One of the biggest mistakes that a new meditator can make, is to become judgemental about their ability to be mindful.
The scenario is that a meditator is being asked to place their attention on an object, such as the breath. When the mind drifts, the student is to bring the mind back to the breath. However, instead of bringing the mind back, the student starts criticising themself for ‘failing’ to keep the attention on the breath. This is a mistake because the criticising thoughts compound the distraction.
There is a simple counter to this self criticism – it’s kindness. You should apply it proactively. So now the instructions are like this: Place your attention on the breath. When you notice that the mind is no longer on the breath, fill yourself with the quality of kindness. Then, remembering your original intention, ride the kindness back to the breath.
If you find it hard to bring the quality of kindness to life, then practice it. Mindfulness and kindness are the two legs of a beginners’ practice. You need them both, so you can move along.