“The quality of your life is in direct relationship to the quality of your habits and rituals” – Stan Jacobs
What is the difference? Habits are singular focused whereas the beauty of rituals is that they can contain multiple habits in one ritual. Habits and daily rituals are one of the key factors that have allowed me to accelerate and achieve outstanding results. While the idea is a simple one, it is also one of the most difficult to implement on a consistent basis.
Below is a short list of habits that I have formed over the past three years of different trials. I suggest trying all the habits and choose which works for you, and then build your own ritual.
- Sleeping habits
Our bodies are habit forming machines, that can be trained to go sleep and wake up at certain times if repeated enough. Everybody is different in terms of sleep quality and health. (I will share a different hack about sleep in another post that I’m currently experimenting). Give yourself a window to sleep in and a time to wake up. E.g. aim to sleep between 11.30pm – 12am and set your alarm to wake up between 6.30 – 7am.
Everybody’s airways, diets and mental states vary hugely, so record how you feel when you wake up. Record also your energy levels throughout the day and the window in which you woke and slept. Trial it over a few days to recognize your own patterns and decide what works for you.
A habit is built by doing something repeatedly over a period of time. So if you only wake up consistently 4 days a week, this habit isn’t going to form. I suggest working it completely into your schedule. For e.g. if your earliest day of work starts at 8am, then consistently wake up at a chosen time before then 7 days a week. Do it everyday and within a short period, you will no longer need an alarm clock. Your body will naturally want to sleep and wake up at particular times. Waking up refreshed and energized on a daily basis will change your quality of life.
- Exercise immediately after waking.
This is to wake the body up and increase your energy and metabolic rate. To maintain this habit, I keep it simple with push ups everyday when I wake up. That’s right, push ups, because the easier the activity, the more regular one can do it, and the faster it becomes a habit. When done properly, it will not only build upper body strength, but also strengthen your core. The nature of the exercise improves circulation and fires up the brain to work more efficiently. I will always try to add more push ups than the previous day, even if it’s only by one or perhaps I’ll add another set. After one set of push ups, I perform three sets of a simple sun salute yoga routine. This helps to stretch and open up the body. Many of the postures will help improve digestion, unwind muscles and promote the cardiovascular system. I have more energy and my body feels lighter as does my mind.
- Meditation practice.
I sit with my legs crossed, bottom elevated and palms open resting on the thighs. It’s a beautiful position to surrender oneself during meditation. With a soft gentle gaze I ground myself by feeling my weight on the floor and bring awareness to my body. I’ll gently release areas of tension with deep diaphragm breaths (naval breathing). Let the mind sit and simply become an observer. View your thoughts as they cross by, no need to force them out nor continue focusing on them. Give yourself a few minutes in this space with regular deep breaths.
A suggestion for beginners, is to download a guided meditation app called Headspace. The next process is a guided question meditation. I would think of three things that I am grateful for. I not only ‘think’ about what I am grateful for, I also visualize and ‘feel’ the gratitude for that something or someone. This is a process I went through at a Tony Robbins event and over time it has made an impactful shift in my life.
“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul” – Amy Collette.
The next question is to think of three wins that you had yesterday. They don’t have to be massive accomplishments. The smallest wins are still wins.
Finally, a simple question – who did you help yesterday? Just one will do. The process of daily questioning will actively shift your brain to look for things to be grateful for, to appreciate your achievements no matter how big or small, and to be helpful to others.
- Breakfast time.
To eliminate choices or decisions in the morning I make myself a bullet proof coffee or a tea version. This ‘break-fast’ keeps me going until lunch with elevated focus and energy levels. The decision to try this was after speaking to Dave Asprey (founder of Bullet Proof coffee) at A-Fest in Mykonos. It is simply a brewed black coffee/tea blended with grassfed butter/ghee and MCT (healthy fatty acids). The unique combo is to “supercharge your brain function and create effortless fat loss with no cravings.”
The combination of these four habits have become my daily morning ritual.
It is a great jump start to my day. It gives me high body energy levels with the mental clarity and focus to match. Going through the morning ritual itself is already a ‘win.’ It helps me to reset and puts me in the right frame of mind and body to tackle the day.
What are your current habits or rituals? You probably already have them but are you aware? It is good practice to become aware of those habits that don’t serve you. It’s time to break those habits and form new ones.