"If I don't change this now, my business will fail!"
That’s what our client Rachel told us one day.
We were talking about habits that were tripping her up, and putting her business on the slow path to growth.
Can you guess which habit we were talking about?
Keep reading, and you’ll find out in a second. You may have this bad habit too!
In this post, we’re going to show you how to create BIG results by making SMALL changes.
It’s all about creating “Pillar Rituals”.
As you’ll see in a moment, if you’re not where you want to be in your life or in your business…
You don't need to make big changers to your habits to get where you want to go!
You just need to focus on creating one Pillar Ritual at a time.
In this post, we’re going to break down what a Pillar Ritual is.
We’ll also walk you through a case study that will show you how to identify a Pillar Ritual.
NOTE: This is Step 1 of our PEAK Method for creating new rituals.
If you haven’t seen the post that outlines each step of the PEAK Method… you should check that out first before you dive into this step.
A Pillar Ritual is How You Create Big Results by Making Small Changes
First, let’s start with a quick definition of what a Pillar Ritual is.
What’s a pillar? It’s a column that holds up some kind of structure, like the roof of a building.
We call them Pillar Rituals because they are habits that support your success and keep you performing at a high level... even when times get rough.
In his great book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg reveals the power of focusing on “keystone habits”.
According to Duhigg, when you start changing keystone habits, “They start to shift, dislodge and remake other patterns... Some habits... matter more than other in remaking business and lives. They are keystone habits.”
Keystone habits... “Start to shift, dislodge and remake other patterns... Some habits... matter more than other in remaking business and lives. They are keystone habits.”
~Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
A Pillar Ritual is our term for “keystone habits”.
Just like with a keystone habit… A Pillar Ritual sets into motion a series of other positive changes in your life.
Here’s a major takeaway to understand about changing your habits...
Using Pillar Rituals helps you create big results with small changes.
You don’t have to create a bunch of new habits to be successful once you understand the power of Pillar Rituals.
You only need to change one or two small habits to get the momentum going.
We know about the power of Pillar Rituals from experience.
Many of our clients have made changes in results by making small changes in their behavior.
Think of a Pillar Ritual like a pebble that gets thrown into a pond. When that tiny pebble hits the water, it causes ripples that move far across the surface of the pond.
The first step of the PEAK Model helps you get clear on the one habit you need to change first.
In other words, you’re looking for the pebble.
One Ritual Case Study to Follow
As we walk you through each step of the PEAK Method, we’re going to explain all the steps using a case study. This is an actual ritual we helped one of our coaching clients create.
We chose this story because it clearly illustrates the steps of the PEAK Method.
Your ritual and the steps you take to install it will probably be different from these examples.
The key is to understand the principles behind each of these steps...
This will help you become a master at creating new rituals for yourself.
Also, a quick note about our terminology:
We’re referring to the negative habit you want to change as your Negative Habit (NH).
We’ll refer to the new, positive habit you want to install as a Pillar Ritual (PR).
Case study: Changing a negative habit of staying up late watching TV
We had a coaching client, we’ll call her Rachel, who noticed that she had fallen into a bad habit. She was staying up late watching TV almost every night.
For the rest of this series, we’ll be explaining how we coached Rachel to change this Negative Habit…
And replace it with a new Pillar Ritual of having a more regular sleep pattern.
Step 1: Identify the Negative Habit you want to change & figure out what it’s costing you
The best way to start creating rituals is to look at your negative habits.
Rachel enjoyed watching her shows, but staying up late had a negative domino effect on the rest of her day.
She would wake up tired from lack of sleep. Of course this made her more irritable and distractible during the day.
Or she would sleep in a little bit and then feel rushed the rest of the day, like she was constantly behind on her work.
She would rush to the office without having time for self care, without even eating breakfast. And she didn’t have time to get herself calm and centered for her day either.
When we asked Rachel what this negative habit was costing her, she paused and thought about it.
“Well, it’s costing me in my business. I’m tired the next day, so I have a hard time focusing. I don’t think as clearly because I’m not firing on all cylinders. So I don’t get as much done.”
She went on to explain all the pain it was causing her in her business.
She finished with this thought, “So it’s costing me money right now. And if I don’t change this, my business will fail!”
By the end of this simple exercise, she knew she had to change this Negative Habit.
Here’s a question that can help guide you in identifying your Negative Habit.
What are some habits you're doing right now that are slowing you down or keeping you from getting to your vision?
Make a list of a few negative habits, then pick the one you want to change the most.
Think of habits you have that cause you stress, cause you to lose productivity, or cause you to not be at your best.
Once you’ve picked out the Negative Habit you want to change, ask yourself:
What kind of pain or trouble is this Negative Habit costing me? Emotionally? Financially? In my family? In my personal life?
Step 2: Identify the one Pillar Ritual that will help you the most
Rachel decided that she needed a fixed, regular time to go to sleep.
She knew that going to sleep early would help her wake up early and start her day off on the right foot.
So that’s what she chose as her ritual!
Rachel's Pillar Ritual: Going to sleep by 10pm
As part of this step, you also want to get clear about the benefits of doing the new Pillar Ritual.
Rachel knew that when she woke up early, she usually took the time to work out. So her health would improve.
And she knew that working out made her calmer, more relaxed and more focused throughout the day.
So she could see how this one small change would create a ripple effect of positivity in her life.
Here’s a question that can help guide you to identify the Pillar Ritual…
What new positive ritual would transform your Negative Habit... and give you a chain reaction of positive results?
How will doing this ritual help you?
Ok, so at the end of this step you should have decided two things:
1) Which Negative Habit you want to transform
2) Which specific Pillar Ritual you’re going to create.
Try to think of a specific ritual that would solve this problem for you.
For now, don’t worry about how you’re going to make the ritual happen.
We’ll walk you through those steps in the next posts.
Rachel's Negative Habit: Staying up late watching TVRachel's Pillar Ritual: Going to bed by 10pm
Step 3: Write Down Your “Ritual Creation Statement”
The last step is to create your “Ritual Creation Statement”. This is a way to make sure you’re clear about the change you’re undertaking.
You should be able to fill in the blanks on this sentence:
If I did [Pillar Ritual] instead of [Negative Habit]...
I would [benefit/s you'll receive].
Here was Rachel’s statement:
If I went to sleep by 10 pm every day instead of staying up late watching TV...
I would work out, which would help me feel calmer, more relaxed, and focused throughout the day. I would also stay on top of my work better and grow my business faster.
Recapping Step 1 of the PEAK Method
So let’s recap Step 1 of the PEAK Method…
First, you want to identify which Negative Habit you want to stop doing.
Then, you want to choose a Pillar Ritual that will transform the Negative Habit... and also give you a chain reaction of positive results or momentum.
Finally, you want to write out the Ritual Creation Statement. This will help you get clear about your new ritual and the benefits of doing it.
Reminder: You’re not trying to remake a thousand smaller habits. You don’t need to change everything in your life to get big results.
When you start thinking in terms of Pillar Rituals or “keystone habits”...
You can start to dramatically increase your performance by making small changes.
Try to find the small pebble that will create a ripple effect in your life or business.
So that’s step one of the PEAK Method: Identifying your Pillar Ritual.
As a reminder, you can apply everything we shared above to your team if you have one.
The key is to find the Pillar Ritual that will help your entire team perform more effectively.
Still not sure you have the right ritual?
If you’re not sure which new Pillar Ritual to install first…
We highly recommend you pick a ritual that helps you stay calm or makes you happier.
Decades of research show that the ability to stay positive, calm and centered is a key driver for success.
Here are some examples of common rituals that will help you feel calm and happy...
- Meditating for at least 15-20 minutes a day
- Aerobic Exercise
- Gratitude Journals
- Guided visualizations
Note: This is a series about why change is hard, and how to create new rituals that fuel your success.
If you missed our overview of the PEAK Method, make sure you check that out.
In the next post we break down step two of the PEAK Method... Exact Triggers.
Dr. Nita Matthews-Morgan & Josh Matthews-Morgan are the co-founders of Learn Your Brain.
They are a unique mother-son team who specialize in helping entrepreneurs and business owners master their mindset.
They’re the authors of Deliver: How to Perform Your Best When it Counts the Most.