Why are rituals so important?

“We raced this morning. That’s why we’re walking.” I slowed down to ask the racer next to me a couple questions. A buddy and I were running the Spartan Super, an 8-mile obstacle course. It was meant to challenge one’s mental and physical endurance.
“Why you doing it again?”
“We’ve been all over doing these. California, Pennsylvania, Vermont…We’re headed to Boston next weekend.” I could tell by the shape he was in that he was serious. “I don’t even workout during the week any more. I’m forty. You better get going.” He smiled. I obviously had some work to do.
“So what’s the key?”

“Persistence. Just keep going, man. One step at a time.”

Rituals are a series of actions that you do over and over again. Everyone has rituals – whether it’s get up at 5:00 AM, drink warm, lemon water and head out on a 12-mile run or grab a beer, plop down on the sofa and switch on the tube.
Naturally, these rituals will influence where you are in life – rich or poor, fit or fat, interesting or boring. And they are key to understanding life. It is also incredibly important to chose these rituals wisely. A championship is not won in one night; it’s won by the daily practice (or rituals) of the team.
Here are some of my daily rituals:
  • Exercise Ritual. Eat and drink something 3 hours before beginning. Warm up. Push through the various sets. Stretch and re-fuel with water and a protein shake.
  • Training/Learning Ritual. De-construct the topic and identify the points of success and the points of failure. Select the high-impact points of success to learn. Select 10-20 recommended resources that focus on those areas (blogs, books, podcasts, coaching, etc). Learn, practice and track them on a register.
  • Work Ritual. Plan and prioritize the task through the Reminders app on iPhone. Pray over the work and adjust to an eager attitude. Work swiftly until I reach the first milestone. Take a short break. Move on to the second milestone.
Below are some of my guidelines for creating a great ritual.
1. They need to be thought out. While I’m creating the ritual, I try and include only the necessary things and figure out why I’m doing each step.
2. They need to be simple. I try and limit each ritual to 3-5 steps. This will help me remember it and keep it easy to do on a daily basis.
3. They need to be consistent. These rituals should become the norm for your life. Sometimes they wouldn’t work out. If that happens, don’t sweat it. Just make sure you do it tomorrow.

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