Many of us have come to believe that rituals are an age-old approach to life. They sound like something our elders did that no longer seem useful. We're all familiar with rituals like waking up with the roosters, saying morning prayers, walking outside barefoot in the early morning and eating dinner together as a family every Sunday. These activities became rituals because they weren’t questioned, they just were. There was an unspoken understanding that slow, meditative, instinctual actions were important. Many of us have rituals we are not aware of and others lack rituals that are needed to truly make an impact in their lives. We know that it takes 21 days to develop a habit and 90 days for a habit change to become a lifestyle; it's time to get super clear about what we want our lifestyle to be like. In this article, the word “ritual” is any action that is done habitually, intentionally, with meditation and recurring. 

We have watched women like Cardi B, Gabrielle Union, Rihanna and Beyoncé slay the year as we watched in admiration. How are they winning both personally and professionally? The secret is the actions they take that we don't see. These key rituals will get you ready for 2018:

1. Intentionality

Human beings are creatures of habit, we can't help it. We naturally tend to repeat past behaviors, whether we intend to or not. The first key to unlocking your amazing 2018 is to make an assessment of 2017. What were your weak points? Where could you have worked a little harder? What risks could you have taken? What opportunities do you desire? Think back to how you spent your days and notice patterns. This assessment of self is key to understanding your work habits and crucial to noticing gaps. Make it a weekly or daily ritual to review how you spend your time and find areas to improve efficiency. 

2. Gratitude

The ability to recognize your current blessings is the key to inner peace and ultimately unlocks more blessings. Gratitude is not connected to a particular religious sect or belief system. It is the acknowledgment of all that has gone right so far and a deep thankfulness for it. Many of the most successful people who have carved out their own path have done so by staying grateful. Even when the cards are not stacked in their favor, they continue to stay grateful, which gives them the fuel to stay in the race. Implement a nightly or morning gratitude ritual. There are many ways to do this. A few are to say three things you are grateful for in the mirror each morning or write them down nightly. Watch your perception change and ultimately your actions which will impact your life if you stick to it. 

3. Morning Routine

How you start each day directly impacts your productivity, your mental state and your mood. Many of us start each day with only enough time to get to work or school. Morning routines are essential because they give us the space to start our days focused on our self-growth and intentions for the day. This may seem small, but think back to all the finance sessions that say you should pay yourself first. This is exactly that… pay yourself first with your time each day before dedicating it to other things. Your morning routine is essential to shifting your lifestyle. An example of a morning ritual could be prayer, journaling, meditation, going for a walk, lighting candles/sage, or working out. Do what works for you, but structuring your mornings will definitely impact your daily focus. 

4. Consistency vs Intensity

Many of us have the false impression that the intensity at which we work will be a reflection of the rewards. After one full year of full-time entrepreneurship, I broke down and cried because it felt like I was riding a hamster wheel. I felt like I was simply busy a lot of the time rather than actually being productive. What I learned on my journey is that this is a marathon, not a race. Running really fast for a short distance may work, but for a long marathon, the key is consistency. Your rituals must be so ingrained that they become second nature. With consistency comes momentum, and it is momentum that will build your ten thousand hours of mastery. When Cardi B first started posting videos on Instagram, she posted daily, no one knew that would lead to her music career. Music was another level of the marathon, she was consistent and built momentum that lifted her off. 

5. Transformational vs Transactional

The old saying goes that people do business with people. The relationships in your life are a true reflection of the success you've had. Make it a ritual to have transformational conversations rather than transactional. When you meet someone new instead of trying to figure out how they can help you, offer up the possibility of you helping them. Don’t focus too much on financial resources, think more about the quality of the conversation or interaction. Does your presence have an impact? We all hear stories from people who worked with Beyoncé expressing how not only is her work ethic impressive, but so is her kindness. In 2018, make it a ritual that each new person you meet will be a transformational exchange. 

6. Wellness Routines

None of us exist in a vacuum. Our emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health are all linked. Lisa Nicolas talks about her physical health being the last piece to the puzzle necessary to making the total lifestyle change into an abundant thinker. Develop some wholistic wellness rituals like leaving your workout clothes by the bed at night so it’ll be easier to get your workout going in the morning, drinking hot water and lemon, meal planning and drinking enough water for your body weight daily. These are the rituals that will connect your mind, body and soul on the path to winning in 2018. 

7. Beauty Routine

You might be wondering what your beauty routine has to do with anything, but in actuality it's essential. Think about the feeling you have when you get a fresh haircut or the hours you spend with your hair on wash day (that could pair with the wellness ritual, wash day is a workout!). What if that became intentional “me time?” Your trims can be a great ritual to coincide with your personal assessments, every eight weeks might be a good time to find the gaps in your life, release and start fresh. Say affirmations out loud to your hair and body during wash day. Like a plant, it will hear you and thrive. When you are doing your makeup in the morning, watch a motivational video, listen to uplifting music or light some sage to clear the energy of the day. Your beauty ritual is a great place to invoke the Divine Feminine. During 2018, let your beauty ritual be a place to connect to your inner self and get clear. 

These rituals are the keys to winning in 2018. They lead to inner peace, freedom and success, not only financially but also spiritually. Rituals culminate into a lifestyle. Practicing living each minute, hour, day and week more intentionally and purposefully will result in your winning year. There is no such thing as an overnight success. Those who are successful have become so through years of consistent action when no one was watching. It is important that the rituals you choose are not only focused on one area of life. If you have amazing habits in your career but neglect your physical, emotional or spiritual health, you will lack the endurance to stay in the marathon. Humans are holistic beings and each area of our life impacts the others. Those who are truly successful learn to master a mental state and lifestyle that is applicable to everything they touch. Everyone we saw winning in 2017 is doing so because of years of consistent practice, application and reflection. Let 2018 be your year by shifting your lifestyle and daily habits. 

Bonus tip: It might be overwhelming to change your lifestyle all at once. Trying to change too many things at once can make changes hard to stick to. Pick a ritual that works for you. Do it for 90 days and implement a new one every 90 days as you watch your life transform.