Recently, I had this really original idea that I absolutely wanted to share with you:
How about I try something new for a month? How about I call it a 30-day experiment?
Now, I know that your first reaction to this might be “oh god, another one of those?” and that is totally understandable. Challenges of all kinds have been the jazz lately, so let me explain…
30-Day Experiments – but why?
Firstly, you might ask why I chose the name “experiment” instead of challenge?
The main reason is an episode on The Ground Up Show I’ve listened to a few months back about experimenting with new habits and ideas regularly. I still like this idea and think that this name fits much better than “challenge”. This is mainly because we can try different things and instead of placing expectations on ourselves that can sabotage our efforts, even before we have begun, we simply try new and reintroduce old habits and see if we want to stick to them. “Experiment” fits that idea a lot better than “challenge”.
“I would say conduct experiments rather than making a lifelong commitment. So, if there’s something that you want to try out say: ‘I’m gonna commit to this way of doing it for 30 days.’T.K. Coleman, “Dreams Don’t COme True, Decisions do“
So, when you get 15 days in and you feel like giving up you’re like: ‘I don’t know if this is working out for me’, you can tell yourself: ‘I only got 15 more days, let’s go ahead and follow through and finish!’ Instead of feeling like a flake when you’re done, you get to feel proud of yourself for keeping your word and committing to something. And if you want to switch it up, then you can recalibrate or if you want to keep it going you can say: ‘let’s do it for another 30 days!'”
Now, the basic idea is still the same: we either pick a new thing that we haven’t tried before, or we try to integrate an old habit back into our daily schedule and stick with it for a month. Afterward, we see how we feel and what we’ve learned and then decide if we want to continue or stop. Pretty simple, right?
There are many things that this practice can help you with on a very basic level: you can discover new things that you like, that make you more productive, that help you gain new perspectives and that helps you learn something new. One of the best-case scenarios is that you find something that you stick with for life, or that you discover a new hobby, passion, or even career path – who knows? Finally, if you have a slight feeling of aversion to any of these experiments, doing can be a very beneficial experience in learning to step in and deal with uncomfortable situations. This experiment is also a great way to get back to old beneficial habits that you have been putting off for too long. Finally, if you don’t like this month’s experiment you can quit at any time.
With these general benefits in mind let’s get into this month’s experiment.
This Month’s Experiment
This month is about a daily meditation practice.
Now, before you close this page hear me out: I also thought that meditation was a woo-woo thingy that was way too spiritual and not practical for me. Yet, when I’ve read the high praises in Tim Ferriss’ “Tools of Titans” in 2017 for the first time, I reconsidered and thought to myself: “Well, what do I have to lose?”. As it turned out not much and even though I tried out a lot of different new things and experiences, meditation turned out to be the most beneficial and useful habit I adopted that year. I became less reactive to external events and stimuli, I increased my self-discipline, became calmer in conversations, and increased my focus at work and while studying. I’ve since used meditation almost daily until late 2018 when I slacked off and consequently stopped doing it all together in 2019. But, as I’ve faced increased stress over the last two weeks and am in the last, long stretch of my master’s thesis, I want to reintroduce meditation in my routines this month.
“More than 80% of the world-class performers I’ve interviewed have some form of daily meditation or mindfulness practice.Tim Ferris, “Tools of TITANS”
It is a “meta-skill” that improves everything else.”
You are Invited to Join me!
Now, here is the cool part!
As I’ve planned on doing this anyway, I thought: “why not make it a monthly community-event?” and here I am. I don’t challenge you to meditate this month. Instead, I invite you to come on this journey with me.
To this end I’ve set up the hashtag
#ItsMeMonthly (Update, use: #MeaningfulPath) on Instagram and Twitter where you can share your progress, positive effects, questions, and difficulties as well as your results at the end of each month. We can also hold each other accountable and stay on this meaningful path together.
Ok, how exactly do I meditate?
I am working on a blog post about the benefits of meditation that should be helpful as we speak but beginning something new shouldn’t necessarily be difficult, rather fun and simple.
There are more meditation-methods on the internet than I can count or even present here, so I keep it simple as well: Pick a certain time a day and sit down in a comfortable but upright position, set a timer for 10+ minutes, close your eyes, and pay attention to your breath. Notice how you breathe in and out. Do that for 10 minutes! HURRAY! That seems easy, right? Well… you’ll see that it is harder than you think and that your attention will wander all the time, especially as a beginner. Over time you will become better at paying attention and your mind will wander less and less. As I said, I’ll go more in-depth on this in one of my upcoming articles!
I will meditate 20 minutes each morning and 10 minutes each evening, but your mileage may vary – keep in mind that this should be simple and fun, not hard and frustrating!
That’s it for this month! Again, use the hashtag
#ItsMeMonthly (Use “#meaningfulpath” instead) on IG and Twitter to connect with me and others and to stay on track with a new habit every month.
Meanwhile… stay on the meaningful path.