If you look at a person’s life, a large part of that person’s identity, a large part of that persons personal effectiveness and a large part of that persons public perceptions are due to the rituals that person engages in. In the great hierarchy of personal values and personal attributes, rituals rank much lower than character and habits. But make no mistake about it, rituals do play a big role in how successful you are in life, how good you are in achieving your goals, and a large extent, how happy you are.
The funny thing about rituals is that people tend to dismiss them. Most people get that people are the products of their character. Most people understand that. Most people can wrap their minds around that. What they don’t get is the fact that the things that you do often times impact who you are inside.
You have to understand, character formation is a two-way street. It’s not like just your character driving your life all the way. It doesn’t work that way. That’s not reality. The reality is that we are all caught in a call and response process between who we are inside and what the world wants us to be or what the world demands. So life is really an interplay between external signals and internal character. One manifestation of this is the rituals you chose to adopt.
The great thing about rituals is that they are not habits. Habits are pretty much very difficult to change. As I keep mentioning in this blog, habits actually encapsulate the automatic process of your mind coming up with a mental picture, your emotional responses to that picture and your physical reactions to your emotional triggers. Once you perform a physical action, there are emotional payoffs to that physical action which then triggers more mental images.
Make no mistake about it, habits are hard to break because this process that I have just described is very seamless and almost automatic. In most cases, the only part of the equation that you really have any real control over is your mental image. And considering that most people are creatures of habits, most people have a tough time controlling the mental pictures that they come up with.
Rituals, on the other hand, are easier to control because they are more external to you. These are the things that you do every single day as part of your day. You can easily switch from one ritual to the other, or you can choose not to do your ritual at all. Rituals can be very basic like brushing your teeth, wearing your clothes, so on and so forth.
In terms of losing weight, I am devoting a section to rituals because rituals do play a major role in helping you achieve your weight lose goals. The main reason I am mentioning rituals is because you have a higher degree of control over your rituals than your habits. In this blog post, I’m exploring the truth that rituals aren’t necessary things that you would like to do. In other words, we can adopt rituals that may seem uncomfortable and inconvenient at first but can lead to positive health benefits later on.
You Already Have Rituals, You’re Not Just Aware Of Them
The funny thing about rituals is that everybody has them. Everybody has a certain way of doing things. Everybody has a certain way of going about their day. It takes a certain level of spiritual and emotional maturity to realize that you have rituals. If you don’t think you have rituals, it’s maybe because you haven’t been looking hard enough. If you are a human being, you have rituals. If you want your rituals to work for you, you need to be aware of them.
Map Out Your Rituals
You have to understand that your daily rituals can seem rather programmatic. For example, you get out of bed, you brush your teeth, you put on your clothes, you get in your car, and you drive to work. Everybody needs to do this, but everybody has different ways of doing this. This is what separates one ritual from the other. In a way, rituals are like personal culture. All people have to eat regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion.
However, the food that they use so they can eat differs from culture to culture. See how culture works? Culture is like your particular way of doing things. To get on the road of using rituals so you can achieve your weight-loss goals, you need to first become aware of your rituals, then you need to map them out. Describe your rituals. Where do they lead to? When do they start? Keep in mind that you have more control over your rituals so they are not as automatic as habits. In many cases, you can isolate the time that you engage in certain rituals.
Trace How Your Rituals Lead To Certain Outcomes
When you perform a ritual, it often leads to certain outcomes. For example, brushing your teeth ensures that you have clean teeth. However, there are many different ways you can brush your teeth. There are many different types of toothpaste. There are many types of toothbrushes. Of course, there are many times in a day you can brush your teeth. These differences impact your outcomes. So, trace how your rituals lead to certain outcomes. Are you happy with those outcomes?
Pick Your Outcome and Select the Matching Ritual
If you want to succeed with your weight-loss plans, it’s probably a good idea to line up the proper rituals that maximize your results. Unlike breaking a habit which can be very difficult and impacts both your emotional mental and physical states, rituals are easier to change. In many cases, it’s just a matter of scheduling. In many cases, it’s just a matter of making small changes here and there.
However, it’s really important to be methodical and systematic regarding your control over your rituals, otherwise, you just be taking shots in the dark. You are basically be just trying to do things randomly, and chances are, you might not get the kind of results that you are looking for. It’s very important to pick the outcomes that you are looking for and then tweak your existing rituals or pick new rituals.
Be Aware Of the Emotional Aspects of Rituals
While rituals do have an emotional payoff, the payoff is not as intense and as deep seated as payoffs of habits. Habits and addictions have intense emotional payoffs. When it comes to rituals, the payoffs are not as distinct, severe or extreme. Regardless, you need to be aware of the emotional aspects of rituals so you can make the right changes with rituals. Maybe you’re picking the wrong ritual. This is why you’re unable to resist eating fatty foods. Maybe you should be using another kind of ritual.
Also, rituals impact the amount of exercise you do every single day. Pay attention to your ritual when you’re waking up. Many people have this ritual of when the alarm clock rings, they hit the snooze button. Be aware of the emotional triggers and responses involved in that. Maybe you can tweak the ritual in such a way that it leads to a different outcome.