In Happier, I learned that introducing rituals is a great way to bring about change — much more effective than trying to cultivate self-discipline.
I’ve been thinking a lot about rituals as we prepare to welcome our first child. I would love to have family rituals like a weekly pizza night, for example. The thought of it makes me happy in my core 🙂
I already enjoy some rituals:
- Eating breakfast with my husband every morning. We chat, we read our favorite blogs. It’s the best.
- Eating lunch with coworkers rather than at my desk. The time away from work and getting to know my coworkers better is invaluable to me.
- Hugging my husband every night when we get home from work. I think it’s so important to recognize how happy he makes me and to be sure he knows that.
- Exercising 5-6 days a week (after work and Saturday mornings), which makes me feel strong and capable and gives me much needed “me time”.
- Playing volleyball once a week in a rec league at a local university (although this is on hold during my pregnancy). This ritual makes me so, so happy; I can’t really be unhappy playing volleyball, and I love my team.
- Stretching while I’m brushing my teeth.
- Reading my five favorite blogs daily, at a minimum.
But there are several rituals I’d love to start:
- Regular date nights with my husband, especially after the baby is here! I’d love to hear what you think is practical – twice a month? Every Friday?
- Pleasure reading for an hour three times a week. I already read quite a bit, but I’m pretty sporadic about it, and sometimes if I don’t have another book lined up I can go weeks without doing any pleasure reading.
- Regular walks mid-afternoon at work. I get bored/tired/hungry at around 2-3 most afternoons at work, and I think having a little walk to break up my day and get me outside would be much better than my current approach (eating the junkiest food I have access to).
- Going on hikes and/or camping once a month. I don’t think I was made to live in a big urban area, and time in nature makes my soul happy. I find it’s so easy to have my weekends eaten up by social events with friends and family, so it would be great to block out weekends for nature.
- …That said, I also need time with friends. We all do. I think it will be especially important once the baby is here. I would love to have a regular dinner night with friends, or maybe even join a mom’s group in my area to meet new friends close by. Anyone have good experiences with mom’s groups?
- Meditating regularly. In Happier, he talks about how effective this is for increasing our happiness levels. Do you try it?
There are also some changes I’d like to see, but I’m not sure what ritual will get me there (I’d love any suggestions you have!):
- Better posture — I’d love to have it, but I’m just not quite sure how! I go to pilates regularly, and I think so much about alignment when I’m in class, but then I go back to slouching when I’m tired at work.
- Cutting down on time spent on my phone and Facebook. I deactivated my FB account for a while, and I loved it, but at the same time it’s such a nice way to keep up with our friends’ lives.
- Reeling in my sweets consumption… I eat a lot of sweets, especially chocolate. No matter how virtuous I’m determined to be when I wake up, I cave either around 3pm or after dinner.
What rituals do you have? Have you ever used them specifically to bring about desired change? Did it work? I’d love to hear.