Hey, my friends! Kenny Chapman here with another head-scratcher for you today.
In my time coaching home service professionals and leaders of all kinds, I spend time talking about rituals vs. routines.
It’s a picky topic, but one that can change the way you lead and make the most of your life and business.
Let’s dig in and make our today better than our yesterday.
Ritual Vs. Routine Vs. Habits
I realized over the last couple of years the difference between rituals and routines.
You know, I’m big on habits.
I’ve taught and consulted and coached, and spoke on habits for a large part of my career.
In my book, The Six Dimension of C.H.A.N.G.E. 2.0, each letter is part of an acronym for leading effective change:
- Never give up
Habits are one of the key elements in my book, and it’s related to rituals and routines.
We talk about habits and how to rewire them and different things.
But until the last couple of years, when I dove deep into reprogramming the subconscious mind, did I go into exploring routines and rituals and different things like that?
Today I want you to take a step back.
I want us to embrace behavior change and our greatest self, and that’s going to come from rewiring kind of some neuro-associations in the brain.
We have habits that are a large part of our lives.
Experts in studies and different things say up to 80-85% of what you and I do daily is habitual.
We don’t even think about it.
And then we moved to routines.
Habits To Routines
There are certain things that we intentionally do over and over again.
We understand and utilize those habits as routines.
Some routines are great extensions of habits.
Some hold us back.
This is where I have a tendency to be stuck personally.
When you think about these three, I want you to realize that habits are automatic.
Habits are just what you do without thinking.
The main difference between a habit and a routine is deliberate practice.
Brushing your teeth before bed may be a habit. Are you thinking about it, or is it something you do?
Going to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays is more of a routine. You have to make yourself do it.
It’s intentionally chosen. It’s a habit, but it’s a chosen one.
This makes it a routine.
One of them has a little more thinking involved.
I don’t just automatically wake up and find myself at the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
It’s a routine.
So there’s a little more deliberate execution involved there.
Routine To Ritual
Then the ritual is really about attitude or meaning tied to it.
Now, this is where the game changed for me personally.
I had always struggled with the practice of journaling.
Like when I say I struggled, I should say I never had a hard time starting journaling.
I’ve started journaling practices 20 times in the last 15 years.
Time and again, I’d say:
Oh yeah, I’m going to start journaling, go to a great workshop, seminar events, something, listen to a podcast, watch a video. Oh yeah, that works for all these people. I’m doing it too!
As a routine, I could never stick to it because there was always something that would get in the way.
Now I coach people around journaling practices.
It’s so important, but I couldn’t commit to it for the longest time.
And the issue was around this idea of routine vs. ritual.
When I journaled as a routine, I wasn’t able to stick to it.
But when journaling became part of my daily ritual, it clicked.
Let me say that again.
I literally have not missed a day since it became part of my ritual.
One at the time I’m writing this, somewhere around over a year and a half, every single day I journal, and it changes shape and form at times, but I don’t miss it.
Because now it’s tied to something bigger.
Now it’s a ritual.
Rituals Will Change The Leadership Game
I have the energy and attitude around my rituals, not my routines.
I invest a lot in my own coaching training, learning education.
And one of the things that have hit me around routine is I almost have a negative connotation around routine.
I almost feel like it’s a blocker or a closed a little bit.
It’s probably my mindset around it, but when I hear the word “routine,” I get a bad feeling.
Oh, the routine. I’ve got to go to the gym.
I don’t want to go to the gym, but I got to go to the gym.
Oh, I’ve got to go do this. It’s part of my routine.
But when my coach first started opening me up to a true ritual process, the game changed, and I wanted to also share this with you.
You know, I’m open with you here on my blog and my podcast.
I had a limiting belief around routine AND rituals at first.
I associate the word so much with the religious aspect of the term.
Rituals had to be spiritual, or rituals had to be religious.
But I’m not here to talk about spirituality or religion. It’s all good; go for it.
We’re here to talk about how to be better leaders, especially in the home service field.
Rituals in your life are not tied to spiritual or religious experience.
A ritual is just simply something that has a bigger meaning to you.
It’s the attitude of how you approach a routine.
Now you can start to realize and understand how this works.
Anytime we think about change models or changing human behavior, reprogramming the subconscious mind, and different things like that, we need to talk about what’s been called the habit loop.
Habit Loops: Breaking The Cycle In 3 Steps
There are different variations of the habit loop, but I kind of feel like it’s simple.
I’m a simple guy.
I like simple solutions.
In life, I have a lot of weaknesses as a person and even as a leader. I’ll admit it.
But I also have strengths. We all do.
One of my biggest strengths is taking complex things and breaking them down, and simplifying them.
This is one of the reasons I like coaching high-level entrepreneurs: to remove complexity and rewire their brains, to simplify what they’re looking for and what they want to create in their lives.
With the habit loop, I simplify to say there are three things in a habit loop we need to be aware of.
Action And Reward
There’s action; there’s the reward.
Habits don’t really care if things are good or bad. They happen.
When I was a drinker, I had a habit of drinking.
It was bad for me, but I also realized there was a trigger.
I had stress. There was action.
I had a drink. There’s a reward.
I felt better. Right.
Even though it was destroying me mentally and physically, I did get benefit from that.
That’s one of the things that you need to understand when you look at habits, and you think:
Oh my gosh, why do I do this? I kicked my own butt. I shouldn’t do it—shame on me.
You get a benefit from things.
There’s an action that you actually take.
And then there’s some reward that you get.
I want you to be mindful of that because there’s another concept that we call habit stacking, where you can take a habit that you start doing and doing, and then you can layer on something else.
Some people will habit stack when it comes to morning routines.
I’ve got a client that’ll brush their teeth in the morning and right as soon as they get to that part in their day.
Maybe they’ve had some coffee, and when they brush their teeth and immediately go into their workout clothes and get on the treadmill, and they walk.
Now I’m habit stacking because soon as I brush my teeth, my habituation knows now it’s time to dress and workout.
I want you to think about where’s this showing up because we also have habit stacking that can count against us.
If you have a habit of getting home and sitting on the couch or getting home and mixing a drink and watching TV, that’s habit stacking as well.
You’re just not aware of it.
We need to unpack those if we’re going to rewire our brains and build good habits into routines and then into powerful rituals.
When you look at your routines, make some conscious effort to really explore and decide when you’re making self-care and positive efforts in your life and business.
Invest In Turning Positive Routines Into Rituals
Even after many years on this earth learning and changing, I still look at myself and change my habits, routines, and rituals.
In my past, I valued freedom more than anything in the world.
I now value my self-care more than anything in the world.
That includes my intimate relationships.
That includes my finances.
It includes my business.
That includes my team.
I value and honor my own self-care.
Some people will say that selfish.
I say that’s selfless.
I don’t believe that I can give my very best if I’m not at my very best.
And I can’t be at my very best if I don’t have a ritual to make sure that I’m continuing to unlock my very best.
I want you to think about that for yourself.
- What routines do you have that you’re doing?
- Which ones hold you back?
- Which ones push you forward?
- How emotionally invested are you in the good routines?
Sometimes we start good habits, maybe we stick with them long enough for them to become routines, and then they fall off.
If you’re human and you’ve tried to ever do anything better in your life, you’ve probably experienced this.
Where we fall apart is the energy. There’s an awareness point where we devote time and emotion, and reflection and align this new routine with something more important in our lives.
There are a lot of people who pick up better eating habits after a medical emergency.
They stick with it; they’re bought in.
Why? They’ve got emotion tied into it.
Unfortunately, in many cases, serious damage has already been done that can’t be repaired.
I don’t want you to have an emergency in your business or as a leader where you finally invest in better routines and turn them into rituals.
I want you to start these things now and unlock your greatness right away.
And I want you to give yourself the energy you deserve so you can be your very best for you and your team and your family and your business and the world.
It’s at this step we break out of those unconscious and mindless habit loops.
Homework: Raise Awareness, Be Intentional, Build Rituals
Our life is filled with habits. Most of the decisions and actions we take are built on habit loops we’ve developed in our lives, most of them without intent.
Those habits have turned into routines. Things we do, and as driven people, as we are, we often seek to change them and ourselves for the better.
But we fail.
We all do
But to really change the game, we need to turn from the idea of building routines. Those won’t break habits.
We need to build rituals. These are what will break the habit loop and unlock our greatness.
So here’s my homework for this topic:
1. Take some reflection time to write down some of the most impactful habits in your life.
This will be a lot, so narrow it down to habits involving self-care and your business directly.
2. Look at the habits/routines and raise awareness of why you do them and what other habits are stacked with them.
This whole process may take a bit of time each day. Invest this time in yourself.
3. Look at some good habits you want to add or replace the negative ones. Write about what emotional buy-in you can invest in these habits to keep you motivated.
Don’t cop out by just saying something like: “Because it’ll make me healthier” or “It’ll help my business.” Yes, those are important things, but do you really care or feel about that?
4. Take action.
Write down the actions you’ll take and do them. Now keep coming back and reflecting on the whole process.
Give it a shot for one month, my friends. Do this every day for one month, at least 20-30 minutes of reflection time and intent time every day.
You’ll be amazed at what you can unlock inside you.
Now go and make it a better-than-fantastic day!