It’s common knowledge that your daily habits make all the difference in the quality of your life, from your health to your happiness and success.
However, not all habits are created equal.
According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, some habits have the ability to create exponential change, affecting many different areas of your life over time through a single behavior.
Duhigg calls these keystone habits, and, when it comes to creating positive change in your life, few things are as worthwhile. In fact, a single keystone habit can change everything.
Our daily decisions and habits have a huge impact upon both our levels of happiness and success.
– Shawn Achor
Why can keystone habits help you improve so drastically?
A keystone habit is any habit that positively affects several areas of your life at once (either over time or right away). And it’s for this very reason that keystone habits are so powerful.
For example, we all know that physical exercise can help us look and feel great physically. Here are a few benefits:
- Reducing stress
- Improving focus
- Increasing energy
- And heightening productivity
So, while you may have taken up physical exercise because you wanted to lose a little weight or build some muscle, the other positive effects are exponential and can seep into every area of your life, from your mental health as a whole to your work and even relationships.
Powerful keystone habits you can adopt
Clearly, keystone habits are powerful and extremely efficient. They act as a sort of windfall for positive change that is difficult– if not impossible– to create any other way.
But, aside from exercise, what are some other keystone habits can you adopt to create exponential change and drastically improve your life?
Here are a few examples:
1. Eliminate excuses
While not typically thought of when discussing habits, habitually offering excuses– both to yourself and others– for your behavior and results can lead to some very damaging patterns of thought and consistently disappointing results.
However, by eliminating these excuses and fighting back against the habit to blame other things and circumstances and practicing taking responsibility, you can create a lot of positive change, from improving your ability to establish other rituals to boosting your work performance and even the quality of your relationships.
2. Become an expert money manager
By “expert money manager,” I’m not referring to getting a degree in finance, but simply getting really good with your money; not just learning how to maximize your earnings but having an effective system for tracking spending and saving what you can.
Doing so can have a cascade effect on your life, from the obvious improvements to your financial life to reducing your stress levels, saving you time, and giving you extra savings for a rainy day or passion project.
Meditation is a habit often picked up to reduce stress, however, it’s been shown to improve focus, brain function, make us more compassionate, and even help us work through our negative self-talk, which has its own exponential benefits.
What are your keystone habits?
While the above examples are powerful, the best keystone habit is the one that fits you and your life. Are there behaviors that, when performed, seem to just make everything else in your life go ‘round? Notice these and take advantage of that power to create drastic positive change with less effort.