Keystone Habits: A Chain Reaction of Improvement

Introduction

One of the best books I’ve read is Charles Duhigg’s Book, “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business”. In it, Duhigg talks about the science of habit formation and gives us strategies for changing our bad habits into good ones. If you want to start making positive changes in your lifestyle, I highly recommend reading or listening to it!

One of the talking points in his book is the concept of keystone habits.

Definition

A keystone habit is one that causes a chain reaction of habits afterwards. It is a habit that creates (either intentionally or unintentionally) multiple changes in your daily life that can have a profound impact on your road to kaizen.

How Keystone Habits Have Changed My Life

One of the most powerful keystone habits to develop is exercising daily. Understanding the Mind-Body Connection is a principle I will be covering at length in future posts, but for now just know that improving your physical health can have a transformative effect on all avenues of your life. This is how it affected me:

I started PT school fat and out of shape. After learning all the sequelae of conditions that stem from obesity (as well as peer pressure from my fitness oriented classmates), I made it a goal to work out at least 30 minutes per day.

Almost immediately after making this change, I began to see improvements in other parts of my life. I had more energy at school and stopped falling asleep in class (Okay, maybe I nodded off a few times in the really boring ones). I began to eat better. I was in a better mood for most of the day, and was able to enjoy time with my wife without being grumpy. Also, my clothes fit better.

In future posts, I’ll be sharing a lot of daily exercises, stretches, and strategies that can help cement fitness as a keystone habit that will change your life for the better.

How do I implement this into my everyday life?

I’d suggest with a very simple keystone habit to start: making your bed. Why this? You can listen to this for one explanation.

The short answer is that making your bed creates a “small win” that creates momentum for the rest of your day. No matter what happens for the rest of the day, you can say that you have accomplished at least one small task.

I find that making my bed inspires several great habits:

  • Keeping a neat home
  • Creating a morning ritual
  • Creating momentum for improvement

Try it. The very bare minimum result is that you will come home to a neatly made bed.

Conclusion

Focusing on a few keystone habits is a great strategy for beginning a journey to a better “you”. Small victories give us momentum to achieve greater things and push us to start more complex tasks. They give us confidence and reduce the anxiety that comes from that dreaded feeling of a “wasted day”.

Kaizen Principle
Focus on Habit Formation

 

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