As we are beings programmed for growth, our desire to have more and create a better life shapes almost all the things we do on a daily basis.
The more we can convert the things we do that makes our life better into habits, practices, routines or rituals, the easier it will be for us to keep doing them and continue to reap the benefits of doing so.
Having daily, empowering rituals can help us:
- Start off each day on a positive note.
- Maintain a healthy attitude throughout our day.
- Feel good about ourselves, which will enhance our self-esteem and confidence.
What is a Ritual?
A ritual is an activity or series of activities that involves movement, words or objects, done in a pre-defined order or sequence. In other words, rituals are things we can do to generate certain emotions, which can then assist us in accomplishing what we want to.
Having daily rituals means being intentional about what we do and how we do them.
As more and more opportunities come our way, being able to delegate effectively will be vital if we want to meet our objectives.
The reality is we can’t “do it all” because not only is it exhausting mentally, emotionally and physically, it also may not be the best use of our time.
It doesn’t matter who we are, whether we’re a stay-at-home parent, employee, or business owner, being able to free up time to focus on high-value activities is critical to getting things done on time and achieving the success we want.
Examples of high-value activities include:
- If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, it may be focusing on innovation and revenue-generating strategies.
- If you’re a parent, it may be spending quality time with your children.
- If you’re an employee, it may be moving a major project forward in order to meet your deadlines.
The better we’re able to delegate low-value activities, the more time we will free up so that we can focus on what’s most important.
Oh No! Half my day’s gone and I haven’t done anything productive!
Have you ever been in a similar situation? You had high intention for your work day but somehow the day just “got away” from you?
If you’ve had such an experience, you’re not alone. We’ve all had days, where due to unforeseen events or circumstances, we weren’t able to do what we had intended to.
Today, it’s become extremely important that we eliminate distractions and improve our ability to focus on what needs to be done if we want to progress towards our goals.
Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, we may get sidetracked and lose focus, so it’s valuable to have strategies or tactics to be able to turn around a bad or unproductive day.
Most days, I will identify at least five big things I want to get done, related to a particular goal or project I’m working on. Usually by the middle of the afternoon, I will have three or fours things done, which will leave me the rest of the afternoon to finish off the last thing.
Our capacity to produce the results we want and be the best we can be is closely related to the way we use our mind.
The better we use our mind, the more effective we’ll be, which will translate to the type of results we achieve. The more cluttered our mind, the less effective we’ll be.
If we have too many things cluttering our minds, it means our units of attention, or our ability to focus, is being taken up by different things, which will result in less attention being given to the things we want to do.
In order to more effectively use our minds, we have to give it better attention. Our thoughts form the key contents of our minds. The better we learn to harness our thoughts, the more effective we’ll be.
We’ll never get rid of all our thoughts and it should not be the objective. Our objective should be to free up mental units attention so that we can direct more attention to doing the things that’ll cause us to have greater progress in life.
There are times when we can trick ourselves into believing that because we’re busy, we’re also being productive.
Being busy doesn’t always mean we’re doing what’s important. Sometimes doing what’s urgent, which often are false emergencies, can cause us believe we’re productive.
As we get busier, take on new responsibilities or start new ventures, the demands on our time will continue to increase.
If we don’t have intelligent ways to use our time, it can lead to:
- High levels of stress or pressure.
- Feelings of overwhelm or frustration.
- Delays in getting things completed.
- Poor quality work.
- Our relationships with those we interact with being affected.
Using our time intelligent doesn’t mean better time management. The reality is time cannot be managed. We can only manage ourselves or our activities in relation to the time available to us. Not matter what we try to do, we cannot increase the time available to us.
Having intelligent but simple ways to better use our time in our daily activities will help us be more productive and effective.
From an early age, we’re told that in order to be successful in life, we have to work hard, which often gets interpreted as working long hours.
We hear people say they’ve been “burning the midnight oil” or “doing an all-nighter” in order to achieve a particular outcome.
There is value in having a strong work ethic and doing what’s required to get to where we want to be, but there also has to be a certain level of intelligence as to how we go about it. Working long hours doesn’t always equate to how much we actually get done.
Have you ever been in a situation where you know you’re about to go on a holiday and you have certain things that must get done before you leave? What usually tends to happen?
Oftentimes, the last couple of days before we leave is when we get the most done because we have an unmovable deadline. We somehow manage to become so productive and get things done.
If we can be so productive being we leave for a holiday, it means we have the capability to do that whenever we want. It also means we have to question the need to work long hours consistently.
Working long hours does not always result in us doing our best work.
Our habits can either lift us up or bring us down. If we have empowering habits, we’ll create better experiences and results in life.
Likewise, if we have disempowering or toxic habits, they can affect our lives and those around us in a detrimental way.
As most things we do are habitual, it’s makes sense to be more aware of which habits may be affecting us in a negative way.
5 Consequences of Having Toxic Habits
- Poor overall health.
- Lower levels of confidence, drive and motivation.
- Unhealthy or estranged relationships.
- Slower progress towards goals.
- Less willingness to take new risks or try new things.
The more toxic habits we can replace with empowering habits, the better our lives will be.
A common excuse we hear as to why people aren’t doing the things they really want to is that they don’t have enough time.
This excuse of not having enough time has become a story we constantly tell ourselves which results in:
- Poor planning and productivity.
- Our health, relationships and work suffering.
- Lack of ambition or drive.
- Lower levels of motivation, self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Disconnection from our dreams.
The truth is we all have the same amount of time each day. How we use our time determines the quality of our daily experiences.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we all can find time daily for things that matter most to us.
Consider this scenario: say you have 30 minutes to spare because you’re between tasks or appointments, or you simply don’t have anything planned — how can you make better use of that time?
Goals give us meaning and direction in life. Those don’t have goals usually lack the motivation to achieve things that matter, and often settle for the life they have drifted into.
While setting goals is important, achieving them often requires more focus and commitment.
Common advice related to setting goals include:
- Set goals that motivate or inspire you.
- Ensure goals are measurable and have a due date.
- Write down your goals.
- Create a plan to achieve your goals.
- Take consistent action.
While those are valuable advice, there is more we can do to give ourselves a better chance of achieving our goals.
How we operate daily is a reflection of the habits we have. The more good habits we have, the better our lives will be.
As we all desire to improve and have better lives, sometimes we struggle to follow through and stick to doing the things we know will be beneficial to us.
While having an intention to make a positive change, such as exercising a few times per week, drinking plenty of water daily or getting enough sleep each night, is a good starting point, sticking to the new habits is challenging.
One of the reasons why people abandon their New Year’s resolutions is because they are not able to lock in their new habits over the long term.
The Costs of Not Sticking to Our Habits
- It generates feelings of disappointment, regret and resignation.
- We lose trust in ourselves as we’re unable to keep our commitments.
- It lowers our self-confidence.
- We’re reluctant to try something that requires a long-term commitment.
- We don’t progress as quickly as we’d like to.
It’s one thing to identify a new or good habit we want to have, but it’s much more challenging to actually stick with it.