Should I put a hammer through my TV? – The power of rituals
Should I put a hammer through my TV? – The life-changing power of rituals
Ok, I admit this is a rhetorical question as my significant other would go mad if I actually did it. However, spending what I consider to be too much time watching TV has been a bad habit I have unsuccessfully tried to crack for a long time. The failure to date does, however, teach me something about building good habits and using the power of rituals to help embed them.
Therefore this post is a live example of how I intend to crack this particular nut.
I have just returned from 18 days on my honeymoon in the Greek Islands which both Heather and I love visiting. Heather and I finally got married after living together for 22 years. – Don’t ask.
As I had just got married, I thought would be a good time for a life review. I started by reviewing my life goals in all the different areas using the wheel of life system. I then wrote down habits that would help me achieve the desired outcomes.
During the time on flights and ferries between islands, I decided to set up some rituals to embed all of those excellent habits into my life. Ok, so I get many coaches would tell you to concentrate on one habit at a time which is good advice. However, I thought I would try a different approach and try and instil a whole range of habits at the same time by using the “don’t break the chain” method. This is simply recording on an app or spreadsheet whether you took action on an intended habit or not on any given day. You then review at the end of every week and month which ones were not getting done and then exploring what was stopping you.
So, for instance, I want to be fit, healthy and highly energetic and be able to ski and kitesurf well until I am at least 90. So that’s the broad goal. This type of goal is different to a SMART goal as it has no specific timeline but is ongoing for as long as I live. The question I asked myself is – What habits must I embed to achieve that goal and how do I ensure that I follow through 95% of the time. This is where the power of rituals come in.
Rituals are a set of habits which fit together and are implemented together in the same order on a daily basis. The idea is that the habits you may already have in place help you jump start into a new one you are trying to build. The power arises from the fact that as you do one habit directly followed by another in the same order and for the same length of time. The series of habits become a habit in itself.
There is a comfort in rituals, and rituals provide a framework for stability when you are trying to find answers. -Deborah Norville
Before setting any goals, the first question is to have clarity in my mind of a strong enough reason why I want to achieve the goal. If you have enough motivation, it should be easier to take the required action.
So WHY stop watching most TV habitually?
Ok, I do watch some interesting documentaries from which I learn some useful information. However, the majority of TV is not at all beneficial except as possible relaxation.
The vast majority of the time I spend doing it is not aligned with my life purpose which should be reason enough. However, it has other knock-on effects. The problem is once I settle in I don’t stop until bedtime and sometimes past my set bedtime which stops me from getting enough sleep. Worse still this longer stretch of TV time is also a trigger to eat unhealthy snacks.
So as I have decided (and it’s a proper MUST DO decision) to only watch prerecorded programs for say 1 hour a night at most – How do I implement?
So I bought a “don’t break the chain” app for my phone called Habit Bull. It’s simple and effective. I then set up all these rituals on it.
As an example – The following are my current morning rituals – “Fit body and Mind” rituals
Fit body ritual – 2 hour
- The alarm goes off at 6 am every day so get up immediately
- Plug in my phone to charge it to the max for the day
- Go to the bathroom, take out my overnight contact lenses and clean them stringently
- Put on my training clothes and have a glass of filtered water
- 5 minutes – Go outside and skip as a warm-up
- 15 mins – Go to my Home Gym and do my mobility/ flexibility routine
- 30 minutes train hard 4 days/3 days stretch instead – See My training routine
- 5 minutes stretch after training days
- 20 minutes of meditation for breath recovery
- 10 minutes Win Hof Breathing
- Make the wife a cup of tea
- Drink a glass of water with a half teaspoon of Pink Himalaya salt to wash down my supplements – on my strict real food diet I get little other salt
- A warm shower followed by 4 minutes of a fully cold shower
- Shave, brush my teeth, tidy my bedroom and get dressed for work or weekend
- 8 am ready to rock and roll my day.
Fit Mind ritual (already started with Meditation, Win Hof and Cold shower) – 1 hour +
- 10 mins Gratefullenss diary
- 15 minutes Journal
- 30 minutes blog or book writing
- 5 minutes check this month personal and professional goals
- 15 mins – plan the day on Trello
- My team start work at 9.30 – so 15 mins leeway built in.
So what all the above to do with giving up TV?
So besides just being a waste of my life, I mentioned staying up too late and or eating unhealthy snacks. They both have a negative impact as I don’t have the energy for my morning Fit Body and Mind rituals. If I don’t get up at 6 am, there is simply not enough time to get all my scheduled activities in, and it throws out my day.
I do have some afternoon rituals like writing which I try and keep to, but they get disrupted for various reasons. In my opinion, it is more effective that important habits and rituals are set to be implemented before the working day and after the working day. Like many people, my working day has to be highly flexible. I have to fit in seminars, training for myself and my team and seeing clients in and out of the office. This all serves to make my schedules for each week different making it difficult to stick to regular habits.
So my challenge is to set up and stick to an evening ritual for the evenings when I am not out on a social event. This is currently more difficult as after dinner at 7 pm I feel I have less energy than at the start of the day. However, this may also just be a limiting belief I need to work on
The following is a proposed 2-hour “Skills” ritual for the evening to substitute for watching TV. This will still leave around an hour to catch up on anything worthwhile
- 15 minutes Win Hof breathing – to generate more energy
- 30 minutes of ukulele practice
- 30 minutes of book or blog research
- 30 minutes of language learning practice
- 15 minutes meditation
Hopefully all of the above gives you an idea on how to set up and use the power of rituals as a strategy for integrating excellent habits into your life.
Enjoy the Journey
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