What are keystone habits
In Power of Habit, the author, Charles Duhigg talks about Keystone Habits. Keystone Habits are essentially the habits that need to be in place to build other good habits and propel your life forward. They essentially produce a chain effect of good things in your life.
Think of a basketball player for example. He needs to be athletic. Therefore a keystone habit for him may be going to the gym. As he works out he will build strength and endurance. This will make it easier for him to work on his shooting, dribbling and moves which will eventually improve his game and get him closer to his basketball goals.
Even though the NBA is most likely not in the cards for you, you still need keystone habits in order to achieve your goals and live your optimal life.
This article will breakdown 7 keystone habits that are essential for you to be healthy, happy and move towards your goals.
It is best to perform there habits daily and track them with a good tool like UltiSelf.
There is a key balance in life that you must keep. This is the balance between health, wealth and happiness. Just about any habit or activity falls into at least one of these categories. Many fall into multiple.
Think of sleep for example. If you don’t sleep enough it is bad for your health. But if you look deeper, lack of sleep will cause you to be less productive thus affecting your wealth and you will probably be more grumpy thus your happiness also decline. So sleep technically falls into all 3 of these categories.
Another key point to the balance is that if at least one category gets neglected it will mess up the rest of the categories.
Broken Balance Example 1
Let’s look at another simple example. Let’s say that you are so focused on work (wealth) that you completely neglect going to the gym (health). Eventually you will have less energy, health problems and possibly a worse mood. Thus neglecting health in lieu of wealth will eventually have a negative impact on the entire triangle.
Don’t fall trap to the old saying: people spend the first half of their lives ruining their health to make money and the second half spending their money to get their health back.
Broken Balance Example 2
Conversely, if all you do is workout and eat healthy and play sports with your friends (health and happiness) you will eventually run out of money (wealth) and it will have a negative impact on the food your eat and the lifestyle you can afford. Thus eventually diminishing the entire triangle as well.
These are pretty basic examples, but they should give you a good idea of this delicate balance. And in order to keep this balance there are certain essential keystone habits that you should be building and implementing everyday.
Now let’s look at the keystone habits in each category.
Health Keystone Habits
Keystone Habit 1 Sleep
More and more research is coming out on the importance of sleep. For starters you need to get enough sleep. The amount varies for each person but it’s typically between 6 and 8 hours per night.
In addition to the amount there is sleep quality. Sleep quality is affected by your bedtime, your wakeup time, the temperature in your bedroom, and a lot more.
A lot of these factors vary from person to person, so it’s a good idea to track your sleep habits with a good habit tracker and find out what is optimal for your sleep.
Here is some basic sleep science advice:
- Sleep in a room that is as dark as you can possibly make it.
- Keep the temperature cold when you sleep. Ideally around 68 to 70 degrees.
- Try to make sure you are in deep sleep by 1 am at the latest.
- Do not snooze in the mornings.
Keystone Habit 2 Exercise
Not only is exercise good for your body but it is also very good for your mind. In fact, studies show that exercise is an effective treatment for depression .
Therefore getting some form of exercise is an absolutely critical keystone habit that must be front and center on your habit tracker.
Here are some exercise pointers
- Exercise as early in the day as possible
- Mix up cardio and weight training as both are great for you.
- Try to exercise outside if possible.
Keystone Habit 3 Hydrate
Another keystone habit to add to your habit tracker is drinking an adequate amount of water. Also known as hydration.
You most likely know that getting enough water is important for your body to function properly. But did you know that drinking water is also critical for your brain? Since your brain is made up of 73% water. Drinking water helps you concentrate and stay alert.
Wealth Keystone Habits
Keystone Habit 4 Learn Something
Obviously improving in your craft and learning new things can help you get closer to your wealth goals. But did you know that learning can also improve health and happiness?
For example, one study found that a year of formal education can add a half a year to a person's lifespan . Studies have also shown reading to reduce stress, and learning to play a musical instrument can actually mitigate mental decline as we age.
Additionally, learning new things can have positive impacts on your social life (happiness) as knowledge can give you more confidence and a greater amount of subjects to talk about.
Keystone Habit 5 Work to Move Toward Your Goals and Passions
Did you ever notice that if you are not working towards something all kinds of problems arise and you actually start to feel lost in life? Working on what you love overall makes you feel happier, gives you a sense of purpose and gives you confidence.
There are even studies that show that people who pursue a passion have stronger immune systems.
Plus you only live once don’t you want to make it count. Spending at least an hour a day working toward your major goals in life is basically the ultimate keystone habit that should be front and center of your habit tracker.
Happiness Keystone Habits
Keystone Habit 6 Social Interaction/Relationships
There is a big reason why putting people in solitary confinement is one of the worst punishments in prisons. Being alone for an extended period of time sucks and can even drive your crazy.
On the flip side a seminal study by Harvard University followed a group of people for 75 years and determined that the key to happiness was people’s relationships and social interactions . There are many other studies that show that good relationships and social interactions have a positive impact on people’s health.
Even on the wealth side, the more people you know the better your connections thus the easier it will be to get to your goals.
Keystone Habit 7 Get Outside
We hear it all the time, stop sitting at home in front of your computer, gaming console or TV and get outside.
There are benefits to being in the sun during the right times. There are also benefits to fresh air. Going for walks helps with your critical thinking and decision making. The benefits of being outside are endless.
Which make it the final keystone habit
In conclusion, not all habits are created equally. There are certain good habits that you just must build in order to create an upward spiral of goodness in your life. The ones mentioned in this article are some good ones to add to your habit tracker.
Whatever you do make sure that you are keeping your balance of health, wealth and happiness in your life and doing activities that will keep this balance in tact.
To your success.
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