Creating new Rituals

I’ve hit on perhaps the most important aspect of success in life and business.  In order to really accomplish your goals you need two things:

  1. To know what to do.
  2. To get stuff done.

Getting started in business requires a change in your daily routines. Changing from the mentality of working for someone else to working for yourself is not as simple as it seems. That change is a big part of what many people get hung up on.

The book “Change or Die” really introduced me to the complexities involved with truly changing your behaviors and mindset. It involves more than just deciding that you want to take on something new. Think about how many people make New Years Resolutions and then never follow through. All the best intentions in the world is not enough to stick with a change. Even the threat of death isn’t enough to get people to make permanent change. The surprising thing is that no matter how much you think that you’re different, that you can change, the statistics tell a different story.

The other thing to note is the importance of good rituals. A ritual is a special type of habit that is designed with a logical purpose to accomplish a goal. Rituals free us from the decision making that we would otherwise have to make on a daily basis. Here’s the kicker. Psychology studies have shown that after taxing your mind with the stresses of decision making, your ability to complete intellectual problems is actually significantly reduced.

A good ritual allows you to get more done with less thinking.

So the real crux of the problem is: how do you make a new ritual stick?

Here are some tips:

  1. Be as specific as possible in what your ritual entails (how it will be done)
  2. Include transition time to allow time to deal with getting ready or changing your mindset.
  3. Ask yourself when and where you’ll do the ritual. (be very specific)
  4. Don’t take on too much at a time.  One new ritual per month is more than enough.
  5. Be prepared for the mental resistance you’ll get for the first 2-3 weeks.
  6. If you’re having a particularly hard time it could be that by adding the new ritual you’ve had to remove something that was a valuable part of your life.
  7. The support of friends and family is very important.  Someone that will really hold you to your commitments can be a real help.
  8. Visualize, and mentally rehearse everything you can.  Doing something mentally is sometimes better than actually doing it.
  9. Create smaller rituals that help you center yourself. Something as simple as closing your eyes and breathing could trigger you to disconnect from stress and focus on what’s important.
  10. Ensure that there is flow and reduce the chances that you have any reason to think during your ritual.  Leaving things in the right places so that you don’t have to go looking for them for example.  When you have to start thinking you’ll be more likely to get sidetracked.

In the last few months I have started changing my rituals and have noticed HUGE improvements in the amount of stuff I get done.  Hopefully these tips will help you create your own rituals.

At just $10 this book this book is perhaps one of the best investments you can make.  Tony Schwartz’s The Power of Full Engagement is a brilliant piece of work.