We all have a list in our mind of the habits we want to develop.

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It’s right next to our vision of the future, to the person we want to become and the life we want to live.

And we’ve put this list aside with the relieving thought that we’ll get to it someday.
But that day isn’t coming any time soon, and later often becomes never.

So the best thing you can do is start working on your habits now, so that you can begin the biggest transformation of your life.

There are healthy and unhealthy habits; those we do on autopilot, and those we put effort into doing.

But they all have one thing in common – the way we do it.

We need to have a purpose and want to achieve something in order to start a change like that.
Then, we need to find the willpower to start, to take small steps and stay consistent, until we can do it unconsciously.

But something important that many often forget is that some habits are more important than others. So it’s better to start with them.

I’m talking about keystone habits.

They are routines that naturally improve your life in general. Once you implement them, everything else just falls into place and you start doing other things (healthy and positive) without any effort.

They set off a chain of repeated actions.

This way you’re saving yourself work in the future.

Here are some examples:

Daily workouts lead to eating and sleeping better, and after some time – to having your whole day well-organized and breaking some other bad habits.

Let’s say the habit you want to build is going to the gym every day. It takes time, dedication and willpower, of course. You need to – at least – make yourself go to the gym a few times per week and stay for half an hour. But there are other things that happen at the same time.

When you see the effort you put in your workout, you will start eating less (as having this burger now means the hour you spent in the gym earlier was for nothing).
You’ll go to bed a bit earlier and sleep better as you’ll be exhausted.
You’ll be more productive, because the workout will kickstart your day.
You may start getting up early in order to go to the gym in the morning. Or make any other change in your daily routine so that you can find time for a gym session.

You don’t really need to think about all the other things except for showing up in the gym. Everything else just happens.

So here is the effect keystone habits have on us:

  • they support all the other things we do, just like keystones support bridges;
  • they give us energy and confidence to do more;
  • they are a platform on which other good habits grow;
  • they naturally improve our whole life.

So focusing on a few habits like that and making them stick, is what we need in order to improve our lifestyle, find some balance and get stuff done.

It’s better to focus on 2-3 important routines that will change our behavior in general, rather than investing time in tens of little actions a day, each of which requires a lot of willpower.

You start working on making them a part of your day, and then they help you form other little habits.

The main keystone habits are:

– getting up early;
morning routine;
– exercise;
meditation;
identifying most important tasks for the day;
– planning your day the night before;
– single-tasking.

Now that you know about keystone habits, you can stop wasting time on insignificant changes and focus all your energy on them.

Commit fully, focus on one habit at a time, start small, track your progress and always keep in mind how important this is.

What habits do you want to change?

 

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Lidiya K

Lidiya K

Author, blogger and podcaster in the fields of self-improvement and life hacking. Creator of Let's Reach Success.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
Lidiya K

11 Comments

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  1. That’s exactly what had happened to me. For years I was doing pushups in the morning. I started to eat better and train more. I read a self-help book first time since years and implemented a few advice from it.
    It all opened my mind enough, so when I read The Slight Edge I was ready for the whole avalanche of change.

  2. Changing habits is not just a matter of willpower, despite what you’ve probably learned. Sure, we all have habits we’ve tried to break and failed. And good habits we’ve tried to acquire and dropped.

    1. Yes, we’re all equal in the way we change habits in the beginning. But it all comes down to focusing on one habit at a time, starting small, breaking it into doable daily tasks and then finding the willpower to take that step every day.

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