The Power of Small Rituals

Posted 05.10.2023

At what point in your day or your week do you fully unplug?

It’s an interesting and perhaps a challenging question since, for most of us, our phones and all the data streams they provide are almost always in reach. Without some sort of intentional interrupt scheduled into your day, it’s easy to stay plugged in from the time you wake up in the morning until the time you fall asleep at night.

With that sort of rhythm, your thoughts are never truly your own. There’s always a notification or an urge to grab the phone and go down the rabbit hole of someone else’s thinking.

All of this has been on my mind since my wife, Diane, and I began a small evening ritual a few weeks ago that has proven to be a powerful way to unplug for a few minutes each day. Since the front porch and front rooms of our new house face directly west up a street that leads to the horizon, our new ritual is to sit and watch the sunset each evening.

Some nights (like the one in the picture that accompanies this post), the sunset is stunning. On other nights, there is hardly any sunset to even observe. One thing for sure is that every sunset, just like every day, is completely different from the last or the next. It’s a great reminder for us of the transitory nature of life. Since conditions are always in a state of change, the best you can do is to make the most of the conditions that are presented.

And that’s what we’re trying to do during our nightly sunset ritual. Make the most of the sunset that is presented. We grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine, put the phones down and just watch the sky while we talk about whatever enters our minds. There’s a beginning and an end to the time that’s not in our control, which is nice. Sunset is going to start when it starts and end when it ends. It’s good to let go of our own clocks for a little while each evening.

When I talk with leaders about creating their own Life GPS®, I focus a lot on the routines – physical, mental, relational, and spiritual – that help them live and lead at their best. Because all of us have limited time, I encourage my clients to adopt routines that have a lot of leverage by touching on two or more of those four categories.

Diane and I have found that our evening sunset ritual has a lot of power because it has a lot of leverage. There are definitely mental benefits that come from unplugging each evening. There are clear relational benefits as we give ourselves space to catch up, share, and dream. And depending on what we’re seeing and sharing, there can be strong spiritual connections to a sense of purpose and life’s bigger picture.

So, our new powerful and simple ritual is a nightly date with the sunset. What small ritual has proven powerful for you? Which one do you want to start? If you’re reading this on LinkedIn, please share in a comment. If you’re reading through the link from my newsletter, please send me a note.

If you liked what you read here, subscribe here to get my latest ideas on how to lead and live at your best.