Here at Culina Health we like to approach nutrition from different angles, not just food. Of course, there is physical activity, there’s mindset and self-talk, and then there’s the underdog: rituals. Rituals play a critical role in habit formation and behavior change. Incorporating rituals into your day creates a positive domino effect for cementing and instilling healthy habits into your life. Some of the most successful and productive people in the world are ritualistic. Think of an athlete that has a ritual on game day, a band that huddles before every big concert, or a news anchor that begins and ends every show with the same greeting and goodbye.
I tell my clients to think of rituals as mini accomplishments throughout that day. These mini accomplishments can actually have a great effect on the overall way you live your life. These ritualistic habits are something you can rely on, and look forward to, to help make you feel great throughout the day. For those that struggle, or are intimated, with the idea of “getting started” and may believe they lack motivation, incorporating am and pm rituals are tiny actions with big pay offs.
I like to think of am and pm rituals like bookends that anchor our day. One small accomplishment every morning can have an incredible cascade effect on the rest of your day. Think of it like a springboard. A mini win before you sit down for your first meeting for the day can significantly change your perception and attitude, in terms of being more motivated to stick with your goals.
At night, ending your day the same way can serve as signal that it’s officially time to unwind. This can assist in relaxation, stress relief, and even help with overall sleep quality. They can also help with mindfulness, as you’re forced to carve out a pause to do something just for you. You are the expert when it comes to your own body and own routine. The same is true while setting up new habits. Everyone has their own footprint when it comes to habits, and you can’t borrow someone’s goal or ritual. The hope is that you’ll maintain the rituals or “keeper habits” that work for you. In the meantime, feel free to borrow some of my favorite ideas below.
One of my personal favorite AM rituals is getting up 45 minutes before everyone else in my house. It gives me time alone to nurse my beloved cup of coffee. Read the news, skim your email, and enjoy some quiet time before the chaos of the day. Your ritual can be sipping a cup of joe, maybe it’s stretching for 5 minutes on a foam roller before you work out. Whatever it is, knowing you have something of your own to look forward to may help get you out of bed.
Anchor the day with a supplement routine, like a vitamin D and probiotic in the morning and then a magnesium supplement before bed. Supplements not only fill in certain gaps within your diet, but taking them at specific times of the day can help maximize the supplement’s efficacy.
Write Your Win
The idea of journaling can totally be daunting for some. Where to start, what to write? I love the idea of writing your win at the end of every day. It can be one win or 5! You’re the boss. What’s one thing that happened over the course of the day that you’re proud of- nutrition related or not- that you can jot down at night? Not only does this become a quick ritual before bed, but it also helps you tap into practicing some gratitude. Too tired in the pm to commit? Write down two goals for the upcoming day as you sip your morning beverage.