Whether it’s starting your day with a hot water and slice of lemon instead of a coffee, developing a meditation practise or nurturing a creative pursuit like drawing or writing, great things can come from committing to daily rituals.
To establish a new daily practise a certain amount of groundwork has to be put in to make it stick. The best thing to do is to just start. Just imagine you have a 7-day goal to see your daily practise through, once you have 7 days under your belt you’ll be more motivated to carry on for the next 7. Then, soon enough you’ll start reaping the benefits of the practise and it’ll become engrained in your daily routine as a priority, rather than something you have to work hard to maintain.
1. Establish a morning routine that will serve you
Get off to a good start with a morning routine – see ‘8 things each person should do before 8am’. This really helped me see the impact that a structured morning routine can have on the rest of the day. Getting a good nights sleep prior to this is the most precious investment.
2. Set time aside
Find an allotted time each day to complete your practise. As soon as you wake up, before you leave the house, during lunch... Figure out when you’re realistically going to stand a better chance of doing it and carve the time out like you would an important meeting in your diary. A varied schedule may mean that this needs to be at different times on different days – plan ahead and figure out when you’re able to do it in the week to come.
3. Remind yourself of your intention
When it’s time to get down to it (usually when the resistance sneaks in) remind yourself of the benefits of doing it. Ask yourself where your intention comes from. Is it to improve your health? Imagine you’re gifting yourself something that money can’t buy and that no one else can give to you – quite an empowering thought.
4. Track your progress
Keep a log. Because who doesn’t love the physical act of noting something down or crossing something off as having been completed. It could be a tick on the calendar or a note in your diary. By physically noting the completion of your task you’re likely to feel motivated to keep going.
5. Cultivate Gratitude
Remind yourself that the ability you have to do this task is a privileged. I know, sounds a little ‘I’m so blessed’ but this has been a really powerful thought for me. When I feel the resentment creeping in when it’s time to get down to my practise I try and remind myself that I’m lucky to be in a position where I am able to do it. Gratitude is something you can grow, if you say to yourself enough times that you’re grateful for a particular thing something quite amazing happens, you actually feel grateful for it.
6. Write about it
Write about your feelings towards the process – the good, the bad, the things that help you succeed in continuing to nurture it. Writing about your experience can reveal some interesting aspects of the whole process that may not have come formed in the same way as a thought swirling around your mind.
I’m no daily habit instiller extraordinaire, oh no. I’m currently trying to complete a set of physiotherapy exercises and I’m finding it so challenging because unlike chanting, meditation or my self-yoga practise which I’ve made a real effort to nurture, I don’t enjoy doing these exercises. I’m still at the point where I really don’t look forward to doing them but the above things are helping me approach it more positively and fit it more harmoniously into my daily routine and slowly but surely things are starting to shift.
I’d love to hear your tried and tested tips for making a daily practise stick so do let me know.