The Huge Impact of Everyday Rituals

The Multiplying Effect of the Daily Habits

Every day I get up from my bed, say hello to my family, I hit the shower and take care my personal hygiene, eat a light breakfast, and try to start my daily routine for the day to come! The family greeting and acknowledgment, the shower and the personal hygiene and the breakfast, are all the initial triggers “conditioning” me to unfold my everyday rituals and get the things needs to be done …, done!

The Huge Impact of Everyday Rituals

Rituals are things you repeatedly do because either has a certain reflection on you or provide certain results for you and your life!

Attitudes and Mindsets

Everything starts with you and you should be (or make an intentional and honest effort to be) the raw model of yourself. As in leadership, personal growth depends heavily on who you are, what you are prepared to do, what are your goals and vision, and what you can bring in the table! You cannot expect the world to be changed or give you permission to start doing what you have to do!

There are attitudes and mindsets that should change at a personal level for you to be able to utter a comprehensible demand on yourself! To that end (if you should choose to accept the mission of course) you should start working on yourself and on yourself investing in new ideas, behaviors, belief, skills, and knowledge, changes in the process what’s is no longer works.

This is a process of changing “identity”, old beliefs and behaviors (exactly as the high-end education and the good training should do) towards too many small and large things and situations,  in order to gradually become the person who is capable of make the difference in his/her life and in his/her world!

There are many beliefs, postures, practices, and attitudes you should choose from and adopt them! Among them the most effective ones for the agents and operators in life and business fields of our today digital and interconnected world, are the:

  • Life planning. Life planning is a procedure can provide you insights, scope, and intention to your personal and business life. For more information, you should consider reading the writings of Michael Hyatt on Life Plan, while Michael recently has prepared with Daniel Harkavy a new book on the subject. Michael approach is based on a positive attitude to life and the combination and management of key life components as priorities, outcomes and action plans
  • Healthy daily routines and habits. There are many good habits you can adopt in your life as everyday rituals and promote your personal or/and business goals in a success trajectory! Such habits/rituals may be the daily writing of a certain amount of words, the drink a lot of water, the frequent exercise, the healthy eating, etc.
  • Living intentionally. Most people take life for granted, but things are not always so! Life is far from a simple uncoordinated reaction to everything happens to you! Life is a gift, relates to your goals and mission and should be a fully conscious, proactive and intentional activity, aiming at making you and your world better. As A. Huxley had remarkably pointed out: “Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him”[Aldous Huxley, Texts & Pretexts: An Anthology With Commentaries]
  • Meditation. There are many schools and practices for meditation! You should practice and choose which one is best for you and adopt the best practices to help you relax and soothe your thoughts!
  • Pause or quiet time during your day. To find a quiet place and stay in peace for a small amount of time is one of the best practices I know to ease up your trouble thoughts and put the things in perspective. Typically a practice as that is a form of meditation, but you can do anywhere without too many formal restrictions as far as the posture or breathing concerns!
  • Martial Arts. Martial arts, when is done right, can also be, a wonderful way of preparing you to deal with various situations in life and business. Even though martial arts frequently have correlated to self-defense purposes, provide a holistic body-mind-spirit framework which can help you promote further your objectives (more information here!)
  • Praying. Praying is one of the most rewarding religious practices capable of focusing your mind and provide you insight, quality, purpose, direction, and scope in your life.
  • Visualization. Creative visualization is another cognitive practice, can help you to “straight out” many things of everyday life while provides you focus, purpose, and tools for developing the momentum you want, providing the results you have planned to bring!
  • Wabi-Sabi. Wabi-sabi is a Japanese attitude in life demanding to find the beauty in the imperfection. As a mental state, can help you accept the odd things in life, embrace the different, abandon the perfectionist filter in what you see and do and keep up with the things in life does not fit or does not agree with your mental ecosystem!
  • Gratitude. Gratitude is a powerful approach to life, helping you to realize the many gifts you may have, appreciated your life and leave behind the things have caused you problems in the past. As a formal practice is very useful in providing you a base for the development of a more self-conscious resilient and self-confident life!
  • Journaling. Recording your daily thoughts, ideas, to-dos, etc. is a very old practice! Keeping a journal or a diary and updating frequently though is a different kind of “note-taking”! Journaling it related to your personal deeper thoughts and feeling towards various things in life and provide you consistency and focus as far as your wants, to-dos, and life plans are! Other than that, writing, in general, can provide multiple results to someone and might help him/her to clarify a lot of things about his/her emotions!
  • Reading. Reading is the oldest form of a creative past time for the people and a unique way of keeping up with the changes in your world. The selection of appropriate and suitable for your life and business books is capable of helping you transform your life, find out new approaches and ideas and educate further yourself towards the direction you have selected. I am an ardent reader of many books (both in physical or electronic form) in various disciplines and I can affirm without a doubt that a good book can change your life. Just try it!
  • Listening to something of value. Same as reading but modern technology and the plethora of the many audiobooks, the variety of the existing podcasts and the quality of many radio shows can guarantee you that you would never be without a suitable for your objectives audio broadcast! The availability of such audio resources along to usability and accessibility provided by the modern technology (via smartphones, tablets, car consoles, PCs, etc.) provide a cheap way for keeping you always inform and up to date!
  • Physical exercise. There are many benefits of the physical exercise (like running, walking or swimming), especially today, which you spent most of your time in a sitting position. Physical exercise, when combined with healthy eating, good sleep, and proper hydration, can provide miraculous results in life and business (as many types of research have shown)!
  • Goal Setting. Goal setting as a daily ritual is a form of promoting your life goals throughout the day. There is a commitment when you re-affirm your goals on a daily basis (or periodically) something that can help you to move after your objectives with more determination! The goals you set should be SMART (in order to be feasible and achievable) and should depend on your values, your life goals and strategies, and your strengths and weaknesses. Part of the goals setting procedure is the accompanying ritual of prioritization, triage, and selection of your 3 daily MIT’s for implementation.
  • Organization. The organization, even in a light form, is a way for you of doing what matters most for your life and not crushed by the constant information overload, the clutter, and the uncontrollable demands of the other people. There are many methodologies, you can consider before you select the most suitable for you! But considering that there is not an endless process. In modern times life and business, it is essential the adoption of a proven life organization practice!

among other things!

Beliefs and Everyday Routines

There is a direct link, among your beliefs, your attitudes and your current mindset with your everyday rituals and your goals! The status and the intention of your inner status (your life goals, your values, your aspirations, your limitations, your beliefs, etc.) impacts and reflected your daily activities.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. (Aristotle)

If you haven’t selected clearly what you want to do, if your choices are poor, the result in your life and business is also a poor one

To adopt a certain number of specified actions and incorporated them into your everyday life is a matter of long, and painful, many times, process. Everyday rituals, though are habits you freely adopt for certain reasons and you practicing them periodically (usually on a daily basis) and intentionally because they bring significant results!

My Everyday Rituals

My daily routine (as the corresponding ones of many other people) is the distillation of many trial-and-errors things I have to do in the past and either work or not! In any case, what I have learned point me toward the direction of keeping the most “successful” ones (i.e. for me at least) and practice them up to the point of perfection!

The thing with high achievers (like a wannabe high achiever as myself) is that never anything is, quite, enough! There is always something new, a hack or a tweak you have to check on or incorporated into your life, a new approach to doing something, a new methodology to implement in your workflow!

But before you start to be an artist in the living an effective life, as in the piano practice (in piano before you become a virtuoso you need to master the basic keys and moves), you need first to select and stabilize some of your habits and adopt what’s working best for you!

This is, usually, means a time of contemplation, personal reflection, and filtering of the values, beliefs, habits, etc. that are appropriate for you and serve you best and a consequence, based on this process,  employment of the ones are the most effective for you!

This process should be coupled with a long-term life planning in which every habit, action, etc. you adopt and employ it in your life should (and must) defined by and depends on a cluster of previously done and design activities as is the definition of your values, you free adapted and intended life choices and strategies,  you general (and specific) goals, etc.

Before you select and define these procedures (the definition of the big stones of your life as Covey put it) it is impossible to employ successful rituals in your life that would promote you in the required direction!

I have done this exercise, long time ago, and found out a set of ritual I practicing for quite long now and “bootstrapping” me in a fresh and reinvigorating way to handle the daily personal and business tasks!

Of course, I do a lot of variations (psychology says that the automatic repetition of the same activities, may create fatigue and repulse to its execution voiding the results you want to bring by their practice) of the same rituals, but all these are small variations in a core ritual system (as more time for exercise, goals settings, etc.).

The whole set amounts for a total of 45 minutes!

  1. Visualization / Meditation (10 minutes). In this section belongs any practice can help you reboot your mind and focus on the important things you have to do in the day (in relation to your life and business goals)! Such practices might be the visualization, the quiet time (a time of inner examination for instance), praying, meditation, zazen, reading, bio-feedback activities, NLP centric exercises (like the reflection on the Sandwich feedback model, the practice on various NLP Techniques, or the focus on basic NLP exercises are), etc.
  2. Daily Planning and setting my MIT’s (5 minutes). Every day, after the visualization phase who have prepared my mind for the day, continues with an old ritual of defining the day’s’ activities and setting the MIT to be completed. This phase actually is a continuation of my previous day and depends heavily on the things I have not accomplished the previous day. This is a mission-critical activity for me because all my activities do not depend entirely on my discretion. Many daily activities involved appointments with clients, events to be attended, deadlines, papers, and budgets should be delivered, the communication with prospects, etc. So in this 5 minutes, I should balance all these in a coherent timetable and set my MITs in order! I usually do my activities in a batch and try to reserve only 1-2 days solely for out of office activities!
  3. Journaling (10 minutes). It is possibly my oldest practice along to physical exercises and my most profitable one. Typically speaking, writing and reading for me are of high importance! Especially journaling is an activity that makes me clear out my life goals, understand better myself and why I do what I do in such a way, as well to plan what I want to do for the future! Journaling along with mind-mapping permits me to disentangle many difficult subjects and handle every day “complexity” with relative ease!
  4. Physical exercise | fitness (20 minutes). There is no mystery in this! Exercise (along to good night sleep and plenty of water) is one the most important keys to developing a good, quality and healthy life! I had a long-standing relationship with various forms of exercising but today I try to do it in a shorter but with higher more intense manner, aiming at keeping a good and lean body along to an excellent physical condition (check here more workout methods to get in shape). I try to do at least 5 days x 20 min daily exercises while on times I implement more rigorous sets of specific and specialized for different body parts exercises! I use various devices and app to keep up with my diet and my fitness while at times I readjust the metrics to achieve different results. To keep up with my physical requirements (some of these come from my more rigorous training days in the army and in martial arts, but this is a different discussion. For a more rigorous training you can consult the wonderful book 8 Weeks to SEALFIT: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to Unconventional Training for Physical and Mental Toughness, by Mark Divine or you can check the corresponding training program).

I use many metrics to help me keep up with my objectives and maintain my “good” health habits! Some of these include stretching and local walking at least once every 2 hours, light lunch, plenty of water, minerals and vitamins intake, everyday walking of at least 5 km, a 1000 words a day writing principle, everyday reading, note-taking and documenting many internal and external processes, etc.

What is of major importance though is to maintain and perform my everyday rituals despite my other obligations, chores or the things I have to do during the day!

Question: What are your everyday rituals? Do you use any special applications or templates to track your everyday rituals, your daily habits, etc? What is your experience with everyday rituals? You can send me a note here!

    Takis Athanassiou is an IT Consultant, Blogger, Trainer & Writer, active in the areas of leadership, business consulting, e-Learning and social media. He aims at the development of people, business and assets! You can check out his blog, add him in Google+ and follow him on Twitter.

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