What’s A Keystone Habit and Why Should You?

Finish this sentence: I feel better when I __________ every day.

What’d you come up with? For most of us, it’s probably something we’re not doing as often as we’d like. And that’s not because we lack motivation; in fact, it might be that we don’t realize how powerful that activity can be!

In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg talks about the notion of “keystone habits.” Put simply, these are practices that have a compounding or cascading effect in our daily lives:

When I make my bed every day, I remember to eat a good breakfast.

When I eat a good breakfast, I have energy for my morning’s tasks.

When I get a ton of stuff done before noon, I’m able to spend more time with my family in the evenings.

So often we see the changes we’d like to make as shadows on the horizon, and as we stand hugging the shore we consider that we might never be able to swim so far. Change feels so distant, so blurry. And somewhere in our minds, we start to think about having to swim all that distance in one fell swoop, unaided by current or prevailing conditions.

But that’s not how change works. We don’t have to do everything at once–to the contrary, because that’s usually a recipe for disaster! Beginning with one positive change, no matter how small, can really get us going and provide some serious momentum.

So start with that first sentence up above. What’s that one thing you love doing? What’s that one thing that tends to make everything else afterwards go a little bit better and a little bit smoother for you?

Start there.

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