One Year of Daily Meditation

Today, September 29th, 2019, is a monumental day for me - it marks one full year of daily meditation. I have struggled to improve my Emotional Intelligence (EQ) for several years now, but have really made it a focus since March of 2018. Meditation has become one of the cornerstornes of my EQ improvement by giving me dedicated time to practice mindfulness each and every day.

365 Days of Meditation

What is meditation?

What is meditation? Ten years ago, meditation was seen as a mystical practice of eastern religions, chiefly Buddhism, where practioners would journey off to retreats to meditate in silence for days at a time. In the last decade, meditation has become more mainstream, with CEOs, actors, actresses, news anchors, and even sports stars declaring that meditation has become a part of their daily midfulness practice.

And meditation IS practice. At its heart, meditation is about sitting peacefully, listening to your body and environment, noting your reaction, observing your thoughts, and letting the thoughts float off as you aim to quiet your mind. A TV show becomes “meta” when it references itself. Meditation is very meta in that one uses their mind to monitor their thoughts and keep the mind silent to remain in the present moment (and not drifting off into the past or future). With the mind silenced, interesting thoughts do emerge, but meditation practice is about noting the thought and returning to peaceful silence.


I’ve encountered many challenges in establishing my meditation practice. I’m not a ‘disciplined’ person - I struggle with setting new habits and following them - preferring to make things up as I go along. My adult life is scattered with attempts to establish new habits or routines, only to find myself back in old patterns a week or two later.

My family has also presented me with challenging opportunities to improve my mindfulness. When I first started, they would interrupt, stare, and comment how unhappy I looked while meditating. On days we were running behind schedule, I would encounter resistence when I insisted that I can’t leave until my meditation practice is complete. All of this has turned something peaceful into a source of contention. After a year, much of the contention is gone, with my family reluctantly giving me a few minutes space before rushing off to start our day.

Habit Building

With all those challenges, I needed support in establishing this new habit. Thankfully, I had an accountability partner, a software app to remind me to meditate, and another new habit to build my meditation habit off of, essentially building this habit together with another.

In February 2018, I went to a course on Emotional Intelligence administered by BlueEQ. I went with a co-worker and through that course, we were paired up to coach eachother and hold eachother accountable for the next 90 days. While our initial EQ improvements were over by summer, we still touch base on a weekly basis. Once my meditation practice was on a roll, I felt that I had to continue it, or else I would let my co-worker down.

Many years ago a website launched named It contained a simple prompt for meditation and I enjoyed it, when I remembered to use it. They later launched a phone app, Calm, that I quickly installed on my phone. I used it for one whole week in September 2017 (thankfully it remembers for me), then about once a month until March 2018 when I started to use the app more consistenly, 4 or 5 times a week. The app reminds me to meditate daily, but it wasn’t until I had another habit to pair my meditation with that my meditation became a daily habit.

In September, I started a new habit - reading a daily devotional. This devotional uniquely appealed to me as it was titled Intellectual Devotional. This book contained a different lesson each day, so I could learn more about science, history, arts, music, philosphy, and world religions. Appealing to my intellectual curiosity, and quick and easy to read, it was easy for me to set a new habit of reading a page in this book before I started my day. By piggy-backing this with my meditation practice, I ensured both new habits were successful.


So what has this gotten me? I’m certainly no Budha and I haven’t reached Nirvana, but my meditation practice has helped me remain calm in moments of high stress, where I otherwise would’ve reacted poorly. I still have moments where I react too quickly and express myself in a poor way emotionally, but even then, I’m better equipped to analyze the results after. I have a better idea of how my mind operates, and while I’m still working on ways to focus it on the task of meditating, I am able to pause throughout the day and find little moments to be mindful. Finally, I would say that meditation has made me about 10% happier).


There are a few resources that I would recommend to anyone wanting to start a meditation practice or who just wants to know more about mindfulness in general. As mentioned before, the app Calm is a great resource. It has several free guided meditations and there are numerous guided meditations available if you purchase a membership. (If you try it, let me know - I’ve heard good things but haven’t tried it myself).

There is also the book 10% Happer: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works by news anchor Dan Harris. Dan takes us along his journey into meditation, the challenges he faced and ultimately how it makes him about 10% happier in his daily life. It’s refreshing to hear someone else’s journey, to see where it aligns with your own, and realize that we all encounter the same problems, challenges, and questions on our path.

Mindfulness: A Practical Guide by Tessa Watt examines several mindfulness and meditation techniques from a clinical stand point. If you want meditation strictly from a scientific perspective, this book provides just that. It provides a number of exercises to relax, slow down, and be more aware of your surroundings.

Finally, I just picked up A Year of Living Mindfully by Anna Black recently. This book contains a different lesson and exercise for each week of the year, aimed at building up one’s ability to pause, take stock of one’s surroundings, feelings, and thoughts, and better understand the relationship between them.


Establishing a new habit is not easy. With meditation, I’ve tried and failed on several occassions before. But, for a habit that make me feel better, react better, be more emotionally intelligent, to help me wrestle with my emotions, and to slow down to enjoy a few moments of peace before a crazy day, the struggle was worth it. I may have completed an entire year of daily meditation, but I have an entire lifetime of meditation still ahead of me.