The Key to Healthy Habits Lies in Planning Your Rituals
You are a product of your habits, and what you do occasionally matters a lot less than what you do on a regular basis. Your daily rituals create your habits, whether good or bad, which create your life.
You can usually take one look at a person and pretty much tell what their rituals are. If you notice someone who is very fit with little body fat and a lot of muscle, you can assume this person has a set of rituals that include eating a clean diet or going to the gym. Likewise, when you see someone who is morbidly obese, you might conclude that he or she has an inactive style of living and poor eating habits.
If you would like to test this further, sit outside of a Whole Foods Market for about 15 minutes and take a look at the people going in and out of the grocer. Notice their fitness levels, energy levels and skin complexions. Now do the same for any fast food restaurant or convenient restaurant chain. Do you see that there is an obvious difference in their daily rituals and habits?
Rituals With Purpose
Every dentist will tell you to brush your teeth after every meal. Since toothpaste can taste good, you might get a child to do this in order for them to develop a habit of brushing their teeth.. However, as the child grows up and if they learn that brushing after every meal leads to bright healthy teeth and less painful visits to the dentist, then the intention of brushing teeth has changed. Instead of brushing for the taste, the child will brush for the long-term benefits.
A habit (like brushing your teeth) is something that is done repeatedly for the sake of doing the action itself. A ritual (like brushing your teeth for the long-term benefits) is the intention of creating a habit by repeatedly doing something with a purpose outside of the action itself.
How much thought do you put into developing your rituals? For most people, it is not a lot. We have a tendency to give ourselves instant gratification by doing things such as drinking coffee, brainlessly snacking or watching hours of television. It is not planned. It is reactionary. You probably don’t wake up and say, “Today I am going to drink three cups of coffee, eat five pounds of processed foods, then watch two or three hours of TV while drinking four beers.” No!
If you don’t plan your life, then your life plans you!
Doing rituals with purpose means that you have the foresight to plan your day in a way that supports the life you desire. What is important for you to understand, is that in order for you to make your plan work, you must have the right rituals in place. Assess your current actions and make a plan for your daily rituals. Be purposeful and be sure to include things that you can do now to maximize your ultimate outcome.
Use Empowering Language
What do you think about in the mornings? Do you wake up thinking about what you have to do? Are you thinking about things that are stressful? Perhaps you rush off to work because you think you need to be there by a certain time. The difference between having a good day and having a day that is filled with stress begins with the words you choose and the meanings you attach to those words.
Understand a Want vs. a Need
As a fellow high achiever, I am always thinking about what I want to get accomplished. I would also wake up and my first thought would be, “What do I need to do today?” This would literally cause my day to start with a false sense of urgency. When you use the word need, you are implying that you are required to do something or else you are going to dye. You need oxygen. You need water. You need to stop bleeding if you’ve been cut. Those are things that you absolutely need. Everything else is about what you want.
Ask yourself questions that will put you in a state of gratitude such as, “What do I love about my life? What am I excited about? Who loves me? Who do I love?” Being grateful boosts well-being. A daily ritual of focusing on all that you are thankful for is linked to having a positive outlook on life.
Create Personalized Incantations
Incantations are something that you say, over and over again, with emotion, about something you want to bring into your life. Don’t just speak them, do them by empowering them with emotion. After saying incantations over and over again (with emotion), your brain believes it, and then your body aligns to the messages it is receiving. Some may think that incantations may be a bit weird or are just motivational mumbo jumbo. Yet, we are all doing incantations already. For example, whenever something happens that we don’t like, we might say, “Oh my gawd, I can’t believe this is happening” or “How can I be so stupid?” What happens is we are charging these with emotion. The point is that there are many incantations you are already doing now that do not necessarily serve your purpose. Instead of doing reactionary incantations, intentionally replace them with incantations that are purposeful. It is helpful to make a list of empowering incantations and post them where you can see and say them every day.
What we think and what we believe becomes our reality, not just mentally, but also physically. You can literally change your body with words and phrases you habitually use. The words and phrases that you use determine the quality of your life. Words create emotions. Emotions create actions. Actions create results. Choose your words that create the results you really want.