This week we are talking about your morning rituals to achieve a successful day. Artistotle said, “we are what we repeatedly do”. Rituals; ah, there is something that sounds so nice about that isn’t there? Or, totally confining for some people. Nevertheless, we can see them a bit differently and understand how they can support us.
But, what do we mean by ritual? Rituals can be defined as those symbolic behaviors performed before, during AND AFTER a meaningful event; typically. Now, this may be why many individuals don’t establish rituals at the beginning of their day. We might just not be seeing each day as “meaningful”or symbolic.
The big question we can be left to answer however is, does having rituals work? Well, if they are done consciously or rather, mindfully, they do. However, when we do them mindlessly, they can turn into superstitions too. Some “rituals” from some famous athletes are the following: MJ wore his NC shorts under Bulls shorts every game, Wade Boggs of the Red Sox woke up at the same time every morning, ate chicken before every game and took exactly 117 ground balls in practice, took batting practice at 5:17 and ran sprints at 7:17. How’s that for some significant rituals? So, athletes and social cultures have seemed to know the power of ritual for quite some time.
But, does it work? Guess what, it does! Research not only in sports but also in family and work life is showing that having daily rituals allow us to enjoy life more and also, allow us to stay on track with our decisions. For example, families that have dinner together each evening report greater connection and presence with each other. Ritutals can also be used in overcoming procrastination. From the research of Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habit he gives some guidance about setting a timer and allowing ourselves to go nuts on Facebook. Then, when the timer goes off, take your first action on your project. In relationships; a ritual that incorporates telling each other one great piece of good news and both celebrating that has very powerful impacts on connection. Also, a 2008 study by University of Toronto professor Chen-Bo Zhong found that doing something habitual like taking a walk, a nap or washing the dishes supported creativity by allowing the brain to unconsciously process information.
And here’s the good news: it doesn’t matter what your ritual is, just get one! Whatever allows you to feel good each day.
So, how do rituals help you and what are your favorite daily rituals?
The Leadership Weekly
Weekly wisdom from the DS Leadership Life Team