Would you like to take charge of your life and get things done right now?
Most people struggle with managing multiple tasks and goals. And it’s common to end up procrastinating to the point where you feel too overwhelmed to take any step at all.
The key to getting things done and stop procrastinating is to have a starting ritual. Let’s look at what it is and how you can practically apply it in life.
What is a starting ritual?
If you think about it, we all have starting rituals that are unique to us. Think about some ways you structure your day before you begin your work. Maybe you have a cup of coffee or quickly browse your social media feed before getting down to business.
Many sports athletes have their own way of getting into the zone before they participate in events. They rev themselves up with music, inspirational videos, or spend time in thought.
Such steps that people take before they launch into a task form a starting ritual. It’s a way to ease or transition into doing something.
Why create starting rituals
One of the best reasons to set up your own starting rituals is to overcome procrastination. We procrastinate when we feel overwhelmed by the task in front of us. And we get so stuck in our feelings and thoughts that we fail to take action at all.
A starting ritual puts us in a state of action. Instead of our thoughts paralyzing us, we move through a series of actions and behaviors that gently lead us into getting started.
Another reason to build starting rituals is that it helps us enact good habits more easily. People don’t often carry out actions in isolation. We tend to club actions together so that when we don’t one particular action, we end up doing another simply because we’ve built an association between these two behaviors.
For example, when we sit down to watch television, we also reach for snacks or something to drink. Or playing specific music when we hunker down to do some serious learning online.
When you create a starting ritual for yourself, you build a link between the ritual and the subsequent actions.
Say you want to become more focused when you check your emails and respond to them, then try building yourself up to it by doing five minutes of distraction-free meditation.
Over time, just starting your meditation practice will put you in the zone to open your email and start working. You develop linked habits that lead to positive outcomes.
Starting ritual ideas
So, what kind of ‘rituals’ can you follow that lead to taking action next. Your starting ritual can be anything, but here are a few ideas you can work with:
- Take your time to brew and drink a cup of tea when you decide to work or write something. Many people already use this tip unconsciously when they start their work
- Try Mel Robin’s 5-second rule. Count backward from five to one and launch yourself in to doing the task you have to do
- Play music that energizes you. It’s common for many people to listen to their favorite tracks before giving a speech or doing something that frightens them
- Clean up your kitchen before going to bed. Tidying up before you sleep will give you a sense of accomplishment and help you avoid social media before sleeping
- Go for a morning walk or a jog before you study or work
These are some ideas for starting rituals to help you get into the mood for a particular task. Carrying out a ritual before you get down to a job you don’t link will create automaticity and remove the need for you to be in the right mood to get things done.
Starting rituals are simple actions you can take that are easier and non-threatening, especially when compared to the job you’re avoiding.
Maybe you’re scared to go for a job interview or to pick up the phone and call an old customer. Starting rituals launch you off so that you don’t waste time or energy in thought. You get into action instead and soon enough, you’ll find that the work you’ve been dreading becomes easier and even enjoyable.