Establish positive rituals and guard them!

What makes man great? 

Can man become great by single deed, sudden decision, one time effort however big? No. Man develops himself by consistent practice. It is like with a plant. It needs proper soil, water, light and time. You can't get instant results. Same is with a man. To become healthier you have to eat healthy for long period of time. To become writer you need to write hundreds of stories. But with each one your internal muscle grows. However small single act may appear at present moment don't neglect it. This is what makes us. It is similar to walking. Step on its own is insignificant, but done consistently takes us where we want. So how to start consistent practice?

Prefer rituals to will

I find it much easier to follow established rituals rather then rely on strong will. I would even say it is more healthy because you feel much better mentally if you follow ritual.

Let's say you want to read more books about healthy diet. After typical day of work you come home. You haven't established any time frame and any expectation on what will you read today. So you come home, and you see you have laundry to make. Then your friend calls you. Then there is an interesting movie you always wanted to see. So in the end, you have no time for reading. When you reflect on that day you feel it is wasted. The more such days you have the more distant that resolution seems.

Now let's consider opposite situation. You have weekend. You finally grabbed the book. You feel optimistic, information is great, you love reading it. You just can't put the book down. And your weekend vanishes. You wake up on Sunday evening realizing there are so many things you haven't done. You did not socialize enough, you did not exercise. Not very satisfying feeling? Except for missing balance you are also missing feeling of stability and direction. Very important, especially for serotonin driven people.

Establishing ritual

Think of what is the most important thing you want to achieve at the moment for yourself. Decide on one best ritual to move towards it. Let's assume you want to become better writer. So you decide you will start writing stories.

Start small and be specific about timing e.g. I will do it on every Tuesday and Sunday from 11 pm for half an hour. Do not plan for too much. Your ritual must be achievable. Adjust timing to what works best for you. Don't plan too many rituals. Don't  plan for time you suspect you will have to break your resolution. If, for instance, almost every Friday you go out with your friends don't plan anything then.

Guard your rituals.

The biggest battle of your life starts now! and will last for next three weeks. If you can resist temptations and stand up to excuses you will succeed. After a month of persistent practice your habit will become stronger, you will grow your confidence and will have great feeling after looking at your results.

Remember guarding your rituals starts much before your actual dedicated time. If you designated time in the morning go to sleep early. If your time is in the evening don't drink that day or go to events that might consume your time. 

Use NLP technique called behavior generator if you think you might have hard time sticking to your commitment. Day before think very realistically about your ritual. See 11.00 on the clock, imagine you are opening your laptop, feel what you think you will feel. Pay attention to emotions and kinesthetic feeling. That should result in your unconscious being ready and set for execution of your ritual. It really works. For more information about that technique try Richard Bandler books.

Additional benefits

I have already mentioned multiple benefits. You are getting your work done, your confidence grows, you feel better mentally about yourself. However there are more benefits about having already established rituals. It is much easier to add new ones (thanks Peter!, by the way I recommend http://piotr-em.blogspot.ca/). If you already write in the evening maybe you will add 10 minutes of meditation before that, or eat some healthy smoothie. So use your natural habit oriented wiring to your advantage and have fun! Take it step by step.


  1. I like it very much, especially that it's topic that is very close to me. And however doing something consistently was one of the hardest things to do I managed to do it, following these steps. Additionally I've found it useful to keep track of my rituals - it's great feeling when I can mark it as done. There is also quite nice app for this I use - http://lift.do

  2. Watch your thoughts, they become words;
    watch your words, they become actions;
    watch your actions, they become habits;
    watch your habits, they become character;
    watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

    Good article.

  3. Thanks Peter for pointing out lift. It is in fact very good.