Inspired Living: Sunday Rituals for Reflection and Improvement

August 19, 2016


Ah, Sunday, the day of rest. As one week comes to an end and another begins, it’s vital to take some moments to get back to basics. This means getting in touch with how I’m feeling and focusing on progression in the week ahead. This isn’t another pamper post, but rather a 10-step guide to a sunday ritual you can use to hit the refresh button and revitalize.

So often our brains “snowball,” meaning we think a thought, and then we think another thought along a similar thread and another and another. Before we know it, we’re operating at warp speed. This can be great if we’re in “the flow” and working on a creative project. It’s not so great if we’re suffering from complete and utter overwhelm. This can be overwhelm with work, relationships, finances, health, and whatever else.

Whether you do this on a Sunday or another day doesn’t really matter. The point of the exercise is to create a ritual of pausing for mental digestion. It’s a three-part exercise that covers all your bases, these being: reflection, intention. and action. The first four questions encourage you to look back on the previous week. The benefit of doing this is opening your eyes to how you lived your life that week. This works on your consciousness.

The next two questions encourage you to put forth intention for what you’d like to achieve in the week to come. This allows you to feel the internal satisfaction of creating a goal and seeing it through to fruition. We are encouraged to have these massive, abstract goals for ourselves like “get married,” “buy a house,” and “own our own company.” These are of course worthy ambitions if they truly resonate with you, but you aren’t going to feel the satisfaction of these for many moons from your starting point. I find it far more beneficial to focus on small-scale goals that are actually tangible. There is no better boost for your self-confidence than realizing that you are capable at whatever you set your mind to.

The last four questions are a call to take action. Even if it feels more natural for you to procrastinate and vegetate on the couch, know that you can change. It feels false at first–even forced–but ritualistic actions become habits. If you want to make real change in your life and truly work on being the best version of yourself that you can be, it starts with pretending. Let me elaborate on this.

Let’s say you loathe ironing. Instead of doing it well before you need the garments, you wait until the morning of that important meeting and rush around trying to get it done. You know deep down it would serve you far better to spend the morning relaxing, perhaps cooking yourself a nice breakfast, and reviewing your notes. But instead, you are kicking yourself for having put off the ironing and end up leaving the house in a state of disarray. You spend the whole drive to work feeling like you’ve forgotten something. Train yourself to do this chore when it first piles up, and it’ll become habit. It may irritate or bore you at first, but over time it’ll simply be something you do as part of your routine. Less forced, more freeing. You’ll also begin to see the benefits of helping yourself out.

Like Chinese philosopher Confucius taught his disciples, paying attention to the small things in our lives is the way to make real, lasting change. Just as a small stone dropped into a lake creates ripples that are felt at the perimeter, small actions spill over into bigger areas of our lives. Humans need ideas they can grasp if they are to do something with them. We need to feel that an action or choice is within our reach if we are to pursue it.

Without further ado, I give you my Sunday Peaceful Practice Ritual. Embrace your inner power to design your life, and in a year from now, you’ll be glad you took the time.

Sunday Ritual for Reflection and Improvement

1. What are 5 things you enjoyed this week? Pause with gratitude for each experience.

2. Which 3 people did you spend the most time with? What do you value most about them? This is particularly beneficial if one or several of these people bring out a negative emotion in you. Perhaps it’s a jealous colleague or overbearing mother; focus on the best in these people; doing so will release some of the tension.

3. What is 1 kind action that you took for someone or the planet? Pause and be proud of yourself for this action. You made the world a brighter place when you decided to take this step.

4. Name 1 thing that worried or upset you. Why was this the case? Do you feel you dealt with it well? If not, how could you improve in future? Is there something you could do to diffuse a situation like this from happening again?

5. What is 1 small goal you have for the week ahead? How will your life be improved by accomplishing this?

6. Name 1 person you can connect with and make time for this week. Relationships are the foundation of our experience in this life, so make sure you take the time to help yours flourish.

7. What is 1 area you can tidy or organize in your home? Clear away the cobwebs and nurture your living space.

8. What is 1 nice thing you can do for yourself? From using a face mask to getting an early night’s sleep, pick something that you can look forward to and take care of yourself.

9. What is 1 thing you are going to read or watch this week that will expand your mind? Knowledge is power, so make sure you read or watch at least one piece that will get you thinking.

10. Choose 1 new pursuit this week. It could be a new recipe to make, place to go, or activity to do. We are here to experience life to the fullest, so allocate time for adventure each week and you’ll soon be on the path to fulfillment.

Do you have a Sunday ritual? Let us know in the comments below 🙂

Also by Kat: 6 Months a Vegan: What I’ve Learned So Far

Related: How Metta Meditation Taught Me to Self-Reflect the Hard Way

How to Practice Appreciation Yoga

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Photo: Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy is an Arizona-based physiology doctoral student and holistic health advocate writing about science, health, and her experiences as a third culture kid and global nomad. She's @sphynxkennedy everywhere.


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