At the beginning of 2016 I decided to make the commitment to be more serious and intentional in my mindfulness mediation practice. I have been practicing since January 2014 when I took the 8 week course offered by UPenn. As life happened I had gotten away from my daily practice, and even before that had been struggling to find a way to make my habit “stick” over the weekends. I had found a routine and place for my practice during the work week- during my commute to and/or from work on public transportation – but without that as my trigger on the weekends more often than not I simply didn’t practice.
I had been using my recordings from the Penn Mindfuless course. I feel lucky that I had that experience, it taught me so much and was a life changing experience for me. It is very time intensive, but the more time you put in the more I started to get out of the program. In January I decided to try something a little different and join a group of folks at work that were using the Headspace App. I had done the Take 10 free program before but hadn’t thought I needed the full subscription and went back to doing my practice on my own. In January I jumped in and started using Headspace to motivate me to continue my practice.
I didn’t start the journey with the intent to complete 100 consecutive days, and actually didn’t even know it tracked your progress until I got in and started using the app. What appealed to me about the app was 1) Andy – the voice of headspace and 2) Areas of Focus – Balance, relationships, health, performance series and singular ones from SOS to exercise.
In the beginning I got through the foundational courses to “unlock” the more interesting packs that you can choose to try. I kept my normal cadence up, doing well during the work week and falling off on weekends. I then learned about how Headspace tracks your progress, sessions completed and your streak, the number of consecutive sessions you’ve completed. And, you guessed it, my Type-A competitive spirit kicked in and I decided to see if I could keep a streak going for 10 full days.
The key here is that I changed the way I regarded my practice, made it more important, and hooked it to a part of my weekend day. I started to set my alarm 20 minutes early on the weekend so I could start the day with my Headpace guided practice. This worked for a little bit but sometimes I missed it, now that I knew I was trying to do this every day I would find another time to for it in. During my sons nap time, before bed, and even a time or two sitting with my almost 2 year old son!
So I didn’t start out aiming to go for 100 days, in fact I started with 30 and then didn’t realize how to check my progress in the app but after awhile knew I had been doing it everyday for awhile be wanted to keep it going. I thought I might be at 45-50 days and turned out I was at 83! So that is when this turned into a 100 day challenge, and ironically got harder to figure out when to fit my practice in.
In addition to the personal motivation to keep the streak going I used a few of the Singles sessions too.
I had a lot of success with the fear of flying session. It’s more about managing fear and anxiety around an event or thing. I’m not afraid of flying but do have a phobia associated with getting my blood drawn. Anything from a finger prick to a multi-tube blood draw can leave me passed out on the floor, I’ve never been brave enough to donate blood that may be a future challenge but currently not one I’m working on! I had to get a blood test done, and used the fear of flying sessions to help me manage my fears and anxiety before and to give me something tangible to focus on during the test. I did still being someone for support, but the good news is that it helped me through it without passing out. Success!
I’m a huge fan of this app and meditation, and highly recommend it to beginners and experienced meditators. Have you tried Meditation? What’s gotten in your way? Have you tried Headspace? Have another tool you like instead?