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How to use rituals to kick-start new habits.

If you're like most people, you probably want to be happier and more productive, but like many people discover, it's hard to form new habits to make lasting changes.

An easy way to bring about change to your life is to develop positive daily rituals. These rituals can help you to bring more positive habits into your life and can ultimately make you happier and healthier.

There is an old saying that goes, “Take care of the days and the years take care of themselves”.  This quote is as true today as when it was originally written.  This idea is so simple that it is often overlooked or dismissed in search of something more advanced or complicated.

In the book “The Power of Full Engagement”, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz talk about the importance of developing positive daily rituals.  They refer to the fact that long-term success can be directly related to the number of positive rituals an individual has developed.

A good exercise to do is analyse your day.  

Do it from start to finish.  What has become your routine?  When do you wake up?  What do you eat for breakfast?  What books do you read?  When do you exercise? Who do you socialise with? What TV shows do you watch? Do you engage in negative gossip? What do you do with your downtime?  

Once you’ve done this for a day or better still, a week, go back and decide if your daily actions will bring about growth and improvement to your life.

If they are, keep going.  If they do not, what can you do differently or change so that they do?

Here is an example:

Option A - Imagine that your morning ritual is as follows:

  • Wake up late
  • Rush out the door without breakfast
  • Grab a coffee and fast food on the way to the office while listening to talk back radio.
  • Arrive late and stressed

Option B – Now let’s imagine instead that your morning ritual is to:

  • Wake up early
  • Enjoy a large glass of water
  • Have a brisk workout
  • Take time to read some positive literature while enjoying a nutritious breakfast.
  • Leisurely drive to the office

How will the rituals of Option A versus Option B affect our lives if repeated over the course of ten years?  Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Physically – How different will I look?
  2. Emotionally – How will I feel. Will I be happy?
  3. Mentally – What state will I mostly be in?
  4. Professionally - Where will I be?

You can probably see from this example how different your life would be by just developing a positive morning ritual.  Now let’s magnify this concept by imagining a full day ruled by positive rituals.  

What would your ideal day look like?

Break your day into the rituals or routines that you perform. Your morning ritual, lunchtime ritual, after work ritual, dinner ritual, bedtime ritual, weekend rituals etc. Examine those routines that you perform without thinking.

When would you exercise?  What would you read?  What would you eat?  Whom would you spend time with? What television shows would you watch?  How would you treat the people around you? What would you talk about with your friends? The greater the detail, the better.  

Now, write out in detail, your ideal day.  

When you are done, read it daily and step by step, work towards making your perfect day become a reality.

By examining your life in this manner, and changing your daily and weekly rituals, you are actually taking steps towards creating positive habits and ultimately bringing about long term growth and positive change to your life.

If you’re looking for a way to develop some positive daily rituals, we suggest trying out Martial Arts at the Academy of CKD Martial Arts.

Martial Arts can help you form new physical and mental habits while also providing great exercise and self-discipline. The best part is that the Academy of Choi Kwang Do in Hermit Park is easily accessed and has classes for all age groups.

What ritual will you change today?