I love reading about other people’s rituals. I’m a sucker for blog posts about the morning routines of interesting women, short guides on what the most successful people do before breakfast, and books about how diverse artists ritualize their days.
If you start exploring people’s daily rituals, you’ll quickly discover how much they contradict each other.
Some people won’t do anything until they check their email; others swear by not checking their email until after lunch.
Some people can’t concentrate until they take a walk; others reward themselves with a walk after concentrating on their work for the morning.
Some people hate to exercise until they’ve gotten some work done; others can’t work until they’ve gotten some exercise.
These conflicting behaviors aren’t as puzzling as they first appear. Researchers are finding that the power of the ritual is the ritual itself. It matters very little what it is.
If you want to embrace the power of ritual, you don’t need to find the perfect ritual. You need to use more rituals.
After years of resisting rhythm and routine, I now have several of my own cherished rituals. My keystone daily rituals revolve around food, drink, and books. (Shocking, I know.)
• Every morning I wake up, make a cup of coffee, sit down at my desk, light a candle, and write. (According to The Power of Habit author Charles Duhigg, this “savoring ritual” doubles as a “personal starting ritual.”)
• Every day at 2:00, I turn off my computer, make a cup of coffee, grab a book, and read.
• Every night we’re all home, we eat dinner together as a family.
• We read to our kids before bed; then I read before I go to bed myself.
These rituals have become such an enjoyable (and apparently beneficial) part of my life that this article has me thinking about other rituals I could embrace, or at least try. It wouldn’t hurt to adopt a new savoring ritual; maybe I could dub a favorite pen my “lucky” one. (Not that I can see myself doing this….) I’m sure there are all kinds of possibilities that haven’t occurred to me yet.
Whatever I try, I’ll take comfort in knowing it doesn’t matter so much what ritual I adopt, as long as I actually use it.
I’d love to hear about your daily rituals. What are they, and do you feel like they work for you?