by Allison Aboud Holzer

bliss-tip-graphic-copyOn this lovely Super Bowl evening, I am reminded of the magnetic power of annual rituals. No amount of coaxing, pleading, or enticing with a delicious home-cooked meal could convince my husband to relegate Super Bowl watching for the evening. And while he graciously invited me to join him for the festivities, no amount of tackling, punting or grumbling men in spandex could convince me to watch. The Super Bowl is one annual ritual that many Americans partake in and fully enjoy – and one that I happily sit out!

As it turns out, between national holidays, religious holidays, birthdays, March madness, and more, we have a multitude of prescribed annual rituals that serve a purpose in our lives. In Tal Ben-Shahar’s book Happier, he talks about the importance of rituals in providing us with an opportunity for connection and reflection. We have a choice about whether or not to partake; if we do, they force us to set aside our busy lives for some leisure time, entertainment, and socializing with friends or family. Other more mundane annual rituals like trips to the dentist’s office or H&R Block promote our health or financial well-being. But what if, rather than simply deciding which rituals to enjoy (or happily sit out!), we actively and intentionally created our own?

I challenge you to create a new annual ritual that you think will bring you greater fulfillment in your life. Consider an area of your life where you would like to devote more attention. What type of ritual might you create? Here are some examples to get your creative juices flowing:

·Write a love letter to your spouse on the day you first met

·Create a bucket list and pick a special day every year to renew it

·Invite your best friends to an annual weekend getaway

·Pick a cause you care about and actively participate in an annual event or march

·Eat green eggs and ham on your birthday

Hmm. I might need to explain that last one. You see, every year I can remember as a child my mom made green eggs and ham on my birthday. She would wake me up in the morning with breakfast in bed and we would read the Dr. Seuss book together. It was such a simple thing, really – requiring just a little creativity and some green food coloring. But the impact was powerful. I looked forward to my green eggs and ham every year and remember that brief shared time together with great fondness.

As green eggs and ham illuminate, your new annual ritual doesn’t need to be complicated to have magnetic power and a positive purpose! It just needs to be fun and needs to be you.