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Keystone Habits: Improve All Areas of Your Life with One Small Habit

Making Your Habits Stick

To make any habit stick in the long-term (keystone or not), do it regularly. 

The more often you do the habit, the more you'll get used to it, and eventually, you'll do it without thinking—the definition of a habit.

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Keystone Habits: Improve All Areas of Your Life with One Small Habit

Keystone Habits: Improve All Areas of Your Life with One Small Habit

https://zapier.com/blog/keystone-habits/

zapier.com

7

Key Ideas

Keystone Habits

They tend to have ripple effects which change your behavior in unexpected ways.

The power of a keystone habit draws from its ability to set off a chain reaction that causes other patterns to change as well.

Examples of Keystone Habits

Exercising regularly is for many people a keystone habit because when they do it, they also make healthier eating and life choices and procrastinate less.

Other keystone habits include: meditation, reading, writing and socialising. They provide a nice foundation for a healthy life in all domains

Identify Your Keystone Habits

Look for behaviors that have a ripple effect, and change your other behaviors without extra effort. 

Also, pay attention to how you see yourself when you do a particular habit: Does it change your self-image? Do you feel better when you think of yourself as a person?

Making Your Habits Stick

To make any habit stick in the long-term (keystone or not), do it regularly. 

The more often you do the habit, the more you'll get used to it, and eventually, you'll do it without thinking—the definition of a habit.

Keep Track Of Your Habit Every Day

It helps to know how often you’re succeeding (or not). Use whatever works for you: pen and paper of habit tracking apps.

A simple way to keep track of your progress is to mark each day you complete your habit on a calendar.

Start Small

Do the minimum you can and be consistent in your behavior.

To create a new habit, you must first simplify the behavior.  A good tiny behavior is easy to do — and fast.

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is the trick to not getting thrown off by unfamiliar situations. 

Because there are so many variables that can affect our ability to stick with new behaviors, planning ahead is the best way to build up the consistency we need for the habit to stick.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Focus On Keystone Habits

Keystone habits lead to the development of multiple good habits. 

Exercise is a good example of this. Once you start to change your exercise habits, it sets off a chain reaction t...

Use “Minimum Viable Effort”

Focus on baby steps. The key to new good habits is to do the minimum and be consistent.

Do not be ambitious at the beginning. That leads to failure. Consistency is what you’re shooting for, so make the hurdle as low as possible.

Make A Plan

Thinking about the details makes you more likely to follow through. 

Just writing down your plan also makes a big difference in effectively committing to your goals.

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Struggling To Build Healthy Habits
  • We tend to bite off more than we can chew, go too fast too soon, and then get overwhelmed too quickly.
  • We’re conditioned these days to expect and receive instant gratification.
Your “Big Why”

As you’re determining the habits or resolutions you’re trying to set, make the habit part of a bigger cause that’s worth the struggle.

You’re not just going to the gym, you’re building a new body that you’re not ashamed of so you can start dating again.

Healthy Habit Building 101

There are 3 parts to a good or bad habit: Cue (what triggers the action), Routine (the action itself), Reward (the positive result because of the action).

You have trained your brain to take a cue (you see a doughnut), anticipate a reward (a sugar high), and make the behavior automatic (nom that donut). 

Compare that to a cue (you see your running shoes), anticipate a reward (a runner’s high), and make the behavior automatic (go for a run!).

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Keystone habits

These are the habits that, once implemented, have a positive impact on many other facets of your life.

Their effect is similar to a domino: all you need to do is perform th...

Charles Duhigg
Charles Duhigg
“The power of a keystone habit draws from its ability to change your self-image. Basically anything can become a keystone habit if it has this power to make you see yourself in a different way.”
More exercise

Exercising regularly is perhaps the most impactful keystone habit you can implement.

When you take up exercising on a regular basis, you start eating healthy. And you start feeling good about your body. You procrastinate less and you get good sleep.

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Building habits

Our habits have the power to enable us, most of the time, to live a more organized life. However, we might find it quite challenging when it comes to establishing new habits, as they require...

Set measurable targets as habits

When trying to build new habits, be specific by thinking about ways to measure the evolution of your action: set clear targets that can help you, when the deadline previously decided on approaches, to evaluate your progress.

The pros and cons of building new habits

When picking up a new habit, think it well through: take into account the possible inconveniences as well as the most attractive advantages. 

Remember that sometimes it might get harder to keep to the habit, but eventually, you are doing it for a good cause that is related directly to yourself.

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How to Develop Habits
  • Focus on just one habit, for 30 days.
  • Put it on paper, together with your motivations, obstacles, and strategies for overcoming them.
  • Commit fully, pr...
attributed to Aristotle
attributed to Aristotle
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Confucius
Confucius
“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.”

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Habit tracking

Is a simple and effective thing to do if you want to stick with a habit for good. No matter the format (calendar, journal, app), it provides immediate evidence whether you are making progress or...

The power of habit tracking:
  1. It creates a visual cue that can remind you to act.
  2. It is motivating to see the progress you are making. You don't want to break your streak.
  3. It feels satisfying to record your success in the moment.
To make habit tracking easier:
  1. Manual tracking should be limited to your most important habits
  2. Record each measurement immediately after the habit occurs

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The Habit Loop
The Habit Loop

The cue triggers a craving, which motivates a response, which provides a reward, which satisfies the craving and, ultimately, becomes associated with the cue.

Together, these fo...

5 primary ways that a new habit can be triggered
  • Cue 1: Time - Most common way to trigger a new habit
  • Cue 2: Location - Most powerful driver of mindless habits and also the least recognized
  • Cue 3: Preceding Event - Many habits are a response to something else that happens in your life
  • Cue 4: Emotional State - emotional state is a common cue for bad habits
  • Cue 5: Other People - people you surround yourself with can play a role in your habits and behaviors.
How To Choose Good Habits
  • Envision your ideal end result. What are you going to achieve?
  • Write it down. It will serve as a powerful motivation, especially if you include why you want it.
Good Habits For Health and Fitness
  • Regular Aerobic Exercise: Great for both your physical and mental health. Increases the production of dopamine and boosts creativity.
  • Preparing Your Own Meals. It’ll take some getting used to, but it’s a habit that’ll boost your health, wealth and productivity. 
Good Habits For Finance and Wealth
  • Create a Household Budget: the best habit to help you save money. A household budget helps to encourage frugality and discourage impulse spending. You’ll feel more motivated to engage in other good financial habits once you’ve got this in place.
  • Financial Audits. This involves frequent checks as to whether you’re spending your money as wisely as possible.

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Habits Are Not Blind Routines

Conventional wisdom states that strong habits improve our productivity. Daily habits done in an autopilot mode are not the only route to peak performance.

While our habits help us stick to g...

Revisit What You Do Daily
  • Some of our daily to-dos should not require a constant daily effort and could be optimized further. Look for such habits and if the daily effort is straining you, look for other innovative solutions.

  • Time and Energy are limited resources, and as we grow, our habits may become obsolete. We could use the same time and energy to explore new and better options.

  • It is a good idea to pay attention to where we spend our time and see if there is something we do daily but have outgrown long ago.

Consistency and Boredom

Being consistent can also lead to burnout and lack of growth, and to be creative and innovative, we sometimes need a break from our daily activity. When we stop and do something new, we start to be part of a creative process, instead of simply repeating the same thing every day.

The key is to not rely on a rigid consistency but to be resilient enough to withstand any breaks. Our resilient habits are usually the old ones and have some psychological rewards while involving some external accountability. 

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Habit matching

When planning on building new habits, one easy way to integrate them into your everyday routine is by actually adding them to an already existing habit. 

Therefore, choose one habit y...

A step at a time

Once you have made up your mind about taking on a new habit, you might as well start getting used to it. Just remember that we have, as humans, the tendency to work better without pressure and when taking one step at a time. 

Therefore, start by creating small habits and get used to them and you will see how easy it is to build long-lasting routines that will make your life easier.

Practice makes perfect

When having taken the decision to introduce in your routine a new habit, it is very important to remember that practice makes perfect. Consequently, wait no more and start doing even if just a bit every day. You will eventually succeed in adding a new habit while feeling proud of yourself for being consistent.

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