Rituals can bond us together and help us create desired change. With rituals, we can intentionally add something new and beneficial to our lives.

Merriam-Webster defines a ritual as a series of acts that is always performed in the same way. Synonyms are pattern, practice, habit and second nature.

What meaningful ritual would you like to adopt?

  • a mid-day walk outdoors
  • five minutes of mindfulness meditation upon waking
  • writing a page of your book each morning
  • turning off all “screens” by 9pm and reading before bed
  • calling a friend or family member every Sunday afternoon
  • smiling at three strangers a day
  • meeting monthly with friends or colleagues for lunch

Pause now to think of one ritual that would add value to your life.

Practicing this new ritual will take willpower, or self-control. Willpower is not the brute strength to resist temptation, but “the ability to do what you really want to do when part of you ­really doesn’t want to do it,” says Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist who teaches The Science of Willpower at Stanford University. “It’s remembering what you really want, your bigger goals, in the face of your immediate desires.” And it’s a skill you can strengthen.

Many people ask Kelly McGonigal, “How long should you meditate?” (or do anything you are hoping to do). Her answer, “the amount of time you will actually do it!”

I love that answer. No pressure, just do it.

My friend Sahar and I have committed to five minutes a day of mindfulness meditation. We check in with each other each daily, “Have you done your meditation? Let me know when you do.” We are using each other as an accountability partner and enjoying the benefits of our new daily ritual.

Try adopting one new ritual. Reward yourself for success. If you are unable to meet your daily goal, reflect on what stopped you. Be easy on yourself and pay attention to what works for you.

Rachel Gorman

Rachel Gorman is a workshop trainer, speaker, facilitator and coach who together with individuals and teams, works to enhance energy, wellness, engagement, performance, communication, and work culture. Rachel brings over 20 years experience working with people in healthcare, education, in both the nonprofit and corporate worlds. Client work is focused on both personal and professional development. (www.rachelgorman.com)


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