What is a keystone habit?
We set goals, get excited by them, keep our eyes on them, and with everything within us, we set forth to achieve them.
However, we get to the point we can’t go further because we are no longer able to keep up with the actions. Most times, this is because they are not part of us. The actions are not habits which we can keep doing for as long as we want. Hence, the excitement dies out. We just can’t move forward. The goal remains unachieved.
That is what brings us to the topic of today: Keystone habits.
Keystone habits are those habits which, when we form them, create a chain of positive ripple effects, making it easy for other positive habits to start.
Charles Duhigg first used this term in his book The Power of Habit.
According to him:
Keystone habits are “small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives.”
With a keystone habit, you don’t have to worry about forming many habits simultaneously. You just need one or two keystone habits, and they will bring about the presence of the other habits, inevitably.
A keystone habit has a first domino effect,
Ever seen an arrangement of dominoes before? You can see one here.
A touch on the first domino in the arrangement has a chain of effects on all others, causing them to fall. This is what a keystone habit does. Once you form one, every other positive habit falls in without your conscious effort.
EXAMPLES OF KEYSTONE HABITS
- Planning your day in the morning
- Having a morning routine
- Eliminating excuses
- Time management
- Saying No
Let’s Talk about three out of the list
Exercise: Studies have shown that exercise is a keystone habit that can create a chain of massive positive habits. According to research, exercise brings about a massive decrease in unhealthy habits such as; smoking, unhealthy eating, procrastination, stress, emotional distress, alcohol, and caffeine consumption. At the same time, improving healthy habits such as; healthy eating, emotional control, maintenance of household chores, attendance to commitments, monitoring of spending, and an improvement in study habits.
When you exercise every morning, you get ready for the day’s activity; you eat more healthy foods instead of junks and drink more water, get enough sleep when you do; and realize that smoking and drinking are not helping your body, and then, you work on breaking these habits. It will also make you feel motivated about your goals. All these with just one habit formed.
All much for one simple routine, right?
Meditation: This is an underrated productivity tool in our current world.
We live in a noisy world an tend to keep our mind on autopilot all day, giving it little or no time to live in the moment. This is pretty bad because we don’t have time to breathe anymore. We think about the next activity while busy with the one at hand and rush off to it once we find the chance. This type of life has done more harm than good to us. It has led many to burn out, destroyed relationships, killed the body, and increased emotional distress.
This is where meditation comes in as a keystone habit.
Recommended by many health professionals, it is considered one of the ideal methods to calm the mind and improve the mental, spiritual, and physical health. It will connect you to your inner self and help you live the life you have always wished for, away from this unconscious and unhealthy life.
While you meditate, you develop a sense of calmness, patience, and appreciation; your mind rests at the moment and gets rid of the noise. it creates a space in your head, helping you to see things more clearly and understand better. When this happens, you’re able to create a more evident mindset and vision, your physical body is kept healthy, and every part of your body relaxes. A morning meditation could help set your mind straight for the remainder of the day. Also, meditating has been discovered to give medical advantages like reducing blood pressure.
Having a Morning Routine:
Many personal development articles these days talk about having a morning routine. This is because it sets the rest of the day for us. The morning routine is a keystone habit that reduces stress, procrastination, and forgetfulness. Mornings are challenging for many people, but managing them efficiently can be critical to getting your day started right. Good morning routines can create a foundation of stability in your life, and this is important no matter who you are or what you are up against.
How Can a Keystone Habit Lead You to the Life You’ve Always Dreamed?
It makes all the needed habits seamlessly possible: A keystone habit is a habit that makes all other habits form without our conscious efforts. Isn’t this what we all desire? It’s no new knowledge that we have to break old negative habits and create new ones to get to our goals. However, it can only sound so easy. We have an addictive nature and that’s why it’s hard to break habits we are addicted to. Therefore, we tend to stop in the middle when pursuing our goals: because the new habits are not easy to form.
This, however, isn’t the same story with a keystone habit. Staying faithful to just one keystone habit changes almost everything. We can see this in the three habits we discussed earlier. It creates a ripple effect, making other practices so easy to form. That is to say, when you have a keystone habit for your new goal, every other required habit will follow it without intentional actions from your end. Together, they move you to your destination.
According to Charles:
“Keystone habits start a process that, over time, transforms everything. Keystone habits say that success doesn’t depend on getting every single thing right, but instead relies on identifying a few key priorities and fashioning them into powerful levers.”
How can you develop a keystone habit?
You need to know what your goals are to know the best habit to go with it.
Depending o what your target is, you may want to develop one or more of the keystone habits we talked about.
The next thing is to start.
We already know the potential this hold for us and we want to start big. Well, it doesn’t work that way.
Developing a keystone habit works with the power of ridiculously small steps. Don’t set up big systems in place. They will fail you. Start small and have daily targets for the habit. It tends to build up over time and become a part of you.
Start a keystone habit today. Your success is more predictable with it. You don’t have to start too big.
You can start with a few morning routines. Meditating for 3 minutes daily. Saying no to little destructive habits. Or, running for 5 minutes every day.