Transforming Simple Routines into Powerful Rituals: 5 Steps to Follow

Illustration representing the transformation of simple routines into powerful rituals through 5 steps.

“Take pleasure in the mundane; you never know when you might look back and realize it was the key to your happiness.”

Robert Brault

It’s easy to view “routine” with disdain because it can trap us in a rut where we feel enslaved by our repeated actions.

Resting, getting up, consuming food, performing tasks, and interacting with others are all things we must do. There are also routines that we look forward to as rituals, such as the end of the workweek on Friday, religious services on Sundays, or even the weekly airing of a particular show on television.

What if, instead of being dreaded obligations, the routines and tasks of everyday life could be transformed into opportunities for joyous ritual?

Transforming routine tasks into rituals or instituting new practices every day can help you appreciate the little things and life more fully.

Praying is a regular part of my routine. For the past two decades, I’ve prayed on my knees every day. I find solace and appreciation for myself there. Yes, please! This is as inevitable as breathing.

1. Repeatedly state your convictions.

Affirmations set us up for a positive, mindful day by prompting us to reflect on the things we care about. An affirmation is a statement that we make about our desired experiences, but we make it in a way that makes it more likely to come true because we state it as true.

Repeatedly reciting an affirmation has been shown to literally form new neural pathways and synapses in the brain.

Create your own affirmation and read it aloud to yourself every day at the same time. To keep in mind as you write:

  • Make it about them. I am, I did, I received, etc.
  • Have faith. Keep your mind fixed on the good things you hope to achieve at all times. (Instead of saying “I don’t complain,” try saying “I see the good.”)
  • Maintain the present tense. If you tell yourself, “Love is coming to me,” it implies that you have to keep waiting for it to arrive. Try saying something like, “I am loved.”
  • Strive for exactness and detail. Let’s say you placed an order using a catalog or online, and all you said was, “I want a dress. A really attractive item.” The business could not possibly send you anything appropriate. Size, please. Which color would you like? It’s the same principle as making your dreams come true. You can’t make something from nothing if you have no idea what it is.

2. Allow yourself to be pampered for only five minutes every day.

What does your tired body need to wind down? What about a nice long soak, a foot massage, and a snack in the middle of the day? My mate starts the day with a cup of my favorite tea.

Put aside five minutes every day to enjoy whatever it is that makes your body happy. You can do a lot of good for your body and mind with only five minutes of meditation. This ritual will help you ground yourself at the conclusion of each stressful day, preparing you to fully appreciate the peace and quiet of your evening.

3. Just relax and take some deep breaths.

I cannot overstate the beneficial effects that mindful breathing has on one’s health, vitality, and outlook on life. One example of a routine action that may be modified is breathing. We can’t help but breathe, so to call it a “habit” is a bit of a stretch. However, this just highlights how important it is to learn to incorporate conscious breathing into your daily routine.

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Focus on your breathing while you’re at your desk, behind the wheel, on public transportation, or doing housework. Does it originate in your shoulders, chest, or stomach?

After bringing awareness to your breath, you may work to deepen it. Some people practice by counting their breaths in and out, while others try to fill their entire chest with each breath.

The breathing exercises recommended by yoga and meditation instructors are so simple that you can do them while reading a memo or cleaning the living room.

4: Make supper.

Eating is as essential to life as breathing. There’s no getting around the fact that food is essential for survival. Cooking can transform a mundane task into a pleasurable way to experiment with new flavors, nurture our bodies, and bond with our loved ones.

Planned, home-cooked dinners always taste better than takeout or delivery. Discover new ways to prepare veggies, proteins (meat, tofu, etc.), and whole grains (like brown rice) with these healthy dish suggestions.

Making a meal for oneself or one’s loved ones can be a relaxing hobby. Involve your spouse and children in the process of improving your health by slicing, dicing, and chopping, and enjoy the time you spend together doing it.

5. Give a person a hug.

Affection has a calming and elevating effect on us, so be sure to express some love every day. It could be as simple as greeting your kids at the door when they get home from school or as complex as locking arms with a complete stranger.

For a while, I made it a point to go hug someone new every day as a way to challenge myself emotionally and physically. This turned out to be less embarrassing than I had anticipated.

Anytime I was about to part ways with a coworker, friend, or whomever it was that day’s chance encounter led me to, I’d remark, “You know what? If you don’t mind, I’d just want to celebrate you for a second. Would you mind if I hugged you?

I was never denied a hug, and many people later told me how much it brightened their day and altered their preconceived notions about who gets a hug and who doesn’t. Keep in mind that “in giving, we receive.”

From my personal experience and the many anecdotes I’ve heard over the years, I can say with certainty that human beings have an ingrained need for predictability. They long for a more set-in-stone routine. Ironically, it is the structure that ensures progress, freedom, and flow.

And I think it would be a good idea to take some time off and go on vacation every once in a while. The habit will seem more rewarding after some time apart. That’s how I feel, anyway. How wonderful life is. Structure and regularity enhance its sweetness for me.

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