into your email.

These small, yet powerful moments don’t take anything away from a busy schedule, but they do incorporate perspective into a process that’s already in place. The result is bound to be a sense of uplifting relief, even when responsibilities are calling you to action.

Over time, it inevitably becomes easier to pair more time-intensive mindfulness acts into those things you already do.

An example could be incorporating a mini-meditation into the end of your lunch break that you’ve moved outdoors. Perhaps a scheduled 15-minute break could eventually include a daily call to a loved one to lift your spirits.

Whether the integration is minimal or growing, it’s impactful. This strategy is a sure way to keep your mindfulness practice going over the long term and your wellness a priority.

Find an Accountability Partner

accountability partner

The importance of self-sufficiency is frequently hailed within our society as something to aspire to at all times. Self-made success stories inspire generation after generation to set out on a quest for personal satisfaction at every turn.

While self-sufficiency can certainly power you through some tough situations, it’s not a defining characteristic of a mindfulness practice that’s designed to be one you can stick with. In fact, many people will find that establishing an accountability partner is a more effective strategy when it comes to creating a manageable practice.

Everyone needs a little help and encouragement from time to time. An accountability partner can be the answer to the question: how to start a mindfulness practice—one you can stick with? It’s good to remember that it’s ok to reach out to others and even team up to make sure you reach your goals.

Going into mindfulness alongside someone you know has your back and best interests at heart can make all the difference in your practice’s longevity.

Your accountability partner can be someone excited to establish a practice with you or a trusted friend who is willing to check in regularly and make sure you’re staying on track with your goals.

Having someone to talk to when you’re struggling with your mindfulness can be an enormous relief. It can be just as important when you’re excited to share your success stories! Overall, knowing someone is going to be asking you about how your mindfulness practice is going is a good motivator to have in place.

Just be sure that whoever you choose is someone you have a solid relationship with and truly trust on a deeper level. Wanting the best for each other at all times is going to be key to making mindfulness a part of your daily routine and eventually, your entire way of life.

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