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Having a regular routine is, well, routine — right?
We all have rituals we go through each morning, afternoon and night: Things we do out of habit or because they're the best way to do them. Guess what? Doing them makes us happier.
That's why a new article in Time magazine suggests that the No. 1 ritual to do every day is to ... use more rituals.
Stay with us here. As Harvard professor Francesca Gino, author of "Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan," has done extensive research on this topic and says ritual improves our lives.
There are several kinds of rituals, including:
Things like always preparing your own cup of coffee, toasting before a drink or sharing a meal together.
"[With these rituals] we end up savoring the food or whatever we are drinking more," Gino told Time. "Rituals are beneficial in the sense that they create higher levels of enjoyment in the experience that we just had."
The idea is that having a ritual like this helps you be present in your own environment rather than going through daily tasks automatically.
When you're having tough times, writing out your feelings can become a ritual to help you on the road to recovery. But be as frank and honest as possible.
"People who benefit the most from writing are able to find a voice that reflects who they are," said University of Texas, Austin professor Jamie Pennebaker.
We hate getting started on big projects, but having a "personal starting ritual" can help you ease into the challenge, said Charles Duhigg, author of "The Power of Habit."
"When people talk about procrastination, what they’re usually actually talking about is the first step," he said. "In general, if people can habitualize that first step, it makes it a lot easier."
That starting ritual can be fun: You promise yourself you'll play 5 minutes of a game, then begin. Set a timer, and stick to the plan.
We've all heard of goofy superstitions that supposedly encourage good luck, like a baseball player who won't change his socks. Well ... it kinda works. Studies have found that these rituals boost your confidence and can impact your performance positively. In the end, if you believe it gives you confidence, it gives you confidence. So keep those socks on!
But remember: These need to be your own personalized rituals, not ones you grabbed from celebrities because they sounded cool. Find out what works for you and do it again, and again and again ...