I often get asked What is the best way to start a daily ritual? and the most simple answer I can give is this: Start a daily ritual.
I don’t say that to be flip, because truly … the only way to start a daily ritual is to take a deep breath and begin somewhere.
The place where people get tripped up is thinking that “daily ritual” has to be a super-involved, time-consuming, incense-laden, transcendent, my-life-has-now-changed-forever passage. And that if those things don’t happen, you must not be doing it right, so why bother?
That’s why this is one of my favorite topics.
I believe that rituals can be simple and slim, while at the same time powerful and transformative. Because the accumulation of small, consistent efforts inevitably add up to huge transformations over time.
To make your daily ritual successful, it needs to be something that feels accessible and do-able for you. In fact, you want it to become second nature over time, rather than a chore. It should be as effortless as brushing your teeth or taking a shower.
You probably do other things throughout the day that you haven’t realized are rituals: Making that afternoon cup of coffee, tucking your kids in at night, listening to a favorite piece of music.
The thing about all of these activities is that they have a goal attached to them – some desired outcome. Afternoon cup of coffee: To wake you up. Tucking the kids in: Connecting with your beloved little ones. Listening to a specific song: To shift your mood.
That’s what daily ritual is about. Connecting us to desired outcomes.
So if there is something that you are really wanting to change in your life – your thoughts, your actions, how you speak to others, what you are manifesting (or not), the emotions that you are experiencing – creating a ritual around that desire is the single best way to begin the process of actually bringing about change.
In the world of BodyMantra, we use essential oil blends for this purpose. Because tangible tools are really helpful in the world of ritual.
When you connect a series of actions with your personal intentions, you are carving a pathway in the brain that says “This activity is connected to this desired outcome.” So as you repeat a particular action – and in the case of our essential oil blends, expose yourself to a particular scent – you reinforce new patterns of thought and behavior.
Here’s an example:
One of our customers had chronic headaches that were a result of on-going anxiety. She knew that she would get amped up, overthink things and then would end up with massive migraines.
Enter our Stillpoint blend, which is designed to bring you to a place of balance.
She started applying this blend whenever she started to ramp up. She would ask herself to connect to the scent, move energy away from her head, and slow down her breathing. Sometimes, it worked. Sometimes, it didn’t. But she stuck with it. Daily application with an intention to reduce her anxiety responses.
One year later, she is virtually migraine free. After over a decade of nearly weekly migraines, we knew that had to be a result of this super-specific, dedicated ritual.
And here’s the thing that I like to be honest about:
Some days, you’ll be all over your ritual. It will feel aligned and great.
Other days, not so much. You’ll be annoyed or distracted, feel like scrapping the whole thing.
The key here is to do the ritual anyway. Don’t skip it. Because you are creating new pathways in the brain, and that doesn’t happen overnight.
It’s just like starting a new workout routine. Do you go every single day with glee? Probably not. You go through fits and spurts before you have a routine in place that feels good.
Same thing here. Start small. Stay the course. Know that you’ll have good days and bad.
Eventually, you’ll wake up one day and realize that things HAVE changed. That all of your good work and intention has led to the breakthrough that you have wanted all along.
And that’s the power of simple, daily ritual.