“I begin each day of my life with a ritual: I wake up at 5:30 a.m., put on my workout clothes, my leg warmers, my sweatshirts, and my hat. I walk outside my Manhattan home, hail a taxi, and tell the driver to take me to the Pumping Iron gym at 91st Street and First Avenue, where I work out for two hours.
In other words, when I am talking about rituals, and in the context of getting into a great and healthy lifestyle, it’s not really about the ultimate strength training routine or the 10K runs and races — it’s the behavior of starting the entire process …. for example going to the gym …. the small and almost always overlooked critically important action at the beginning.
What’s a ritual and why it’s useful and important for you?
Basically a ritual is a habit that is specifically triggered by a certain behavior, eliminating the option of deciding if you want to do the activity or not.
A ritual “is a simple act, but doing it the same way each morning habitualizes it—it makes it repeatable, easy to do. It reduces the chance that I would skip it or do it differently. It is one more item in my arsenal of routines, and one less thing to think about
I’ll be frank I discovered that I had my own rituals to get quite a few habits started, so I started to research this. For example, I am going to the gym every morning at 5am — this first step is sometimes real hard, especially in winter - it’s nobody’s idea of fun to wake up in the cold and dark every day and drag your (sometimes old) and tired body to the gym … but the religiousness of getting my bag ready, getting those workout clothes on, my coffee and the drive to the gym always prevent me from rolling back to sleep. I am looking forward to this moment and steps every day!
The process of establishing a ritual
1. You need to start real small and iterate
Make sure that it’s not about higher expectations of yourself and don’t push it. Has to come naturally and feel real good and totally effortless. Pick a habit - hopefully going to the gym early in the morning and build a ritual around waking up and getting to the gym. Aim for small day to day victories, it won’t come easy and overnight. Iterate, polish your approach and make it work for you: you will be developing a process around your desired behavior. No more than 3-4 steps though. Keep it simple!
2. Schedule and commit to your ritual
Once you’re comfortable with all the steps you’ve polished over time (take your time, it takes weeks to get there, perseverance and focus are important!) then make sure this ritual fits in your schedule - you are always the priority, and there’s no job schedule or anything that supersedes you.
3. Define your ritual’s trigger mechanism
When does your ritual begin? What’s the ignition to you getting into your activity? For me it’s getting a really nice wake up tone on my ipad (it’s birds), then get dressed for the gym, getting my coffee and heading out of the door in the early morning quietness and darkness.
And like I said in the beginning, iterate, refine until it’s awesome and super fun. Then you’ll get there. Of course, I will be super interested in knowing more about what you think of rituals, leave comments below please and have area of your life that could benefit from establishing a ritual
@philippemora > I come from the future. I work and I workout. Always be kind and passionate.
Weights, Track, music, PLACEs. Always be kind and passionate.