“Unhappiness indicates wrong thinking; just as ill health indicates a bad regimen.”
~ Paul Bourget
The regimen is the third essential component of good health. As in music, it’s all about rhythm. If you want your body to work flawlessly like a Swiss watch you will have to organize your routine — a set of regular patterns that would feel like an uninterrupted continuous flow.
Personally, I prefer to avoid the word “routine” for obvious reasons — we tend to associate this word with monotonous and boring work. I believe many people will agree that when they use the word “routine” something inside “turns off”.
Contrarily, the word “ritual” has a nice ring to it. Having a flavor of mysticism, it implies the presence of some spiritual meaning behind it. That is, in fact, the determinative characteristic of the ritual — it becomes sacral once you endow it with meaning. Meanings that you impose on the things you do deepen your engagement with them and hence increase your productivity.
Just to give you an example, I will share with you a set of my morning rituals.
Smile. I wake up. The first thing I do even before opening my eyes, I have a wide joyful smile. I keep it for 30 seconds. It instantly triggers the biochemistry that improves my mood. It is the best way to start the day.
Prayer. My eyes are still closed. I run my gratitude mantra inside my head:
Today I got lucky — I woke up.
I have this precious human life and I shall not waste it.
Please, God, keep us all safe.
Take care of my family and my friends.
Lead us on the path of mindfulness, wealth, and gratitude.
I feel blessed and grateful. I love you.
Daily journal. I take my smartphone and turn off the blue light filter. The light from the screen starts to wake me up exciting my brain. I open the daily journal app on my phone and start to take notes reviewing and adjusting the goals for the day. I go through my to-do list for the day, meditate on the calendar, and write some self-reflection.
I learned that the first thing in the morning should be the output of the information, not the input. Writing helps me to take full advantage of the clarity of thoughts right after the awakening.
Light exercise and cold shower. I get up. I do some push-ups and pull-ups to get the blood running and stretch my spine. I do some breathing exercises. I brush my teeth and take a cold shower.
Morning meditation. I sit down comfortably, stuff up my ears with earplugs, turn on the timer and close my eyes. I meditate for 10–60 minutes depending on how much time I have, and when I open my eyes, I am ready for the day.
Probably you already have your life rhythm. If not, design one. This whole subchapter is written with the sole purpose to encourage you to keep advancing and optimizing your daily rituals.
The regimen is not only a way to improve and maintain your health. It is an invaluable tool that will allow you to implement small marginal changes in your life that will accumulate with time and bring you to the harvest of unbelievable results.
Training yourself to follow a steady regimen will not only help you to do a fine-tuning of your body functions but will also better your time-management skills. A thoroughly designed algorithm of personal rituals is a form of choice minimalism. You don’t waste time when your day represents a robust sequence of steps.
As you can see from my example, my morning rituals include some very specific practices. These things work great for me and I observe a colossal positive change that I attribute to them. I would like to discuss these practices and talk about how you could benefit from implementing them in your life. Let’s ritualize.