Here we are in July and half the year has come and gone. How are you doing with your New Year’s Resolutions or goals for the year?
Rituals are really a pretty darn cool tool. They’re simple, easy to implement and can lead to positive and lasting transformation. Think of a ritual as an action or series of actions done as a trigger or anchor point to shift your mindset, change your focus quicker, or steer your day in an intended direction.
Like having a cup of coffee first thing each morning to start your day. It triggers the next step in your day. When consciously chosen, you can use simple rituals to create powerful new habits.
That said, you can use rituals to not only build new habits, but to provide a supportive framework around your day or an experience, to shift energy and create more flow or to provide clarity, focus or motivation. I’ve also used rituals to provide more of what I need, like to soothe sadness, anxiety or pain. Think of that nice hot cup of calming tea after having a difficult conversation.
But enough with the drink references. The value of ritual is far reaching.
When I come into my office to write in the morning, I set an intention for what I want to accomplish during that time. This provides a container for my work, and with it, clarity of thought, a focused mind and the motivation to be successful in connecting through my writing.
Rituals are simply strategically placed actions sprinkled throughout your day.
You can think of them as dots of glue helping you to stick to your desired behaviors and actions throughout the day. Or like anchors plotted along your journey, keeping you on course.
As a creative person, I find that rituals can provide just the right amount of structure without leaving me feeling restrained or restricted.
As you reflect on your current habits and routines, you likely see some rituals of your own. Specifically, that trigger action that leads to the rest of the habit. You may even find some you are doing without consciously realizing it. Are they supportive and nourishing? Do they lead you into the behaviors, actions and feelings you want to be experiencing?
If you find yourself wanting to upgrade some of your current rituals and possibly installing some new ones to support the experience of life you’d like to have, here’s how to most easily do it.
How to bring ritual into your day
Start with the morning. The easiest way to start a new ritual and create a new habit is in the morning. You’re freshest facing a fresh day ahead. Why not start here? It will add a little bounce in your step going into the rest of your day. Forward momentum my friend.
Take small consistent action. No need to make big drastic changes. They lead to overwhelm and self-defeat. Instead, pick one small area to focus on first. Make a small change and do it every day. Then, add the next small step and do it each day.
Let go of perfection. You are reprogramming old patterns and habits here. Its hard work so cut yourself some slack. Just focus on the one small action step you’re committed to doing now, and do it.
3 powerful times to use rituals to support new habits
At work, I often use ritual to transition quicker and easier between tasks, allowing me to be more productive and make better use of my time. When I’m ready to stop one task, I get up out of my chair and stretch. I go to the kitchen to get a fresh cup of coffee or water. Then I sit back down at my desk. This signals to my body it’s time to switch gears. Then I set an intention for the next block of time and task ahead.
Rituals can be very effective in getting rid of a bad habit. Like, do you find yourself reaching for a snack at roughly the same time every afternoon? What triggered your desire for a snack? Did you look at the clock? Take a break from work? Once you figure out your trigger, that’s where you can insert your chosen ritual to change your behavior. So, maybe you look at the clock and decide to get up and take a short walk instead of having that snack. You can then begin to reprogram yourself to expect a walk in the afternoon instead of a snack.
Add rituals to be more successful in every area of life. Use them to give yourself the quality self-care and nourishment you need to thrive. You’ve heard it before, but you have so much more to give when your needs are met. Add a ritual to curb emotional eating, to stop negative head-talk or to face your fears. The possibilities are truly endless.
Are you ready to create your own supportive rituals? I’ve created a free downloadable worksheet to walk you through it. It’s called, Creating Your Powerful Ritual: Easily Empower Your Habits & Create Lasting Change. You can get it here. It’s time to transform those pesky draining or otherwise negative habits!