“Keystone” Habits

“Keystone” Habits

The primary keystone habit is regular exercise. People who exercise habitually start changing other unrelated patterns in their lives, even unknowingly. They eat better, use their credit card less, are more productive at work and more patient.

Food journaling is another keystone habit. Just write down everything you eat, every day.

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Research shows we don’t use much willpower when something is a habit.

Build new habits by manipulating your environment so as to make what you should do easy and what you shouldn’t do hard. Remove the cookies from eyesight and put your running shoes next to the bed.

Postpone your temptation to gain discipline.

Tell yourself "not now, but later." It is more powerful than denying yourself something.

Willpower is limited. It is highest early in the day but decreases as we make more decisions. Most self-control failures happen at night.

Do the most important things first. As the day goes on it will only get harder to face big challenges.

Willpower is like a muscle. When you overuse it, it gets tired. But exercising it over time will make it stronger.

You want to rely on habits and exercise willpower steadily.

The reality is that you will give in to temptation. What is important is what you do after you fail.

Don't blame yourself. It reduces self-control. Showing self-compassion increases it.

Improving willpower is as easy as eating and getting enough sleep.

Adults who routinely shortchange themselves on sleep have less self-control.

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Avoid willpower depletion

Building willpower is similar to building muscle. Continually exercising without giving yourself a break is not the best way to increase your strength or performance.

Don't allow yourself to be in a position where you constantly have to exercise self-control. It will eventually deplete your resolve. Allow yourself some recovery time away from temptation.

The brain is a decision making muscle and needs to be sufficiently fed to provide the necessary willpower.

Eat meals at regular intervals. The meals should contain healthy proteins, vegetables and complex carbohydrates, to avoid the glucose rush.

“Positive” Procrastination

At the top of your to-do list, put a couple of daunting, if not impossible, tasks that are vaguely important-sounding (but really aren’t) and seem to have deadlines (but really don’t). 

Then, farther down the list, include some doable tasks that really matter.

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