Does What You’re Doing Every Day
Align with Your Vision and Goals?
As a proponent of intentional living, I am consistently setting and achieving goals. Our goals provide a sense of direction and a specific target to achieve something. They include the strategies used to move toward your vision. It helps to set goals that promote and are in line with your vision because it is the foundation on which you build.
Implementation of goals and objectives implies that a strategy is set. As you work with your goals in everyday life the work becomes more a deep-set routine, a good habit, or a ritual creating an emotional connection with our tasks.
Where Focus Goes Energy Flows
Routines, habits, and rituals are the keys to productivity, success, and achieving at a high level.
A routine is simply an established behavior. Both habits and rituals are part of a routine. A habit is something done repeatedly for the purpose of performing the action itself. Once we repeatedly do something, the behavior becomes automated like brushing your teeth.
You have the power to enact real change in the way you think, behave, and cope on a daily basis because of a routine’s repetitiveness and controllability. They help us feel in control and reduce procrastination as we launch our projects. As you signal your brain to get into a flow you will build a positive mindset that helps provide a rhythm that drives you to action and prepares you for the rest of your day. This may combat decision fatigue, reduce anxiety and forgetfulness while increasing feelings of energy, confidence, and productivity.
What sets a ritual apart from a habit is intention.
Habits give us power to reshape our identity. When we mindfully choose our habits and repeat them to serve an end goal, they become rituals. Bronislaw Malinowski, considered the father of Social Anthropology, suggests that we turn to rituals when facing situations where the outcome is important, uncertain, or beyond our control.
Rituals can help us maintain positive emotional health, build our self-efficacy, and help us to become much more resilient during times of stress.
According to psychologist Albert Bandura, self-efficacy is “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations.” Self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. Rituals allow us to achieve goals by turning small, everyday acts into more significant ones.
The power of rituals lies in their ability to tap into your subconscious.
By bringing awareness as you perform a sequence of activities, you create a connection between body and mind that builds over time. Scientific research reveals that rituals have resulted in enhancing the confidence and emotional stability in people in their abilities (Norton, Gino 2013)
“We see in every culture — and throughout history — that people who perform rituals report feeling better,” says behavioral scientist Michael Norton. Studies show that superstitious rituals are effective too — we don’t become luckier, but they boost our self-confidence. People engage in rituals with the intention of achieving a wide set of desired outcomes, from reducing their anxiety to boosting their confidence, alleviating their grief to performing well in a competition.
Common examples in the United States include athletes that perform certain rituals before every game, knocking on wood to avoid tempting fate, crossing your fingers for luck, or blowing out birthday candles like the ancient Greeks so the smoke carries wishes to the sky-dwelling gods.
There are some common elements to creating a routine or ritual.
- Mindset – There should be deliberate intent, focus, and engagement. Design a ritual that will help you protect the space, time, and energy to take care of yourself. Effective routines provide the mental discipline to achieve your goals.
- Action – Any goal is achievable if broken into small enough steps. The habits you execute on a daily basis to move you towards your goals. Make sure you budget your time and energy. A ritual must have a clear beginning, middle, and end. By defining beginnings and ends to developmental or social phases, rituals structure our social worlds and how we understand time, relationships, and change.
- Accountability – Self-regulation allows you to reflect on what gets your attention and what doesn’t. You must measure your activities and track both the consistency of what you’re doing as well as the outcome.
- Performance Metrics – What gets measured gets improved.
- Francesca Gino, M. (2013). Why Rituals Work. [online] Scientific American. Available at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-rituals-work/ [Accessed 10 Dec. 2018].
- Goh, J., Pfeffer, J., Zenios, S.A. Workplace Stressors and Health Outcomes: Health Policy for the Workplace. Behavioral Science & Policy Association. 2017.
- Positive Psychology Program. What Is Self-efficacy Theory in Psychology? 2018.
- European Journal of Social Psychology Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. 40, 998–1009 (2010) Published online 16 July 2009 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com) DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.674
- Br J Gen Pract. 2012 Dec; 62(605): 664–666. doi: 0.3399/bjgp12X659466 PMCID: PMC3505409 PMID: 23211256