How to Build Daily Rituals That Keep You Consistent
We become what we repeatedly do.
Consistent, massive action, and self-discipline are all no doubt key requirements for achieving any worthwhile goal. In fact, they are key requirements for success in any field of endeavor. However, there is one additional element required for success that we haven’t yet discussed. That element, of course, comes down to the rituals you partake in each day that help keep you mentally focused, alert, motivated and on track.
Rituals can be described as the consistent daily actions you take that help you build habits over a period of weeks, months and years. Those habits then of course effectively help shape your thoughts, beliefs, and emotions.
Now, whether you realize it or not, you already partake in a multitude of daily rituals. For instance, the act of brushing your teeth first thing in the morning is a daily ritual. Or what about the morning breakfast ritual? Or how about the ritual of watching your favorite television show at the same time every week? These are just three examples of the dozens of rituals you undoubtedly indulge in every single week.
All these rituals you partake in effectively power your day. In fact, these rituals shape every decision you make and action you take. Moreover, they actually go a long way towards shaping your life and destiny — for better or worse. I say “for better or worse” because you no doubt have some rituals that provide you with long-term value, and others that will eventually make you feel miserable about yourself.
The rituals we partake in can, of course, feel good, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are good for us, or that they serve the attainment of our long-term goals. For instance, let’s take a look at the ritual of snacking on a bag of chips each time you switch on the television. This ritual will make you feel good, but it’s not necessarily good for you and certainly doesn’t serve the greater good of helping you achieve your weight-loss goals.
Or let’s say you have a ritual where at a certain point during the day you over-indulge in social media. This ritual feels good, but is it good for you? Is it good for the goals that you would like to achieve? Unless you’re a social media marketer who uses social media for research purposes, then the answer is probably “no”. It will, of course, feel good, but long-term this ritual will probably only lead to regret and make you feel miserable in the process.
All this, of course, relates back to the pain-pleasure principle and to your ability to avoid instant gratification. Understanding how these two forces influence your life will help you to take control of your daily impulsive decisions and actions.
So, all-in-all there are no doubt positive and empowering rituals that can help move us closer to our goals. Likewise, there are negative and limiting rituals that will only lead us astray. The key is to develop a set of empowering rituals that will help you stay focused, motivated and on track toward achieving your goals. But how do we do this? Where do we begin?
Getting Familiar with Your Daily Rituals
It all, of course, begins with familiarizing yourself with the kinds of rituals you currently indulge in, while also outlining the types of changes that you would ultimately like to make. Ask yourself:
What kind of daily/weekly rituals do I consistently indulge in?
Which of these rituals make me feel good about myself?
Which of these rituals are actually good for me and good for the goals I would like to achieve?
Which of these rituals feel good but do not serve the greater good of the goals that I would like to achieve? In other words, which of these rituals are pleasurable but will ultimately lead to pain and regret?
Given this, which of my rituals do I consider to be helpful? Which do I consider to be unhelpful?
Which rituals are actually producing positive long-term results? Which rituals are empowering and motivating?
Which specific rituals are hindering me in some way?
How are all my rituals shaping my life? How are they shaping my finances, relationships, health, career and the goals that I would ultimately like to achieve?
Exploring your rituals using these questions helps you to get a deeper sense of how they are effectively shaping every aspect of your life. Moreover, it allows you to put a stop to rituals that may no longer serve your greater good.
Building Empowering Rituals
Now that you are familiar with some of your less-than-optimal rituals, let’s take a look at what an empowering ritual actually looks like. In fact, let’s explore the components of what goes into an empowering ritual to help you build momentum toward your goal.
For starters, an empowering ritual must be meaningful, engaging and purpose driven. In other words, it must support your Personal Legend and your values. Furthermore, it must effectively connect you to your passions through your goals and personal standards.
In addition to this, an empowering ritual must keep you inspired, motivated, energized and focused. It must help stimulate your imagination, creativity, and productivity, while also helping you become more resourceful through purpose-driven action. But maybe most importantly, it must keep your life simple and balanced. There is no point overcomplicating your rituals. The rituals you build must be simple, fun and straightforward. Only in this way will you consistently persist with them over the long-haul.
This is no doubt a lot to take in. There are many factors that go into building empowering rituals. However, you don’t necessarily need to get lost in the details. Instead, focus on building rituals that help support the attainment of your goals and life objectives. Any rituals that don’t quite support this mission are just not worth indulging in. You must first, therefore, be very specific about what it is you want to achieve before you specify the rituals you will partake in.
To gain clarity about what it is you want to achieve please have a look at The GROW Model, Setting Smart Goals, and the Goal Setting Process. These articles will help you to figure out what it is you want so that you can start building empowering rituals that support your objectives.
However, if you prefer to take a little bit of a shortcut, then the following set of questions will also suffice. Ask yourself:
How would I like my life to change?
What improvements would I like to make?
What specific goals would I like to achieve?
What types of personal standards would I therefore need to uphold to help support these improvements and goals?
How would I like to feel after each ritual I partake in?
Given this, what kind of specific rituals would I like to develop that will help keep me focused, motivated, productive, energized, inspired and on track toward the attainment of my goals?
Your answers to these questions will help you to lay down the foundations for building a set of empowering rituals that support the goals and objectives you have set for yourself. However, I don’t just want to stop there. I want to go one step further by providing you with very specific examples of the types of rituals you can adopt that will help keep you on track.
Within the remainder of this article let’s take a look at a plethora of examples of morning, workday, evening and various success rituals you can adopt that will help you to stay focused and on track toward achieving your goals.
All the ideas that will be outlined below are proven rituals that will get you optimal results in the long-run. All you need to do is commit yourself to partaking in these rituals consistently over an extended period of time. Only in this way will you reap the rewards and benefits that these rituals have to offer.
Now, of course, you don’t necessarily need to adopt each and every one of the rituals that are outlined below. You can simply pick the rituals that serve you best and filter out the rest. The key is to be selective by picking and choosing rituals that will provide you with the highest return on the time you invest. How you measure these returns, of course, depends entirely on your situation and on the goals you have set for yourself. Therefore you must choose wisely because your destiny depends on it.
Examples of Morning Rituals
Getting your day started on the right track first-thing in the morning can effectively put you in a more optimal state-of-mind. This is where morning rituals come into the picture.
Developing a set of morning rituals can help to refocus your mind on what’s most important and therefore lay down the foundations for the remainder of your day. As a result, you will work with a deeper sense or purpose, passion, and urgency, which will subsequently boost your levels of productivity.
Morning rituals, of course, don’t need to be complicated, and they certainly don’t need to take up a large chunk of your morning. A set of morning rituals as long as three hours or as short as 15 minutes can be just as effective with helping you get into an optimal state-of-mind.
When creating a morning ritual think about various activities you can undertake that will help enhance your energy, desire, and vitality. With these three elements in place, you will subsequently feel more confident, motivated and focused on what’s most important. And in combination, it will allow you to build the necessary momentum you need to get your day started on the right track.
Rituals for When You Wake Up
Your morning rituals should begin the moment you awaken. Ideally, you should wake up at the same time each day; mentally ready and alert to jump into your morning ritual routine. Here are three simple rituals you can do immediately the moment you open your eyes:
- Immediately smile and get excited about the day ahead.
- Take 10 slow deep breaths with a focus on inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
- Drink a glass of warm water with lemon to help alkalize and hydrate your body.
These are three very simple rituals, but they are of immediate value because they effectively help energize your body.
Now before getting out of bed, we also need to focus on energizing your mind. To do that spend just a few minutes in bed asking yourself the following set of questions:
What am I proud of?
What am I happy about?
What am I grateful for?
What am I passionate about?
What am I looking forward to doing today?
What am I committed to doing today?
Asking and answering these questions immediately focuses your mind on what’s most important in your life right now. This subsequently makes you feel better about yourself while providing you with a positive outlook for the day ahead.
Rituals for After You Get Out of Bed
Let’s now take a look at some empowering morning rituals for after you get out of bed.
There are really no written rules here. The rituals you decide to partake in will depend on your life circumstances and on the goals you have set for yourself. However, there are certain things you can choose to focus on that successful people typically incorporate into their morning routine. For instance:
- Spend 5 to 30 minutes exercising or dancing to your favorite music. This will effectively help energize your body.
- Eat a healthy rejuvenating breakfast that makes you feel good about yourself.
- Read 5 to 20 pages of a self-development book that explores a topic related to your goals or to the projects you are working on. The more immediately applicable and actionable the advice, the better.
- Ponder over a handful of inspiring quotes that can help guide you throughout the day.
- Spend time meditating or visualizing your day’s priorities and how you will accomplish them.
- Review your life’s purpose, personal standards, and goals. Take time to either read them over or better still, write them down from scratch.
- Journal your thoughts, feelings and the expectations you have for the upcoming day. Also, lay down your intentions for what’s to come.
- Call up your accountability partner (a family member, friend or colleague) and discuss the progress you made yesterday, what you learned from your experiences, and how committed you are toward accomplishing new tasks and goals today.
These are all relatively straightforward morning rituals, however, each of these rituals will help build the confidence and motivation you need to generate the necessary momentum to get you through the day.
Keep in mind that you can also mix and match some of these rituals. For instance, instead of reading a self-development book you could listen to the audio version while you are exercising. Or you could ask your morning focus questions while you’re meditating or taking a shower.
How you go about these rituals is completely up to you. The key is to develop a morning routine with a set of rituals that will help you start your day off on the right track. Your objective is, of course, to put yourself in the right state-of-mind to help build momentum that will carry you forward for the remainder of the day.
Let’s now take a look at how to carry that momentum with you as you enter your workday.
Examples of Workday Rituals
Effective workday rituals help boost your attention and levels of concentration. Moreover, they allow you to stay focused and productive throughout the day.
Developing workday rituals is not as easy as building morning rituals. Our workday isn’t always as predictable as our mornings can be. During the morning you will typically have time for yourself and can, therefore, undertake certain rituals without distraction. However, during the day distractions are a common occurrence and developing effective rituals becomes a little more challenging. However, it certainly can be done.
Staying Focused Throughout the Day
Your main objective throughout the day is to keep yourself focused. The best way to do this is to continuously ask solution focused questions.
Questions help direct your focus and attention on the things you ask questions about. Therefore asking solution-oriented questions that keep your attention on what needs to get done will help you maintain that focus and concentration for longer periods at a time. Questions such as:
What’s the most important thing I could be doing right now?
How can I get this done faster and more efficiently?
What’s a better way to undertake this task?
These questions are simple, but they are extremely powerful as they will help you to refocus your mind on what’s most important at any time.
Another handy way to stay focused comes in the form of mantras. Mantras are positively stated phrases that you repeat throughout the day. For example:
I am committed to getting this task completed…
I always work smarter rather than harder…
I am capable, creative and dependable…
Repeating these mantras consistently throughout the day can help remind you of the type of mindset you must cultivate to follow through with your desired actions in order to accomplish your goal.
Types of Workday Rituals
If we are to address the fact that workday rituals must keep us focused and productive, then it’s worthwhile to consider developing rituals in the following areas:
- Develop rituals for when you’re commuting to and from work. For instance, instead of listening to music or to talkback radio, listen instead to an audiobook.
- Develop rituals for preparing appointments and meetings to save yourself time and effort.
- Develop rituals for lunch breaks. Have a think about how your lunch break can be used more effectively instead of just for eating and gossiping with your colleagues.
Essentially your workday rituals must address ways you can effectively save time and effort throughout the day. The more time and effort you save the more productive you will be, allowing you to get more done in less time.
In the end, it all effectively comes down to your ability to maintain productive habits during work hours that will help you to work smarter rather than harder. And that is essentially your objective when it comes to building empowering workday rituals.
Examples of Evening Rituals
Evening rituals are similar to morning rituals in that they allow you time to focus on activities without the typical distractions you tend to get throughout the day.
When it comes to evening rituals it’s important to build them with a focus on self-reflection, growth, learning, and preparation.
Self-Reflection and Learning Rituals
The evening is a time for self-reflection where you look back on your day and take time to contemplate what worked, what didn’t work so well, and how you can potentially improve things moving forward.
The specific things you focus on will, of course, depend on how your day unfolded, however, in general, you might want to focus on four key areas:
- How you handled conflict.
- How you coped emotionally.
- How you capitalized on opportunities.
- How you produced value for others.
Your objective here is to take some quiet time to sit down and reflect on these areas and explore what happened, how you responded and what you can learn from these circumstances to make improvements for tomorrow.
In addition to this, you might also like to focus on what specifically you accomplished throughout the day. To do this you can ask yourself the following set of questions:
What did I accomplish today? How? Why?
What did I initially plan but failed to accomplish today? Why?
What did I learn from this experience?
What specifically did I do well today?
What mistakes were made today?
What did I learn from these mistakes?
What specific decisions did I make today?
Why did I make these decisions and not other decisions?
How effective were these decisions?
How did I cope emotionally as a result?
What needs improvement moving forward?
When it comes to improvement, the key is to focus on the kind of person you need to become in order to achieve your goals and objectives. For instance, this person (an ideal version of you) holds a certain set of standards, cultivates very specific beliefs and values, works in a certain way aligned with a specific set of priorities, and thinks about problems using a unique set of criteria. You need to become this person to achieve your goal, and therefore any improvements you make — moving into tomorrow — must help you grow more into this person.
Another helpful ritual that is guaranteed to improve your productivity moving into tomorrow comes in the form of taking the time to prepare for the next day. You can either do this through the act of visualization or through working on paper.
Your objective here is to take the time to ask yourself a set of questions that will help you walk through exactly what needs to get done tomorrow. You can, for instance, ask yourself:
What must be accomplished tomorrow?
What are my highest priority activities?
How will I accomplish all these things?
What problems or setbacks might I face along the way?
How will I respond to these challenges while staying focused and productive?
This is not just about writing up a priority list of things to do, this is rather about mentally working through the process of how you will accomplish these tasks in the face of potential problems and setbacks.
Most people will typically maintain high levels of productivity throughout the day; that is until they get unexpectedly sidetracked, distracted or when an unfortunate problem arises. In order to avoid these pitfalls, it’s important to prepare yourself in advance for potential setbacks. Only in this way will you be able to maintain high levels of productivity throughout the day.
Examples of Success Rituals
Success rituals are not specific for the morning, day or evening. They are rather interchangeable rituals that you can insert into various parts of your day, week or month.
These rituals are designed to move you forward by helping you build the momentum you need to achieve your goals and objectives.
Examples of success rituals include:
- Committing yourself to constant improvement.
- Committing yourself to planning ahead.
- Committing yourself to self-reflection.
- Conducting regular goal reviews.
- Keeping track of your progress and results.
We have already touched upon some of these rituals within your morning and evening routine. However, let’s take a look at them here again in a little more detail.
A Commitment to Constant Improvement
This is all about understanding the value of consistent learning and growth. This growth can, of course, come through reading books, through listening to podcasts, through taking classes, through attending seminars, through gaining practical experience, etc.
In order to achieve your goals, you must constantly be learning, and becoming more every single day. This, of course, requires work on your part; it’s certainly not a passive act. Instead, you must develop specific rituals that you integrate into your day that will help you in this regard.
Whether it’s reading a book for 20 minutes per day, or listening to an audiobook while commuting, or maybe regularly going through an online course; no matter what it is for you it must be something that you commit to doing consistently. Only in this way will you turn a successful ritual into positive results in your life.
A Commitment to Planning Ahead
Successful people don’t just “wing it”. They actually have rituals in place that help them to plan ahead.
Achieving success in any field of endeavor is a process. It’s a process that takes time and planning. You must, therefore, take the time to develop adequate planning rituals that will help you to anticipate problems in advance while also optimizing your workflow throughout the day.
A Commitment to Self-Reflection
Self-reflection has tremendous power in how it allows you to learn from your mistakes and failures and subsequently make adjustments moving forward.
It’s only when we take the time to contemplate “what was” that we gain the necessary insights and wisdom in order to make better decisions in the future.
The path toward your goal is never a straight line. It’s full of unexpected twists and turns. And the only way you will successfully navigate through these twists and turns is by learning from your experience and then making adjustments moving forward.
Given this, it’s critical that you take the time to develop a ritual for self-reflection that will allow you learn from “what was” in order to improve what “could be” in the future.
Conducting Regular Goal Reviews
Another form of self-reflection is to conduct regular goal reviews. These goal reviews allow you to reflect back on your progress and make adjustments moving forward.
High achievers typically track their progress and results. They always know what they have accomplished, as well as what they have failed to accomplish and the reasons why they didn’t reach their goal. This allows them to make the necessary adjustments moving forward to bring their goals to fruition.
You can, of course, track your progress using spreadsheets, journals, sketches, photo albums, etc. How you choose to track your progress will depend on the goals you have set for yourself. However, the key ritual here is to conduct regular goal reviews that help you identify where you’re at along your journey. This is best accomplished through the process of asking yourself a set of questions that help you explore your goals. For instance, you could set time aside once a week and ask yourself the following set of questions:
What did I achieve over the past week?
What did I fail to achieve over the last seven days?
How far was I from achieving these goals?
What happened along the way that prevented me from achieving them in the timeframe I had set myself?
What specific problems and obstacles did I face?
Why were these obstacles even relevant in the first place?
Was I the cause of these problems? Did I sabotage my own success? How? Why?
What adjustments must I make moving forward in order to avoid facing the same or similar problems?
What am I focused on right now?
Is what I’m focusing on getting me closer to my desired goals?
What changes must I make moving forward?
Developing a ritual where you consistently review your goals in this way will help you to make regular adjustments moving forward. As such, you will rarely lose momentum because you’re constantly modifying and making improvements as you progress along your journey.
These are just some examples of a handful of success rituals you can adopt into your daily and weekly routine. Individually they might not dramatically transform your life, but in combination, they can become your greatest ally on the road toward your goal.
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