We are creatures of habit. There are certain things we do routinely, or ritualistically, in our lives. I’m sure we all do certain things every morning as we start our day. And we do them the same way.
For me, it would be waking up in the morning and going to the bathroom. And unfortunately, I’m on my phone for the first part of the day. I say unfortunately because this usually involves checking social media to see what everyone else in my circle of ‘friends’ ate for their last meal. Or to check in for any potential spoilers in the shows we watch.
Obviously I don’t need to be doing these things every morning when I wake. And I should add a new ritual to break this habit.
Another example of a daily routine can involve the commute in to work. Have you ever been deep in thought about something and driven right past where you need to turn? And when you finally snap out of your day dream you realize you’ve driven well past your exit.
But habits can be positive and helpful.
They can help us conserve energy. We don’t have to work too hard for something to comes to us automatically.
They can help us reduce brain fatigue. It does’t take a lot of focus or attention to brush our teeth in the morning.
They can help reduce stress. When things are straightforward and easy for us to do we can relax a bit. Think back to the last time you had to try something new. It was a little more stressful, wasn’t it?
They help us quickly complete a task. If we don’t something many times before we’ve most likely found more efficient ways to complete the task in less time.
They can help us do what we don’t have the motivation to do normally. For example, if someone struggle with the motivation to get enough physical activity maybe a new route home passed the local gym with facilitate getting started.
So how can rituals help you?
First, think of all the things that contribute to your health and fitness. Sleep, nutrition, activity and mindset all come to mind. Let’s look at making rituals for all of these.
- Sleep – Most people don’t get enough sleep. Most people don’t get to bed early enough. Most people are exposed to blu light too soon before bed.
Rituals that might help with this include putting your mobile device on the charger when you come home from work.
Spend your evening reading, visiting, playing games or doing puzzles.
Another tip would be to wash the sheets on Sunday. Fresh sheets is always a great way to encourage getting into bed earlier.
- Nutrition – Most people don’t eat breakfast. Most people don’t pack a lunch. Most people over-eat at dinner.
The rituals here would include making breakfast-to-go the night before. Think of smoothies, hard boiled eggs or oatmeal you can heat up at work if there’s no time at home.
If there is time to eat breakfast at home, make your lunch at the same time. Lunch is usually left-overs, a bar, some yogurt and a couple of pieces of fruit.
And if the challenge is over-eating switch to eating off a saucer instead of a plate. Most people don’t count calories but we do pay more attention to servings. So reduce your serving plate to reduce calories.
- Activity – Most people don’t do enough activity. Most people don’t train intensely enough. Most people don’t know what to do.
Sometimes a simple pedometer can help assign a number to how active we are in a day.
A heart rate monitor can help measure how much of spike we get in our training. And of course using a training journal allows us to track and monitor progress.
Investing in a coach ensures that you are doing the right things for your goals while preventing injury.
- Mindset – Many people doubt they can do it. Many people forget the good things in their life.
The truth is many of us are more capable than we realize. Some professional athletes have more talent that the rest. But a number don’t stand out in this area. Instead it’s their confidence and mental toughness that allows them to be great.
We’re living in a time when it seems like there isn’t too much to be happy about. One solution I read about recently was to write out one thing a day that you are grateful for and put in a jar. This could be as simple as saying I’m thankful to be alive today. Or I’m thankful for my family. Or my friends. Or that I don’t live in a country experiencing war or famine. After a period of time, maybe a month or so, go back and read the things you are grateful for. It will be quite a boost.
Going forward see what rituals you can incorporate your daily routines to help you live a leaner, healthier and happier life.