How to Be Happier by Taking a Daily Selfie

Today, we’re going to discuss Rituals:

Why Rituals are Important and
How Rituals Will Make You Happier and More Productive.

How to do Great thingsThe purpose here, is to calm your mind and get out of fight or flight mode and get into a powerful state of mind.

I’m not talking about NLP or any of that stuff.

I’m going to share with you a centering ritual that, when I use it, helps me stay focused and present, because, when you feel centered, focused and present your brain operates on a different frequency.

You make decisions based on data, not emotions.

When you take emotions out of your decision making process, it helps you do the right things at the right times, and you will reduce the amount of time you spend on the activities that create more stress and are a general waste of time.

I’m suggesting that if we focus our efforts on doing small things greatly, then it opens us up to be able to do great things. (CLICK TO TWEET THIS)

This post will tie together with everything we’ve discussed up to this point.

The previous posts in this series we discussed:

The Nature of Habits. (clickable)

  • How Habits Form,

  • Why Bad Habits Exist

  • How to Hack Your Habits

  • The KEY to Lasting Habit Change

 –How to Stop Worrying (clickable)

  • How to Escape Information Overload

  • Overcome Shiny Object Syndrome

  • The Beastie Boys Breathing Method.

  • The Pros and Cons of a Mindfulness Practice

— How to Get More Done in Less Time (clickable)

  • How I Reduced My Anxiety Level by at Least 3-Fold in just over a Month.

  • How to Deal with Minor Set Backs.

  • An Old School System that Richard Branson Helped Me Tweak.

  •  How to Deal with Shame and Focus on the Essential Things In Your Life.

Let’s get into it…

What are Rituals and How Can they Help You?

Photo Credit

Photo Credit

We derive the word ritual from the latin word rite, which has several different connotations.

For our purposes, we’ll say a rite is a customary observance or practice.

And by the end of this post, I’m going to show you a few of my personal rites and rituals. But, I have to warn you, they’re a little weird. Don’t judge.

Remember: Rites and Rituals help you focus on the present moment.

You’re much more effective when you bring all of your awareness into the activity that you’re doing.

The ability to bring your full awareness to the present moment is a very valuable skill. And, like any skill, if you want to master it, you need to practice.

We’ve already discussed this to some degree in the article “How to Stop Worrying” (See Link above).

But, here’s the deal, when you’re already stressed out and overloaded with information, it’s almost impossible to practice sitting still for 20 minutes twice a day, even if it will help you become insanely productive.

Most productivity systems stress me out. I’ve tried quite a few. None seemed to stick.

The more I learn practice time management the more I agree with James Clear.

Your time management system will “stick” once you learn to manage your energy.

You want to create a flow of joy that lasts throughout your day.

We all have task lists that need to be done. Some things you enjoy. Some things, not so much. And some things you should probably avoid.

Let’s look at the things you don’t enjoy and see if you develop some sort of ritual that makes the activity fun for you.

Gamify Your Life

That’s right, make a game out of the mundane tasks that you do on a regular basis.

The purpose of doing that is to make best use of the Reward Center of the brain, because the more rewarding an activity feels, the more you’re compelled to do it.

That’s the way your brain works. The cool part about it, is that you can trick your brain into liking almost anything. It just takes a little effort and forethought.

Here’s part of my list of things that I don’t want to do: Laundry, cleaning, dishes, yard work, home repairs, car repairs, website maintenance, graphic design, and the list goes on.

At the moment, I have two choices: either do those things or leave them for Annette to do. A third choice is to outsource these tasks to people who enjoy them. But, until that makes sense, I’m an army of one.

Unfortunately, choice number two is a dick move. So, those activities need to be folded into my weekly/daily workflow. They need to become part of my routine. Here’s what I do.

How to Make the Mundane Tasks Fun and Easy to Do.

Anyone who has ever shared a home with me will tell you that I don’t make the bed, and I let dishes pile up in the sink.

It’s almost a compulsion. I’ve moved dishes out of the sink, on to the counter so I could fill up a pitcher of water, and put the dishes back into the sink. hahahhaa…. It never even phased me.

But, in my quest to be a better man, I started to take into account how simple actions affect the people in my life. Yeah, I know, not a revolutionary concept, but sometimes I’m selfish. I get wrapped up in striving to build an empire, and I forget about the little things.

Eventually, I realized that dishes were one small thing that would make a difference.

Annette, loves coming home to a clean kitchen. I love Annette. So I clean the kitchen.

To break through resistance, ask:

“What is the Purpose and Meaning of This?”

Oddly enough, everything seems to have a deeper meaning.

Each of those mundane things serves a bigger purpose.

Here’s what I mean.

Imagine a sink full of dishes.

You ask “what’ the purpose and meaning of cleaning these things, and cleaning the kitchen?”

You realize that it feels nice to come home to a clean kitchen. You love eating off of clean plates. And if you clean the kitchen, then you get to give that gift to your partner.

If you don’t have a partner, you get to give that gift to yourself.

Once you give a bigger meaning, resistance begins to fade.

You can take it a few steps further by making some sort of game with it. I don’t recommend you go for speed. Too many things go wrong there.

When Annette isn’t here, I treat doing the dishes as a form of Tai Chi.

I center my balance. Breath into my core. And move with each breath.

Breathing in: remove item from sink carry the breath and the item to dish rack. Breathing out: bring breath and hands back to center then to sink.

The dogs seem to get a kick out of it. And it works. Not only does it make me feel a little giddy to walk into the kitchen clean, it’s rarer and rarer that Annette comes home to anything but clean.

More often then not, her dinner is plated shortly after she returns home for the evening.

Next phase is to keep the living room from looking like a dog toy box exploded and took couch cushions with it.

So, How can you find ways to make doing mundane tasks enjoyable?

How to Create Powerful RitualsRituals aren’t just for mundane tasks.

They’re even more helpful for repetitive tasks that you want to do.

I’ll use writing for this example.

Since the moment I dreamed to be a writer I imagined living in my PJs.

I will test the effectiveness of PJs vs Getting Dressed on my productivity in the months to come.

But, one thing is almost certain, I will continue to pull my hair up like a drunken Samurai when I sit down to write.  And most likely the hoodie stays.

The point of creating these rituals is to bring your attention to the task at hand.

Too often, we engage mindlessly, and in doing so we leave ourselves open to overwhelm and overthinking.

Before I sign off today, I want to leave you with one more thing.

If you decided that you wanted to Keep a Journal, and you want a process to help you create fast and long lasting changes in every area of your life, then I think you should…

Take a SELFIE Every Evening (or once a week)

Calm down.

Don’t go all “Fourteen Year Old Girl on Me.” (Pete)

I’m not talking about that kind of selfie, although, you could combine the two for maximum results.

Try this Daily S.E.L.F.I.E. Ritual to Make You Happier and More Productive

How-to-Be-Happier-by-Taking-a-Daily-SELFIECheck in with yourself and where you are at in six areas of your life.


What did you do today that helped you feel connected?

Do you feel a sense of oneness?

Do you feel whole?

How was your sense of presence?


Were you kind to the needs of your body?

Remember Maslow… (breath, water, nutrition, stretch, move, rest)

Each day is different. Do what’s right for you on that day. Plan what’s right for you tomorrow.


If you’re in a relationship: Were you the partner that your partner dreams about?
If you’re single: Were you the person that your ideal mate is searching for?

Family and friendship

Did you show up in a healthy manner?
Do you need to reach out in a special way?
Who could you reach out to tomorrow?

Intelligent Mind

What did you learn today?
What do you need to learn?
What book will you read tomorrow?
What training will you consume?


What actions did you take that will help you reach your financial goals, and/or grow your business?

What actions can you take?

After you take your SELFIE, see if you need to add anything to your NOT TO DO LIST.

Hope this helps.

Love your faces,


PS If this did help, then do me two favors. 

1. Comment Below with your biggest takeaway from today

2. Share this with your social network.

This article was part 5 of an 8 part series

How to Stop Overthinking and Unlock Your Happiness Now

Part 1: The Over View to Happiness 101 and a Little About Me

Part 2:  My Favorite Coping Mechanism to Overcome Stress and Anxiety.

Part 3: The Key to Achieving Personal Goals isn’t What I Thought.

Part 4: Get More Done in Less Time with this Old School Tool.

Part 5: [You Are Here] How to Build Rituals that Will Make You Happy and Productive.

Part 6: [coming soon] What are Your Keystone Habits?

Part 7: [coming soon] Know when to Stay the Course and When to Pivot because Time is too Precious to Waste.

Part 8: [coming soon]  How to be Fluid and Calm During Challenging Times so that You Can Get More Out of Life.

Ways to Help Anxiety

About The Author


Hi, I'm Tim McAuley the founder of Soul Surfer School where I help people learn how to get out of their own way so they can create the life they deserve by sharing proven techniques to create better habits so they can do the work to actually deserve the life of their dreams.

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