Investing in yourself so you can be more successful is like investing your money. You make calculated choices to manage your resources and gain returns over time. Yet many professionals neglect their self-improvement.
“Many of us (especially in the United States) spend as much — if not more — time at work than at home. If we don’t take care of ourselves physically and mentally, we won’t be able to be our best selves at work. Self-improvement is taking the time to understand who we are, what drives us and our strengths and weaknesses. The more we know about ourselves, the better we will be at navigating our lives – both inside and outside of work,” says Erica Keswin, workplace strategist and author of “Rituals Roadmap: The Human Way to Transform Everyday Routines into Workplace Magic.”
“Every aspect of our lives is connected: biologically, psychologically, and socially. If one area of our lives is not in alignment with the other aspects, our whole being suffers in one way or another, adds licensed therapist Keischa Pruden, LCMHCS, LCAS, CCS.
So if self-improvement is important yet tends to fall by the wayside, what’s the solution? Enter routines and rituals.
“Rituals give us what I call the three Ps. They give us a sense of Psychological safety and belonging and the opportunity to connect to Purpose. And when you add those two together you get the third P: increased Performance. There are many opportunities to weave rituals into our lives at work and transform our career and our role as leaders,” says Keswin.
Here are six career-changing rituals to incorporate in your life for greater happiness, wellbeing and success.
1. More human connection
According to Keswin, the stress of the pandemic encouraged leaders to get into the habit of checking in with their colleagues and teams more intentionally. And carving out that kind of time for more human connection in the workplace can revolutionize your entire career by making you and others feel more engaged and connected.
“Leaders who created rituals to truly check-in with their colleagues and teams saw increased employee engagement and connectedness. One leader shared that he asks his team this question, ‘How are you really, really doing?’” shares Keswin.
So get in the habit of connecting with your coworkers on a more personal level instead of getting straight to business and watch your satisfaction at work increase.
2. Regularly celebrating milestones
If you needed a reason to celebrate more, here it is. “It is important to celebrate the big and small wins – especially when we all are not in the office daily. Rituals that recognize wins help people stay motivated and connected to their team and the larger mission of the organization,” says Keswin.
3. Daily me-time
Your daily me-time should be non-negotiable regardless of how much you have going on. According to Pruden, making time for yourself should be a habit more than an afterthought, as the effects of burnout are far too common and pervasive:
“Making an effort to find and engage in activities dedicated to your enjoyment and that have absolutely nothing to do with work can actually help energize you for when you return to your work duties. Your brain has had time to shut down and recharge.”
4. Monthly professional development
Professional development can also be turned into a ritual. If you want to grow in your career, incorporating systems that allow you to learn new skills is crucial, says Keswin.
“Building rituals to learn is critical to improving career development. For example, Udemy has a ritual called DEAL: Drop Everything and Learn. Once a month, everyone collectively stops their day job and takes an online class to learn something new.”
Instead of procrastinating on your desire to take an online class or attend a conference, just make it a habit to learn new things on a regular basis, whether you do it weekly, monthly or quarterly. This can apply to any career or vocation. Whether you’re taking business management courses or shifting to a career in nursing, there are plenty of resources online to enable you to reinvent yourself in your career.
5. Check-ins with yourself
“One powerful exercise is reconnecting with a greater purpose,” says career confidence coach Emily Hirsekorn, JD, CPC, ELI-MP.
She recommends having regular check-ins with yourself where you jot down three things: reasons you originally decided to pursue your current career, what purpose your work is serving now, and how you’re making a difference in the world.
“If you like what you see, you can remind yourself of your purpose when you start to question it,” she says. And if you don’t like what you see?
“If you feel your current career is lacking purpose, it’s time to fill the gaps. Jot down how you’d like to be making a difference in the world, what shifts you could make in your career to fill that purpose, and one step you can take immediately to work towards that shift.” Then take action and watch your life transform.
6. Morning and evening routines
Kewsin calls the beginning and end of each day “prime rituals real estate.”
“For example, consider how you begin your day. A few deep breaths. A meditation. A cup of coffee. Think of what makes you feel most like you and build it into your day. Rituals make you feel more connected to yourself,” she says.
From a morning workout to gratitude journaling before bed, find ways to anchor habits that keep you connected to yourself in your daily schedule.