create your own mantra

The tangents that a busy mind travels down during meditation are sometimes surprisingly ridiculous. The other day, I sat down to clear my mind and 5 minutes later, I was actively thinking about surfing...in detail. I've never even been surfing; my mind had been running absolutely wild. I reign it in, only to be yanked out of control in the next minute's daydreams. Know the feeling?
create your own mantra : wholehearter
This guy is probably thinking about something like roast-beef or the hole in his left sock.
There's nothing wrong with being distracted during meditation; it's only natural and it's what helps us to develop discipline. If it makes you feel any better, some say that even experienced practitioners can only truly keep a controlled mind for an average of about 3 breaths. But sometimes, your meditation might need a little extra help and that's where a mantra can come to the rescue.

A mantra is just a word or sound that is repeated either in your head or out-loud to help aid in concentration for meditation. If you know that you are going to have a rough time meditating before you even start, give yourself some time to develop a mantra to help guide you and stay on track.

1.) Eliminate obvious distractions. If you're hungry, get a snack. Shut your cell phone off. Put the kids away...etc. 
2.) Address internal distractions. Know what's bugging you most. Maybe even jot down a few things that are most stressful or distracting for you.  
3.) From there, take a look at your (hopefully small) list. Try to find a common thread, such as confusion, busyness or just stress in general. 
4.) Once you've found that common stress-inducing thread, think of the opposite feeling, word or emotion. Use that word (or a short phrase including that word) to create your mantra!  
Examples:
If you're fighting feelings of chaos, your mantra might be or include the word   "peace" or "calm"
If your source of worry stems from an overwhelming calendar, you might repeat, "Now is my time for meditation" or "I am here."
If you are having trouble keeping a steady breath, a mantra could be as simple as: "I am breathing in. I am breathing out."

The more simple and obvious the mantra, the better. Let it be elementary; it doesn't have to look good on a t-shirt or sound like a Gandhi quote, it's just meant to give personal meaning and focus to your practice. The mantra can be slowly repeated over and over to give your mind a concrete focal point. 

Meditation is hard, but it's worth a shot if you're looking for a truly transformational shift in your life. Meditation practice is awesomely accessible because you don't need physical health to start, you don't need any special equipment, you don't have to sit in any special posture or wear certain clothes and you certainly don't have to be perfect. It's about the process. Sometimes, you still might find yourself just sitting quietly with your eyes closed, faking meditation, letting your mind fly in a hundred different directions. But at least you're being quiet for a few minutes. And at least you're trying. So keep going. :)