Never assume that you’re stuck with the way things are right now. You aren’t.
Things can change if you want them to, at any age. Life changes every single moment, and so can you.
How to Create and Implement Daily Rituals:
This 7-step process is fairly simple and, if you diligently stick to it, basically infallible:
- Focus on one (and only one) positive change at a time. – You can break this rule, and sadly most people do, but don’t be surprised if you fail because of it. If you try to do too much, nothing gets done right. Implement one positive change and make it a ritual for a month before considering adding to it or starting a second. Only build upon your ritual if you were successful, otherwise stick to it until it feels like second nature to you.
- Start small. – I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but again no one ever does it. Start with a daily ritual that lasts 10 minutes or less. If you feel incredible resistance and fail at 10 minutes, drop it to 5 minutes, or 3 minutes, and then stick to it for a full month.
- Create a trigger that automatically initiates your ritual each day. – A mistake lots of people make is trying to complete their ritual at the same exact time each day – like 8am sharp. The problem is life’s scheduling conflicts often get in the way of a rigid schedule, so on many days the ritual ends up being pushed back until tomorrow. To mitigate this, use something you automatically do every day as the trigger to start your ritual. For example, after you eat breakfast, after you brush your teeth, after you arrive at the office, after you turn on your computer, after you return home and walk through the front door, etc. The exact time doesn’t matter.
- Make a sincere verbal commitment to someone (or multiple people). – Make sure it’s with someone whose opinion you respect. For example, I made a commitment to workout for 30 minutes every day to Angel. I’ve also made commitments to my parents, to close friends, to my son, to readers of our blog, to coaching/course students, to companies I’ve done business with, and more.
- Set up an accountability system with an accountability partner. – Taking my workout example with Angel … each day I have to update a shared Google calendar showing how many minutes I’ve worked out, and she can (and does) check this calendar daily to make sure I’m on track. Your accountability tool of choice doesn’t matter – you can post to Facebook, email someone, or have a 5-minute face-to-face accountability meeting. Just make sure someone is holding you accountable each day, not each week, or each month. And make sure the person is actually checking in with you. If they don’t check in with you, you need to find a different accountability partner.
- Create consequences for slacking off. – The most significant consequence of not following through with your daily ritual is losing the respect of those who you have made a commitment to. But you can create other slightly more fun consequences: Recently I made a promise to a group of friends that I would donate $100 to a political campaign I’m not fond of each time I didn’t follow through with my commitment. I haven’t missed my commitment yet. I’ve also made a promise to eat octopus sushi if I slacked off (and I won’t , because eating raw octopus is repulsive to me – like eating a rat). I’ve promised to sing embarrassing karaoke songs in front of strangers if I failed. The consequences can also be positive – a reward each week if you don’t miss a day, for example. Also, make the consequences more severe if you miss two days straight, and even more severe if you miss three, etc.
- Review and enjoy the daily progress you’re making. – Taking two minutes to reflect on your daily accomplishments each evening is a healthy way to raise self-confidence and contentment. It’s also an effective way to motivate yourself. If you don’t do this, you’ll likely lose track of the fact that you’re moving in the right direction. So keep notes and write down at least one thing you made progress on each day and why it mattered. Do this consistently for a month straight and watch how it affects your happiness and productive output.
That’s it. Ritualize these seven steps, and you’ve got a changed life. I challenge you to put them into action today.