Advent 2018: Righteous Rituals
This year for Advent, I am taking a look back at some of my posts from previous years and sharing them once again with you. This post on what I then termed my ‘righteous rituals’ speaks to the importance and impact of small but consistent actions. This post was originally shared in January 2014.
This year, I don't know about you, but I want a new life! So instead of setting goals I've decided to do something different. I'm implementing rituals (or routines) and focusing on the actions I take on a regular basis. Many different articles, videos, blogs, etc. planted the seed for this shift in how I'm pursuing the life I want, forcing me to honestly examine what I do (and don't do) on a regular basis. If I look at my life, nothing that I have achieved has been haphazard. Earning three degrees (and now working on the fourth), getting ordained, learning to sew, even growing out this natural hair- all required routinized focus and commitment to a process. I'm also willing to admit that most of what I've not achieved is because I failed to commit to daily, focused, and consistent actions that would move me toward my goal.
This year I am calling my purposeful routine actions "righteous rituals." I started working with this idea in November in very small ways, just to see if it would result in a significant outcome or a legitimate sense of accomplishment. I started with my finances. By paying $20 per week to each of my store credit cards, I have been able to pay down $360 in credit card debt and I am on track to have them paid off completely by the end of May (if not sooner). Seeing how quickly debt can dissipate through righteous rituals got me to consider how savings can accumulate with the same commitment. So when my niece brought the 52 week savings plan to my attention, I decided to go for it as a way of building up our savings. I skipped ahead and started at week 6/$21 since I believe I blow about $20 a week on nonsense anyway. I'm interested to see if I remain committed to this righteous ritual and how it will pay off in the end.
Rituals- committing to a process or developing a system- should not be confused with settling in a passive way for incremental growth (that's NOT the life I want, that's the life I already have). This is more like incremental growth in rapid succession. This kind of goal-attainment opposes old-school conventional wisdom that says you have to wait forever for results, as well as our post-modern belief that life is supposed to instantly get better today. Rituals also produce discipline, commitment, and gratitude. I'm grateful for being able to pay down my debt and create more order in my life. Now that I have put my righteous rituals to the test in small ways, there are a multitude of rituals I am implementing that are directly related to the vision I have for my life in 2014. I will share more about this, gratitude, and massive action (all of which I am implementing) in the coming weeks, but in the meantime this article will offer some food for thought.