What are Keystone Habits? (And How They Build Breakthrough Routines)
What are keystone habits? Why are they the most essential habits that you can develop?
Keystone habits lead to the development of multiple good habits. They start a chain effect in your life that produces a number of positive outcomes.
For example, say that your keystone habit is to sleep 8 hours every night.
Your initial goal is to get more sleep. But this habit can also lead to positive, unintended outcomes like:
- Becoming more productive each day
- Reducing the consumption of junk food before daytime
- Having more time to exercise
- Improved communications with your spouse because you’re not cranky
At first you wanted more sleep, but this keystone habit generated a number of additional habits.
The development of keystone habits can become a critical part of your personal development journey.
So let’s talk about how to incorporate this technique into your life.
A Lesson from “The Power of Habit”
I learned this concept from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.
In this book, Duhigg talks about forming keystone habits to get what you want out of life. You don’t have to change dozens of habits to get to your goals. You only have to change a few keystone habits that will have a ripple effect on your outcomes.
How Can a Keystone Habits Help?
A perfect example is a daily exercise habit. Let’s say you want to start exercising 20-30 minutes a day. This one habit can lead to other great habits such as eating healthy foods, avoiding junk food and becoming more efficient at work because you need that extra hour to work out.
That one exercise habit can form major breakthroughs in other areas of your life. You started with a single goal that caused other habits to develop.
Below are a few additional keystone habits that can lead to a major breakthrough in life:
1. Eliminate negative self-talk.
Let’s say you want to eliminate negative self-talk. This can have a positive effect in many areas of your life. When you stop talking negative, you start talking positive. When you start talking positive, you start thinking positive then positive things start to happen to you.
You see how that works? [Positive Attitude Books]
2. Eliminate the perfectionist mindset.
Eliminating the ‘perfectionist mindset’ helps you open up and experience new things. When you’re a perfectionist you tend to not do things out of fear of failure. This makes it difficult to move forward with your dreams and aspirations. Once you stop this habit, it allows you to explore life more and you start taking action towards what you really want. [Mind Changing books]
3. Eliminate the excuse habit.
Things that you want in life won’t fall into your lap. You have to stop making excuses in order to get the things you want out of life. Once you stop this habit, it affects other aspects of life because you stop making excuses for a lack of results. This causes a major breakthrough because you’ll focus on achieving positive outcomes. [Personal Development Books]
4. Start saving money.
By saving money you will have emergency funds for the unforeseen. This can often lead to a more money-conscious lifestyle for you and your family. By saving money you’ll pay closer attention to the trivial purchases you’re making in life. Often this will reduce the amount of clutter in your life. [Financial Habit Books]
Why Keystone Habits Are Important
Keystone habits work because they focus on making a dynamic change in your life. They produce a trickle-down effect. Soon you will notice more opportunities for self-improvement from the keystone habits that you’re forming.
Success with a keystone habit happens when you take that first step. Right now, make a list of all the habits you’d like to develop. Pay close attention to the ones that can have a ripple-effect in your life. Then focus on forming this habit over the next 30 days. You’d be surprised at how this small change can generate many positive outcomes.