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The Importance of Rituals

June 2nd, 2020


You Become What You Consistently Do

Create Habits

You could be the most intelligent person in the world but it will mean nothing if you don’t do anything about it.

The process of losing weight is incredibly simple in theory, and we all know the drill:

  • Move more
  • Eat less
  • Nourish our body with whole, unprocessed foods most of the time
  • Sleep 7-9 hours a night
  • Stress less & laugh more
  • Get enough H2O

Why is it that so many of us live in a place of self-hatred, low confidence, and feeling “lost”? Stuck in a place where climbing out of the hole we dug for ourselves feels like the most daunting task we have encountered?

We need a roadmap to get there. We need directions from point A to point B, and we need to know CONFIDENTLY in our hearts that we will get where we want to be. A lot of you have already taken massive action at starting to work towards your goals; joined Equinox and potentially hired a trainer to guide you on your journey. Step 1: COMPLETE, well done.

However, REAL Change starts with what you do Today. Tomorrow. The day after. & EVERY DAY after that.

Set Goals

If you have the goal of making a massive physical or health transformation; for example, to lose a significant amount of weight, ask yourself how long it took to get to the place where you are today. Chances are, you didn’t gain the weight in the last 4 weeks, so it could be unrealistic to expect to lose it all within the next month.

This is where the importance of Rituals, Routines, and Self-Regulation come into play...

Habits vs. Rituals

First off, let’s distinguish the difference between a “habit” and a “ritual” as they aren’t the same thing.

A habit is an activity you have repeated often that becomes automatic. There is very little energy or thought that comes into it. You don’t do it because you want to, in fact, you don’t even question it. Brushing your teeth, snacking while preparing food, having something sweet after dinner, etc.

A ritual is the exact opposite of a habit. A ritual requires your full presence and attention. Rituals are sacred & powerful because they exceed what is being done presently. There’s intention, energy, and commitment behind them. There’s connection, awareness, and devotion. These are conscious acts that are being done with the confidence that they will have a positive impact in the future.

Both habits and rituals are part of a routine, so stop and ask yourself if what you’re doing every day aligns with your vision and your goals. Self-regulation allows you to reflect on what gets your attention and what doesn’t.

How to Develop and Maintain Rituals

Rituals are meant to serve you for the long term (not stress you out) so it is important to do them right. Here are three guidelines that are critical in determining success:

  1. Focus on ONLY One Positive Change at a Time:

If you break this rule, you are much more likely to fail at achieving your goal long term. If you try to do too much, nothing gets done. Implement only one ritual for a month’s time before considering adding something new. If we are working together, you will know this is a MASSIVE one for me. I work with you to determine what is something that you feel 10/10 confident that you can do at least until our next session and we build from there. Some of the examples that my clients are working on this week include: adding in one serving of veggies per day, replacing one takeout meal with a homemade meal per week, reaching 10k steps per day, or meditating and practicing breathing for 3 minutes per day, every day. This leads me to the next important point…

  1. Keep Your Rituals Small to Start:

Start with a ritual that is 15 minutes or less. If you feel a strong resistance and fail at 15 minutes, shorten it to 5 or even 3 minutes per day. If your goal is to write a novel, your ritual is spending 3-5 minutes writing each day. If your goal is to earn a degree, your daily ritual is your study habits. If your goal is to live a happy meaningful life, your ritual is the small positive steps forward you take every day.

You can’t lift a thousand pounds all at once, yet you can easily lift one pound a thousand times. Small, repeated incremental efforts will get you to your goal.

  1. Don’t Break the Chain:

Establishing a ritual takes time and is also something that you do Every. Single. Day. Consistency is everything. There’s nothing extremely notable about putting one foot in front of one another every day for weeks, but by doing so normal humans have been able to climb over 29k feet to the top of the highest mountain in the world.

Two people high fiving on a mountain top

Acknowledge What Works for YOU

What is serving you, what isn’t serving you, and what could serve you?

Be honest with yourself. The easiest person to fool is yourself, and that’s the last person you want to be fooling.

Rituals require dedication; it’s telling yourself every day that you CAN do this and there is no better day than today to start. It’s about examining yourself and having the courage to enact a positive change.

Be kind to yourself all the way through.
Success should not be a prerequisite for self-compassion.

Clarity Clinic

At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff who specialize in therapy and psychiatry services. To learn more about how we can support your mental health, call Clarity Clinic at (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.

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