How Understanding Keystone Habits Can Make Your Life Better

Starting next week I am going to start a series based on my list of Things Successful People Do That Unsuccessful People Do Not.  I understand that defining success is relative to the individual, so for the sake of our discussion we will talk in terms of money and professional life.  However, the principles are transferable to all walks of life and any goal or activity you want to succeed in doing.

Until then I want to answer a question that was posed to me a week ago.  The email asked me if I had to give someone advice about making one change in their life what change would I recommend.  Without hesitation I answered begin living a healthy lifestyle and it got the wheel turning on my belief that understanding keystone habits can make your life better.

I say this because I have learned from my own weight loss/healthy lifestyle adventure that my entire mentality changed from losing weight.  First, I started to feel better about myself and more confident for accomplishing my weekly goal.  Next, I started feeling better about myself because I started to look better.  Then, the weight loss allowed me to be more active and hurt less so I started getting outside a little more.  I found myself being more productive and procrastinating a lot less.  I wanted to do things, I wanted to keep things a little more orderly.  I wanted my outside life to resemble the way I felt inside; which was more put-together and presentable.

image credit: oddblogger.com
image credit: oddblogger.com

I have talked before about how a healthy lifestyle is considered to be a keystone habit.  Charles Duhigg talks about this in his book “The Power of Habit” and says this:

…where should a would-be habit master start?  Understanding keystone habits holds the answer to that question: The habits that matter most are the ones that, when they start to shift, dislodge and remake other patterns.

I often refer to mouth maintenance when talking about keystone habits.  Brushing your teeth, flossing and visiting the dentist are key components to maintaining a healthy set of teeth.  So the habit of dental hygiene creates healthy teeth.  It is the keystone habit.  The secondary effect of having healthy teeth is more smiling, increased confidence and a generally happier individual.  The tooth brusher did not necessarily set out to be more confident by brushing their teeth, but the confidence was an off-shoot of the tooth brushing habit.  Make sense?

And so it is with living a healthy lifestyle.  The benefits far exceed simply losing weight.  I became more motivated, more organized, more confident, more active, developed a higher expectation of myself, stopped procrastinating as much and became generally more well-rounded.  It honestly changed my life in ways I never expected.

If you listen to anything I ever say, start today living a healthy lifestyle.  It…..will…….change…….your……..life!!!!!!!!

Big Dreamer

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11 thoughts on “How Understanding Keystone Habits Can Make Your Life Better

  1. As as dietitian and health coach I use the concept of “keystone habits” all the time with my clients. Developing a keystone habit can help transform your life! Great post!

  2. Brilliant advice. The lack of dental hygiene and healthy teeth seems to be the start of a slow descent towards other health issues. I have never heard the term ‘keystone habit’ but it is really an intriguing idea.

  3. This is so true! Creating a healthy lifestyle and developing healthy habits create a positive snowball effect inspiring confidence and motivation to take on other areas of your life. Great post! I look forward to reading your series next week. 🙂

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