So last week I wrote about the idea of positive rituals. Since then I’ve looped back to one of my favorite books, The Power of Full Engagement, and thought more about my own rituals.
The definition of a positive ritual according to Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz is “a consciously acquired habitual form of behaviors that ensure you will do the right thing at the right time with your physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual energy.”
Hmmm…sounds good but what exactly does that mean. It really does not resonate with me when I think about the existing positive rituals in my life and the ones I’d like to establish.
But let’s back up a second. Why a ritual? And how is a ritual different than a habit or self discipline or willpower. Self discipline and will power take a lot of energy and conscious thought. Most of us don’t have that much of either the researchers have found. When you have to consciously think about whether or not you’re going do something, your energy is depleted.
What resonated for me were two aspects of a positive ritual. The first is that positive rituals pull at you—you do them on autopilot. They conserve energy and the body and brain like that. When I think about taking time to exercise each day it’s not if I will but what I’m going to do each day. I know I value my mental health and that if I do not sweat, or stretch or do something to be in my body every day I start to mentally, and physically, feel crummy.
The other aspect that resonated with me is that the ritual is connected to a personal value. I am committed to my health because I want to not just survive in this life, but thrive. And I am terrified about being in the medical system. I want to do everything in my power to be healthy so I can avoid doctors, medication or being in the hospital. EVER! I don’t want to waste any time in my life being sick or have to have my children burdened with caring for me with a disease or illness that I could have potentially avoided. It’s really kind of selfish, but it’s the value that motivates me.
Establishing one new positive ritual (you can only really take on one thing at a time and it will take about 30 days to become a habit) instead of making a new year’s resolution may be a new approach for you this year. Make it something that pulls you. Maybe not every day. Often I do not like getting up so early to get to gym when it is dark, cold and rainy outside at 5am. But the value of my health gets me there.
And wellness rituals span a wide breath of activities. Connecting with people who are important to you can also be something you might create a positive ritual around. This enhances the joy in your life when the important relationships are given the time needed to connect to the people in your life who matter to you. Your well being is enhanced and that is a big aspect of wellness.
Researchers say that 95% of behavior is habitual. Only 5% is conscious. Make it easy on yourself. Go for the ritual. Let me know how it goes.
deliver me wellness