by Josh Millar
For me, rituals are a step above habits. They often have a deeper significance in our lives, and thus their effects can be even more powerful. A habit tends to be about the action itself, while a ritual has meaning outside of that action as well. Habits can also often be unintentional, for better or worse. Rituals, though, are a more active and conscious parts of our lives. We specifically create them ourselves to provide some benefit to ourselves. While rituals are often associated with spiritual or religious practices, they certainly don’t need to be. Professionals can find great benefit in creating rituals of their own to support their success. Here are a few ideas:
Having a daily ritual of meditation can have powerful effects in multiple areas of our lives. There’s no one way to perform this ritual. You design what works for you. Perhaps it’s ten minutes in the morning before you leave your room, maybe it’s a five-minute guided meditation at lunch, or maybe it’s a longer practice in the evening. When you make time for meditation, you engage in a ritual that lowers stress, promotes mental clarity, and helps you better connect with who you are and what you want. There’s no doubt that ambitious professionals can benefit from all of this.
Like meditation, regular movement can also keep stress low. And it can take a different shape for everyone. From a simple loop around the block to a more challenging workout, the only requirement is getting your body moving. In addition to supporting lower stress, regular movement can also help us raise and sustain our energy levels and make us feel more confident. By making it a daily ritual, you establish it as something you can rely on. You create something consistent so that its effects can permeate your day-to-day.
In the last few years, there have been countless studies on the benefits of gratitude. From elevated mood and lower stress to better sleep and stronger connections, the list of benefits is a long one. It’s easy to think that we’re being grateful, but creating some ritual around this can help ensure we stick with it, even on the most challenging days. The great part about creating a gratitude ritual is that you can design something that takes just a couple minutes. It doesn’t need to take up an hour of your day to make an impact. Starting or ending your day with a list of things you’re grateful for can be enough for you to see the positive effects.
What Do You Need?
As I mentioned above, the idea of a ritual is that the action has a purpose beyond itself. So, reflect on what you need in your own professional life. Do you need to manage your stress, increase your confidence, improve your mood, build your network? Think of the things you want to cultivate in your own life, and then find a ritual or two to support them. There’s no one size fits all here, and for rituals to be most beneficial, they should be tailor-made by you, for you. Getting inspiration from others is great, but you should ensure these practices fit your needs and lifestyle so that you’re more apt to stick with them.
We often respect rituals a bit more than we do habits, with the classification implying a certain level of importance. For professionals who want to give themselves a boost, looking to rituals as a strategy to help them do so is a great option. What do you think about the role of rituals in our lives? I’d love to hear your thoughts.