January every year is a month of new beginnings and self-improvement. There are many self help books and methodologies out there.

A common theme in a lot of these is habit. So for example there is Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit or there is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.

The idea is that if you keep repeating positive traits, they become habits and easy to repeat.

Habits are very powerful and precisely why they are built into many facets of our daily lives. For example, we brush our teeth in the morning and evening. We don’t even think about what we do when driving. It becomes so easy that it requires very little conscious effort.

I have been trying to put these into practice for the last few weeks, but I am ramping it up in January and trying to bring rituals into everything that I do in the hope that they become habits.

This has been a well known strategy for ages. Think of the way scrum has all it’s ceremonies of planning sessions, stand-ups etc..

It doesn’t have to be that structured either. You can have your daily list for example. A ritual around that might be something as simple as making sure it’s up-to-date when you are having your morning cup of tea.

Another example is to be proactive with your calendar. At the start of the week have a ritual of setting yourself in order. (Side-note: Calendars are not just for meetings, block out time for your tasks that you need to complete as well.) It helps if at the start you reward yourself for completing a ritual. For example, if you do your weekly planning, you can watch a funny youtube video.

Ultimately, after a while this will become second nature and you will be completing tasks with having to even think about it.