I am not a yogi, a life coach, or a yoga teacher. In fact, I am probably the furthest thing from what you would call a yogi. Like many, I struggled as a teenager and young adult. I failed my junior year of high school not once, but twice. I spent time in drug rehabilitation, and have been arrested more than my fair share of times.
But eventually, I turned my life around and became a lawyer, entrepreneur, and an advocate of a healthy lifestyle. I also want the best possible life for everyone I encounter. I know for certain that meditation must to be part of the equation to lead an amazing life.
I've only recently begun to experience what meditation has to offer. I'd read about the benefits of meditation for many years, but never really took it upon myself to develop a practice. I tried meditating here and there for no more than 5-10 minutes at a time, but decided to see what would happen if I committed to 20 minutes of meditation a day for just one week.
That challenge, or better yet, experiment, began on January 1, 2015. That first week turned into a month, which turned into three months, and before I knew it — 100 days. I meditated every day first thing in the morning without taking a day off for the entire duration.
When I first started meditating I couldn’t sit still, my back hurt during it and my legs fell asleep. It felt more like I was trying to adjust to the sitting, more than I was trying to focus on my breathing. It wasn't long before I'd wish it was over and I would sit there trying to convince myself not to open my eyes.
I did eventually get used to focusing on my breath, though, and my body began to naturally adjust to what was initially an awkward posture for me. And the more I meditated, the more I found ways to sit that were even more comfortable. Meditation soon became a necessary part of my morning routine which I actually looked forward to and created a domino effect, positively impacting all aspects of my life.
Here are eight things that happened after I meditated every day, for 100 days:
1. My days started to become more focused.
As I started to think clearer, I got much more accomplished. My mind seemed more organized. I would focus on one task at hand, complete it and then move easily onto the next. My mind wasn’t racing about what I should be doing, or if what I was doing wasn’t being done fast enough. I just stayed in the moment and completed what I needed to, and then moved on.
2. I started to think more before I spoke.
Before developing a daily meditation habit, I would just react to people and situations with the first thing that came into my mind. But now I pause a bit, think about what I’m going to say, and then respond more mindfully. This pause helps me to articulate what I want to say and ensure what I will be saying is actually necessary and helpful. Then after I speak, I think back on whether I responded to the situation to the best of my ability, or if there was anything better I could do next time. I never had this level of self-reflection before.
3. I am nicer and more emphatic.
Things just don't seem to bother me as much any more! During traffic, I am more patient. I don’t mind waiting in long lines so much. I started to look at situations from the perspective of others to see where they might be coming from. This completely changed the way I interact with other people.
4. I have more energy.
I am able sleep better at night and wake up fully charged ready to go. When I am finished with my workday, I still have more energy to go for a run or go out with friends.
5. I eat better.
I make better decisions when I am at the grocery store or at restaurants. I really ask myself how the food will really make me feel, and I base my purchase or decision on that answer.
6. I watch less TV.
My desire for watching television has decreased dramatically. Instead, I focus on the things which can make me a better person. I find myself reading, running, reaching out to friends, or working on my website.
7. I feel more connected to nature.
I take notice to stop and appreciate all the beautiful things that surround me. Whether it's a tree or a sunset, I pause and realize that it is truly a miracle and I try to soak in that moment and be fully present.
8. I am an overall better version of myself.
This is probably one of the best benefits of meditation. I know who I truly am and what I am capable of. I share my feelings with others more openly. I have the courage to be who I really am — I take more risks, knowing that it the only way I can truly grow. I know what’s important in life and that I can accomplish anything that I really want.
These are just a few things that changed when I started to meditate, and I can’t say for sure all of this happened after one day, or 100 days. What I do know is that I am no longer the same person I was 100 days ago. I am a happier person because I am a more authentic version of myself.
If all of these changes happen after just 100 days, I can’t wait to see what happens after 200 or even 1,000! Try just 20 minutes of meditation every day for 100 days, and I’m sure you will never look at yourself or your life in the same way.