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The Power of Rituals
Have you been evaluating your daily habits and routines? You may have heard us talk about transforming a habit into a ritual. This article takes a deeper dive into just what that looks like.
Routines, habits and rituals are different. Habits are things you do automatically. They can be productive or destructive and are often developed without you realizing you are creating habits.
Routines are a collection of habits that may be strung together. For example, most people brush their teeth in the morning, may floss, wash their face, take a shower, put on deodorant – you get the idea. This is their morning routine.
Rituals take habits and routines and add intention and purpose to them.
This amplifies the power of the activity and infuses it with meaning. Researchers have shown rituals have amazing benefits:
- Reduces anxiety
- Up-levels performance
- Increases compliance
- Provide order and meaning
Rituals are precise, specific and become automatic. As human beings, we are motivated by the “why” and not the what. By transforming your routines into rituals, you will engage more of you (and your team).
Rituals integrate the mind and the heart making it more compelling than a ‘to-do’ list.
Here are the 3 ways to transform habits into rituals:
1. Recognize the time you are spending on this activity is paramount to your success.
This is true for any habit including something as simple as brushing your teeth. One way to tell how important something is would be to consider the impact of not doing it. What would happen if you did not brush your teeth? Bad breath, stained teeth, poor impression, and maybe even offending someone. Not to mention the health risks like gum disease and bone loss in your jaws.
Every time your brush your teeth, tell yourself how important this is to your success, and imagine yourself succeeding during your day, making a great impression, exceeding your goals. Now brushing your teeth is not just something to get through, but 2 minutes worth of visualization and motivation. It is an activity that inspires you and engages your whole person.
Think about how your time to eat healthy, exercise, etc. impacts your long range goals. Consider the impact of not doing it and how this slows down your progress.
2. Begin and end the ritual with a special transition.
Think about your family rituals; holding hands in prayer before the meal, high fives when something good happens, a gold star for good grades. Maybe you have holiday rituals like putting out a special candle or decoration to make the beginning of a holiday season. Neighborhoods are decorated with Halloween, Easter Eggs, Christmas and many sports events letting everyone know something special is about to happen.
Turn your rituals into a special time with an opening or close; use essential oils and deep breathe, listen to music, light a candle, sip some water. Create a simple yet distinct opening and close to your ritual.
3. Respect your ritual and eliminate distractions.
When you set up your activity as a ritual you have assigned meaning and purpose to it. It is not just another activity to get through. Make sure you turn off all your distractions, remove devices, close the door. Set an alarm so you respect the time for this ritual as well as your other activities.
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