Daily rituals as far as I’m concerned are essential for achieving high levels of success, as my friend and mentor says –
“Don’t create your year, create your day. Figure out the perfect day and then live it. The year will take care of itself. So will your life.” Steve Chandler
And he’s not alone, some of the most high achieving, productive and creative human beings in history have used daily rituals to uniquely craft their days so that they get their best work done.
Mason Currey’s inspiring book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work explores the minds and rituals of 161 of the worlds best known novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians, describing how they subtly maneuvered the many (self-inflicted) obstacles and (self-imposed) daily rituals to get done the work they love to do.
It details how they’ve come to deeply understand what helped and supported them to create their best work and live each day to the full…on their terms.
So if histories greatest trailblazers have proved daily rituals work, it’s probably a good idea to follow their lead, because mediocre isn’t an option to high achievers.
They want to produce their most inspired work so they set up the conditions to give them the best chance of that happening. Here’s a great infographic detailing how some of the most famous artists structured their days.
Having a daily routine isn’t something that just happened to people like that, everything they do has a positive purpose, every action has a clear benefit to them, if it doesn’t they don’t do it.
Successful people are uncompromising with their use of time and so should you.
My Personal Daily Rituals
I’ve been using daily rituals for some years now, so I’m pretty clear about what works for me and the reasons behind them. Here’s why I have a morning ritual :
1. To be more present, therefore I enjoy each day with greater awareness and gratitude
2. To maintain high energy levels, so feel great and get more done
3. To quieten my mind so that I can see through the bullshit that gets in the way of clarity
4. To keep me focused on what matters most so that I avoid the myriad of distractions
5. To relax and rejuvenate, plus when I take time out to run or walk I tend to have my best ideas
And here’s what my daily routine looks like at the moment –
I aim to follow this diligently, but of course it isn’t possible so you may need a lite version for the days when you can’t fit everything in, especially if you have other commitments such as a family and/or a day job.
There needs to be an element of flexibility otherwise it can become more of a constraint, but don’t let other commitments be an excuse.
Anthony Trollope, one of history’s literary greats each morning wrote three thousand words (250 words every fifteen minutes for three hours) before going off to his job at the postal service. A job he kept for thirty-three years during the writing of more than 47 books!
Don’t Risk Leaving Your Precious Days to Chance
The way I see it nowadays, is that unless you have a conscious routine you know supports your goals, you run the risk of falling unconsciously into another day without knowing what you want to make the day about. In doing so you leave each day to the chance of your emotions and the old habits that have got you to where you are today.
William James, one of history’s greatest psychologists believed that you should put part of your life on autopilot; by forming good habits, so that you can free your mind to advance to really interesting fields of action.
I like that idea, what about you?
To create a different future, we need to nurture new ways of being and place our energy and attention where it matters most. This is hard to see when when life feels like it’s happening at 1000 miles per hour, which is why daily rituals help you to slow down, and create your day without that sense of urgency, which is part of most people’s lives.
There are so many variables we can’t control in life, but you can build a structure into your life, which means the sound of the alarm becomes a signal welcoming you to another opportunity to “make today a masterpiece”, in the words of John Wooden.
Initially it takes conscious commitment but the pay off for designing your day around activities that will serve you in your work and your life is essential.
The bottom line is you already have a daily routine whether you’re aware of it or not. We are creatures of habit, so I invite you to take a look at how you live your life each day and ask yourself if how you use your time is really serving you.
If the answer is no, what specific daily actions, if you committed to them would over time lead to the development of habits and skills which would help you achieve your biggest goals?
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