This 30-Minute Evening Ritual Will Help You To Kick Life In The Ass

After a busy day, it’s quite challenging to wind down and get ready for a good night’s sleep. Too often I find myself working until late. And sometimes I might find myself reading or watching a TV show.

And when you’re ready to go to sleep, you can’t. Your mind is buzzing with thoughts you don’t want at that time of day.

It’s no secret that a lot of people have difficulties with sleeping. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 45% of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep affected their daily activities at least once in the past seven days.

Why’s the evening so important? Well, you might have a perfect morning ritual, a fully planned calendar, and the intention to crush your day, but if you lack the energy, you’re not doing anything productive. 

During the past six months, I’ve experimented a lot with evening and morning rituals. What I’ve found is that a morning ritual is easy to implement in your life.

But they’re also easy to quit. When we wake up tired, we often fall back on our, not helpful, habits.

End result? You lose and life wins. You end up not focused, our of control, agitated, and just not happy overall.

That’s why I’ve created an evening ritual that helps me to get ready for some well-deserved rest. We all know it: Get 7–9 hours of sleep. But too often life gets in the way and we don’t follow common sense.

But with the following evening ritual, I’ve found a good way to bring more consistency in my evenings, and therefore, my life.

From minute 0 to minute 10: Close The Day

Every evening I take 10 minutes to journal about my day. In a few sentences, I write about what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve learned, and anything that’s worth remembering.

That simple exercise helps me to:

  1. Remember what I did (sounds stupid, but we forget most things we do).
  2. Review my progress and see whether I’m doing all the things that I should be doing (like reading, working out, spending time with my family, writing, talking to people I work with).

I’ve learned this exercise from Jim Rohn. He says:

“At the end of each day, you should play back the tapes of your performance. The results should either applaud you or prod you.”

It’s simple: Close the day before you start a new day. Also, close every week before you start a new week. Similar for every month, and every year.

Sounds simple, right? It’s one of those “simple” ideas that have a huge impact on your life.

From minute 10 to minute 20: Review Tomorrow’s Calendar

This is essential. When you wake up, you want to know exactly what your day is about. Do you have any important meetings or calls? Deadlines, maybe? What do you have to get done?

When are you working out? Do you have any pressing items on your agenda? When are you dealing with them?

This simple exercise takes away almost all stress and anxiety I have.

Most anxiety comes from unsolved problems. And often, we worry about problems that are not real. But when you say to yourself: I’m going to work on problem X from 10 AM until 11 AM, you can relax.

Also, there’s nothing you can do late in the evening. Just go to bed, already. Leave the problem solving for tomorrow when your brain is fresh.

From minute 20 to minute 25: Prepare your outfit

“Oh, you’re so vain.” No, I don’t want to unnecessarily stress my brain. Look, your brain is a muscle. And after a certain amount of decisions, your brain runs out of juice. And that means the quality of your decisions will decrease.

That’s called Decision Fatigue. But I’m not worried about that in the evening because I’m headed to bed so my brain can recharge. A few extra decisions won’t hurt. However, those few extra decisions will hurt your productivity if you think about your outfit in the morning.

So why not prepare your outfit so you don’t have to use your precious brainpower in the morning?

“Why don’t you wear the same thing every day?”

I’m no Steve Jobs.

From minute 25 till minute 30: Visualize

Because I’ve gone through my calendar earlier, I know what my day will look like. Next up: Visualize the next day in detail.

Charles Duhigg talks about this exercise in his new book Smarter Faster Better. Duhigg writes about how the most productive people visualize their days with more specificity than the rest of us.

I prefer to do this exercise in the evening because when I wake up in the morning, I still remember what I’ve visualized.

The result is: NO MORE snoozing.

You won’t believe how much I would hit the snooze button in the past. In fact, I would snooze so often that the alarm on my phone would just give up. The hardcore snoozers know what I’m talking about. Hit snooze so often and you win.

The opposite is true. Snoozing is for losers.

But I’m not losing anymore because of this 30-minute evening ritual. As a result, I go to sleep without stress, and I wake up with focus: I exactly know what I have to do to turn the day into a success.

And that’s what I want to achieve with this ritual. 30 minutes of your evening sounds like a pretty good ROI if you want to improve your life.

So give it a try tonight and find out for yourself. But don’t be surprised if you wake up tomorrow morning ready to kick life in the ass.


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8 comments

  1. Snoozing is for losers. — Couldn’t agree more.

    That’s a cool evening routine you have, thanks for sharing. Personally, I need some more relaxtion in order to fall asleep quickly. I guess I could exchange the 5 minutes for preparing the outfit (I’m with Steve Jobs on this) with blackrolling and stretching (or some yoga exercises).

    Cheers

  2. I don’t think about journaling in the evening, but I’m going to try it out. I automatically journal in the morning first thing – that’s my motivation for crawling out of bed. Lots of reasons to close out the day, too, shut down the anxiety about what I did not do during the day!

  3. This makes total sense to me – I like tangible actions that will make a difference. I keep a bullet journal to stay on top of my personal life outside of work – the perfect place for my daily recap of all things ‘me’. And I have heard about getting tomorrow’s outfit hung up in the bathroom or wherever is appropriate and I can testify that when I have done it, it works – I just need to be better at practicing the act of ‘planning ahead’. Thank you for the great ideas!

  4. The problem I have with journalling and pointing out what I haven’t done is that I will stress out about what I haven’t done. “Why didn’t you do that? You’re such a time waster. If you can’t do that, how do you expect to succeed at university? You need to do more tomorrow”. And this continues all night until my body finally gives up at around 3am. I kick myself for the smallest mistakes until I’m too paralysed to do anything at all. And then NOTHING gets done. The pile of things I need to do keeps getting higher and higher to the point where I just bury my head in the sand, and every time I think about them I have to take my medication.

    There’s gotta be a way to look at this mountain, take it apart and deal with it without fear.

  5. Darius Foroux,
    Evening time brain fatigue is common. Sometimes after light snacks and a good tea coffee also it is rejuvenating . But 3 hours from 7pm to 10 pm energy level is not same as in the morning.
    I tend to see lighter movies or news or lighter reading. Comprehending is bit reduced.
    Any more thoughts on it .India.

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