Forming Keystone Habits Is The Start Of A Better Life!
Keystone habits are not talked about as much as they should be. They are the habits that hold everything together. Keystone habits are named after a keystone in construction, which is a stone that holds an arch together. So what I’m getting at is getting keystone habits created will improve other habits.
Why Should You Care About Habits?
You may be wondering why it matters if you have a keystone habit and that’s fair. It is important to have keystone habits because they are something to build on. One example of a good keystone habit is working out. When you first start working out things are difficult but over time they improve. If you want to continue to see progress you may need to change your diet. If you smoke it may also get you to quick because of the difficult breathing.
A few more examples of common keystone habits would be reading, writing a journal, making your bed, or eating dinner with family. If you look at each one you’ll notice how they build up new habits. If you are in the process of forming a good habit consider that your keystone habit and build off of it. Just because it works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for you but creating great habits should always be one of your goals.
If you read often you will have a more worldly perspective leading to new habits. Reading can also teach you about new habits or concepts that you’ve never heard of before.
Writing a journal will make you think about your day, you’ll see places for improvement and want to make the change.
Making Your Bed
Making your bed starts your day off with something you can say you finished. You will want to keep checking things off your “to do” lists. It’s the easiest way to start the day of with an accomplishment.
Dinner with Family
If you start eating dinner with your family you will want to get more involved in everyone’s lives. You will grow new habits together.
As you can see changing one aspect of your life can make a big difference. Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you started to read more? What about going and using that gym membership you’ve been paying for? One new habit that sticks will change your life everyday.
How Do You Develop New Habits?
The sad truth about habits is that there is no cookie cutter formula for habit creation. Scientists have put an incredible amount of effort into studying habits but everyone is different. That means that everyone will have different results when forming a habit.
On the bright side we do know that being systematic about habits will help in forming them. You shouldn’t worry about how long a habit takes to form. What is more important is making sure you continue practicing the habit. The repetition is what builds the habit.
Systematizing Your Habits
As mentioned before a habit is formed by being systematic. There are three common parts to a habit and each is just as important as the lost. They are known as the the cue, the routine, and the reward. Charles Duhigg can be credited for putting the parts of a habit into such a simple concept. He explains them really well in his book “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business”.
The cue or trigger is the thing that sets off the habit. This can be a time, a place, other people, your emotions, or a reaction to an event. When the cue happens this is when you start your routine.
The routine is the habit itself. It is the action that you do without thinking about it. This can be anything from going to the kitchen to grab a treat or going out to smoke. Once the routine gets going it is hard to stop and may feel automatic. Without the routine something feels off about a situation and it can ruin your day.
The whole reason the habit exists is to get the reward. In most cases it will be related to dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical in your head that gives you pleasure or joy from a situation. Once you have finished your routine your brain will tell you you did a good job and reward you.
Now that you understand these three principles it’s time to make a plan. If this is a new habit you will have to create a cue, for an old habit you will be identifying. The next thing will be the routine. The routine is the action of the habit, if it is a new habit decide what the routine is but make it small. Small habits are easier to form than big ones. If you have a habit it’s time to change it. If you change the cue and the routine to something positive the reward will still come.
Take some time and write out either what your new habit will be or what you want to work on. Keep a notebook around as you build your habit and document how things feel. The beginning is the hardest time. As you spend more time on your habit it will feel easier every day.
How do you choose a new habit?
Choosing a new habit can be difficult. The easiest way to get started is to look at what will benefit your life the most. If you feel like you could lose some weight look into starting a habit of exercising. This doesn’t mean buying supplements, getting a gym membership, and a personal trainer. Make it simple like doing pushups before or after work. A great app for this is the 7 Minute Workout. It’s easy to do and doesn’t take much time. If you feel like reading suits you better take a look at getting ebooks on your phone. You can always read a few paragraphs instead of checking social media.
What really matters when picking a habit is picking one that suits your life. If you try to jump into something that you don’t care about it will be much harder to do. The easiest habits to form are the ones that you enjoy doing.
Sticking With Your New Habit
There are four things to keep in mind when forming habits.
- It’s not going to be easy.
- You are going to have to self motivated because this is about you.
- You will have to show discipline.
- Delayed gratification is key.
These 4 concepts may sound challenging but they really aren’t. It is much easier actually get out there and do something than think about it. If you sit around thinking too much you will overhype how hard it will be. Motivate yourself to get out and do what you want, use the 3 parts of a habit to break it down. Know that it will take some time but it will pay off in the long run. If you stick to your habits in the end you will have a happier life.
Habits Change Your Life
It is pretty obvious that habits can change a life. All of us know at least one person that smokes too often or drinks to often. Those are habits that formed from doing the activity regularly. Spending the time to create a good habit can have positive impacts in all aspects of your life.
As long as you are picking healthy habits to form there is no wrong way to do it. If you pick exercising eventually you will start eating healthier. If you start reading more often you may start to write more often or get into new hobbies you didn’t know existed. The people around you will also be inspired by what you are doing.
It is important to remember that you are living your life for you. Forming habits makes life easier you can go on autopilot and still do great things. If you are ready to go out and start building new keystone habits make sure you like this post, share on social media and sign up for our newsletter. If you’re really feeling confident about your habit tell us about it in the comments!