Daily rituals have the power to shape your day, week, month, year … in fact your life. Rituals increase productivity and creativity.
Creating your own rituals makes the new possible, carrying you forward into and through life.
Science has proven that we can “re-wire” our brain and re-write old habits with new ones. The field of neuroplasticity, of creating neural change is the pathway to re-writing old habits with new.
Establishing your own unique rituals and routines is an extremely effective way to create new neural pathways – think of it as damning an old river to create a new one.
Real change comes from doing and doing consistently.
30 days is the minimum time positive psychologists say it takes to create a new habit, I prefer to think of them as rituals, something that will be part of my life from this day forward.
For the greatest chance of success only introduce one or two rituals at a time until they become your daily norm.
“Having morning routines can supercharge your day while simultaneously creating a sense of calm and sanity in your life” – Leo Babuta – Zenhabits
Creating your ritual
Not a morning person, that’s OK whatever morning means to you is fine.
Take a deep breath and take time to reflect.
What Rituals would make your happier? What would you like to introduce into your life to live differently?
The creation of rituals is unique to you, to your needs at this point in time. This is not about quitting an old habit/ritual but creating something new. Sometimes the old habit/ritual naturally subsides.
Make a list of rituals that you think will help you get to where you want to go, both personal and professional:
- I want to get up an hour earlier,
- I want to read a book a month,
- I want to write a book this year,
- I want to swap coffee for tea,
- I want to improve my health starting with drinking more water,
- I want to regularly volunteer,
- I want to write a blog,
- I want to exercise daily whatever it may be
- I want more hugs (me to)
Highlight two of these rituals, the most urgent/important ones to introduce immediately.
Highlight two more, the next most important ones that you can introduce over the next two months.
Keys to success
Make it achievable – don’t set the ritual to run 5km every day when you currently run zero, start with setting the ritual of daily exercise whatever your schedule allows. Or if you want to write a book and haven’t written a word your ritual can be to sit for 15 minutes every morning with your coffee and write, just free write and see what happens
No more than two – Only add one or two at a time, you are creating life-long change it takes time, allow yourself the time to enjoy the one or two you are focusing on and note the difference it is making to your life.
Choose a day – pick a day to start and time of day that works for you and stick to it – I am a morning person and it is the one part of my day I can control so my morning rituals are non-negotiable.
Associate a new ritual with an old one – One of my new rituals was that I wanted to drink water as soon as I got up but I am not a fan of water, so I attached it to one of my other rituals drinking coffee. Before I drank my coffee, I drank my water and lemon. By associating it with something I already did at the same time I had more chance of success.
Do it with a friend – having a friend on the ritual ride with you can be a lot of fun and you can check in with each other to see how you are going.
Journal – take time to reflect on the difference it is making.
Celebrate success – I use a calendar and my elephant stamper for every day I hit my goal – if I don’t make a day I just roll forward to the next one – at the end of 30 days reward yourself, doesn’t need to be anything grand you can buy a new pen or have a cookie with your coffee!
These have been shaped over the years and I have to say my life is more fulfilled and simpler for having introduced them.
I rise early before 5.30am, I had to work up to this and started by setting my alarm 15 minutes earlier over the course of a month until I naturally started to rise before 5.30am. I love this time of day, the calmness the light, it is simply special.
I scrape my tongue (with a tongue scraper not romantic I know but great for your immune system).
I have a glass of water and then sit and meditate for 20 minutes. Then coffee of course and journal, my three morning pages as I learnt from the artist’s way (topic of a future conversation for sure), then I do some kind of movement, may be a walk but most likely time on my yoga mat, whatever I have time for 15, 20, 30 minutes, doesn’t matter it makes me feel good.
None of this was easy, my rituals have evolved over the years but have been pretty stable for the last three, sometimes the meditation is done on a plane or bus and that is ok.
I’ve added a few things from month to month like oil pulling or using charcoal toothpaste just see what works for me.
After 30 days or longer introduce your next ritual.
Most important enjoy and have fun!
“Having morning routines can supercharge your day while simultaneously creating a sense of calm and sanity in your life” — Leo Babuta – Zenhabits