What's the first thing you do when you wake up every morning?
Do you meditate?
Smoke a cigarette?
It may not always be immediately obvious, but your reality is defined by the seemingly small rituals you perform over and over - often without even thinking.
Good rituals are rocket fuel for your goals. Bad rituals will crash your rocket.
Research shows that up to 95% of our daily actions are rituals and habits performed on autopilot.1
And so it's no surprise that those who make a decision to optimize their daily rituals often find themselves developing an unfair advantage over everyone else.
Why? Because people who adopt and stick to a schedule of success rituals enjoy a variety of benefits2 and tend to be more:
Would you like these perks in your life too? Then consider this:
A study in the British Journal of Health Psychology3 took 248 adults and assigned them to one of three groups:
Group 1 was told to keep track of how often they exercised over the next two weeks.
Group 2 was told to do the same, but was also reminded of the health benefits of exercise.
Group 3 was given the same briefing as Group 2, but was also told to create a plan for when and where they would exercise over those two weeks.
After two weeks, the study found that:
38% of participants from Group 1 had exercised at least once a week...
35% of participants from Group 2 had exercised at least once a week...
Whereas a massive 91% of participants from Group 3 had exercised at least once a week.
The takeaway here is clear:
Choosing the right rituals, and then consciously planning them out, makes you far more likely to stick to them - and enjoy the short and long-term benefits associated with them.
And that's precisely what I'm going to help you do through this guide.
How Rituals Awaken Your Superpowers
Across time and throughout various civilizations, rituals have been used to 'unlock' otherwise inaccessible gifts and abilities.
For instance, the Polynesian boat people's painstaking navigation rituals allow them to pinpoint the exact location of nearby islands - not with a compass - but by observing how 32 different types of waves crash against their ship hulls.
The Native Americans' coming of age ritual, known as the “Vision Quest”, sees teenagers spending a few nights alone in the wilderness, where they experience vivid dreams that guide them towards their unique roles in their tribe.
Various religions harness rituals to guide their followers into a state of peace, concentration and unity.
And of course in modern society, we can see how people who stick to fitness, nutrition and productivity rituals gain an upper hand in every area of life.
Ask any successful athlete, CEO or peak performance enthusiast, and they'll tell you that your daily rituals define your energy, health, performance and focus.4
The question is, what success rituals should you adopt to achieve your personal goals?
Here are some ideas:
HEALTH & FITNESS
* Morning green drink (more veggies, less fruits)
* Working out at least 3x per week (High Intensity Interval Training if you're strapped for time)
* Morning/evening yoga
* Healthy food prep (prepare food for the whole week)
CLARITY OF MIND
* Floating (sensory deprivation tanks)
* Chakra work/energy clearing
* Gratitude journaling
* Waking up early
* Pomodoro Technique (more on this below)
* Dedicated reading & study time
RELATIONSHIPS (with yourself & others)
* Practice self love and gratitude
* Shared hobbies (e.g. exercise, music, cooking)
* Weekly date nights & mini vacations
* Designated cuddle time (turn off your phones!)
* Writing appreciation letters for your friends and family members
Want more peak performance ideas? Click here to discover the daily habits successful people use that you can apply in your life too.
My Personal Daily Rituals
My students often ask me what type of success rituals they should select for themselves.
My answer: it depends on your personal goals and challenges.
Business coach Mark McGuinness5 says there are three bases you should always cover when adopting a success ritual:
1. The emotional intensity of the ritual (i.e. does it bring out strong positive emotions in you?)
2. The distinctiveness of the ritual (does it stand out from your usual habits?)
3. The repeatability of the ritual (can you realistically repeat it over and over?)
Using this guideline over the years, I've developed a set of daily success rituals that keep me 'in the zone' throughout the day.
I've experimented with thousands of rituals depending on my goals at any given time - but here are the core rituals that I've performed daily for years without fail:
* The Question of the Day ritual: Just as I'm waking up in the morning, with my eyes still closed, I ask myself: what's the ONE thing I can do today to move closer to my goals? And I don't get up until the answer comes to me!
* The Gratitude Walk ritual: When I walk my dog Bella, I put myself in an energy of gratitude by running through everything I'm grateful for from the day before (you don't need a dog to do this, you can also do it in the shower, during your morning jog, etc.).
* The Mind & Body Workout ritual: When I'm doing my cardio and weight training, I slip on headphones and listen to a personal growth/motivational audio book.
* The Afternoon Booster ritual: Every day after lunch, I meditate and watch a Mind Movie without fail. This gets me back in a state of peak energy and focus, at a time when most people are feeling sleepy and lethargic.
* The Gratitude Journal ritual: Just before bed, I'll write down everything I'm grateful for from the day. Combine this with the Gratitude Walk ritual, and I'm starting and ending my day with the power of gratitude!
Get more ideas for empowering success rituals in 30 Good Habits For Daily Peak Performance.
The Scientific Case For Rituals
Most mind scientists agree that your brain wants you to adopt more rituals in your life.
Why? The short answer is because rituals save energy.6
Have you noticed how you tend to perform certain daily tasks on autopilot? Like brushing your teeth. Brewing a mug of tea. Driving the familiar route to work.
That's because as you normalize a certain activity into a ritual, your brain requires less and less processing power to get it done - which eliminates the need for mentally tiring willpower, discipline and effort.
This same principle can be applied to any positive success ritual, like exercise or meditation or reading before bedtime.
So how do you take advantage of your brain's eagerness to adopt good habits that easily can turn into rituals?
The first two keys are structure and repetition: by regularly performing the desired activity in the same way, and at the same time daily - e.g. a 10-minute meditation in the morning, or a series of your favorite yoga poses in the evening - you're training your brain to create new neural pathways that will soon turn that activity into an effortless autopilot ritual. The type that's as easy as brushing your teeth.
Think of these neural pathways like a walking trail; the more that trail is used, the more worn in the path becomes, until it becomes a clearly distinguishable walkway. In other words, the more you do it, the easier it gets.
The third key is rewards: make sure you set a milestone for your new success ritual (e.g. doing it daily for at least a month), and reward yourself with something nice when you hit it - like a massage, an extravagant meal or even a mini vacation.
The fourth key is accountability: your brain doesn't like to feel guilt or shame, so having an accountability partner, or even just someone you share your goals with, will make your brain far more likely to cooperate as you carve out your new success rituals.
Aside from the benefits of success rituals themselves, science also shows us another juicy benefit to them...
By tapping into space-age brain imaging technology, scientists Dr. Eugene d'Aquili and Dr. Andy Newberg have found7 that rituals have a profound effect on two subsystems within our autonomic nervous system - namely the arousal system and the quiescent system.
Both these systems control a number of the body's vital functions, including the high blood pressure, fatigue and anxiety that are triggered by stressful situations in your daily life.
What Dr. d'Aquili and Dr. Newberg found, however, is that continuous acts of rituals positively stimulate these two systems, which both vaporizes stress and amplifies the brain's productivity, focus, creativity and even empathy.
In other words, success rituals aren't just good for your success and spiritual growth - they even make you smarter and more relaxed.
Discover how various civilizations across the world have harnessed rituals to achieve extraordinary physical and mental feats that even science can barely explain in these 4 Mind-Blowing Ancient Secrets To Supercharge Your Spiritual Growth.
Tools, Tips & Hacks For Adopting Your Own Success Rituals
Here are some of my favorite tools, books and courses for adopting and sustaining success rituals:
~ Evernote: for keeping track of your thoughts, ideas and a-ha moments
Sustaining your success rituals involves being aware of your mental processes, patterns and blocks. Evernote is a simple and intuitive mind organization app that lets you manage and master your own thoughts.
~ The Pomodoro Technique: for effective time management
The Pomodoro Technique is a simple time management technique that breaks down your time into 25 minute blocks, and is surprisingly effective at maximizing your productivity while reducing stress. It's a fantastic tool for making sure you stick to your chosen success rituals.
~ Omvana: a meditation app for any personal goal under the sun
Meditation is an essential success ritual. Omvana (developed by my friends at Mindvalley) gives you an elegant, immersive and personalized meditation experience through a library of high-quality meditations for focus, peace, sleep, enlightenment and more.
~ DayDeed: an app for building habits that stick
Track, tweak and optimize your daily schedule with this easy-to-use app. Of all the ritual-building apps I've tried, I like DayDeed's interface the best: ANYONE can figure it out!
~ Charles Duhigg's “The Power of Habit” for using science to lock in your success rituals
This eye-opening book explores the science behind habits, and how we can harness our brain to both give up destructive habits, and replace them with new empowering ones. I found Duhigg's step-by-step approach to be extremely useful in helping me retune my daily rituals.
~ The Ultimate Success Masterclass total life transformation from the inside out
The Ultimate Success Masterclass is my most comprehensive peak performance curriculum packed with tools, technology and daily success rituals for better living. From daily reminders and journals to live coaching to visualization, meditation and goal-setting exercises, you'll find everything you need to design your best day, every day.
~ The Subliminal Success Accelerator monthly support program
Consistency and momentum are vital ingredients for sticking to your success rituals. The Subliminal Success Accelerator program empowers you with monthly coaching, plus accountability and productivity tools for keeping you on track - including a handy text and email reminder app that reminds you to perform your daily rituals.
~ The Mind Movies Matrix multi-sensory success system
Mind Movies Matrix is a multimedia brain optimization technology I co-developed with renowned mind scientist Morry Zelcovitch. By combining space-age brainwave entrainment technology with visualization, Mind Movies Matrix keeps your mind, body and spirit in peak condition in just 6 minutes a day.
Discover an easy way to harness what many call the most powerful ancient technology for peak performance in 6 Simple Meditation Techniques That Prove That It’s Easier Than You Think.
Your Success Ritual Checklist
Now that you have a deeper understanding of success rituals, it's time to put yours to practice.
But take note: it takes multiple weeks of consistent behavior to permanently lock in a new habit or ritual - which makes preparation essential to your success.
Here's a handy checklist to get you ready:
__ Have I inspired myself with the success rituals of people I look up to?
__ Is my chosen success ritual aligned with my personal goals?
__ Is my success ritual emotionally intense, distinctive and realistically repeatable?
__ Have I gathered tools and technology that could make my success ritual easier?
__ Have I found an accountability partner, or someone to share my progress with?
__ Have I set a milestone to celebrate my new success ritual, and a reward for when I reach it?
Once you've ticked all the boxes, congratulations - it's time to elevate every area of your life with your very own success rituals.
Note: Can you sense any stubborn resistance in your life?
Do you ever feel like your habits, beliefs and emotions sometimes sabotage your success?
If you’d like to discover what vicious subconscious fears are silently blocking your abundance and how to really start with a clean slate this upcoming New Year…
Then try this exercise, and in just 13 minutes, you’ll know the REAL reason you sabotage yourself and what to do about it!
On the same page, you’ll also receive a free mini eBook PDF containing my 7 personal favorite morning success rituals for peak performance throughout the day.
Go here to download your free copy, and prepare to become the most productive version of yourself!
What success ritual do you want to start adopting and why? Inspire us with your thoughts below...
Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.