“You’ll never change anything in your life… until you change something you do daily.”
– John Maxwell, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been exploring the transformational potential that simple, repeatable disciplines (or habits) can have on your personal brand — your ability to present the best possible version of yourself every day.
A keystone habit is a behavior or routine that naturally pulls the rest of your life in line. I call it a ‘habit of disproportionate impact on your life.’ To identify a keystone habit, ask yourself: What is a consistent discipline I can develop that will make the rest of my life easier and more productive?
The Keystone Effect of Exercise
For me, exercise is a keystone habit. If I get to the gym, then it creates a ripple effect in other areas of my life. Not only do I get the benefits of working out, I focus better after the workout. I tend to eat better when I’m working out consistently. I sleep better at night and wake up with more energy in the morning.
Notice that I didn’t try to build better habits for my focus, my nutrition, my sleep, or my energy. I just practiced this one keystone habit (exercise) and those other areas were improved as well. This is why keystone habits are powerful. They cascade into other areas of your life!
If you recall from my earlier post, Roald Amundsen’s keystone habit was the 20 Mile March. What are yours?
For some people I know, it is drinking a large glass of water when they get up in the morning, alleviating dehydration from a night’s sleep and creating more energy and a stronger immune system. For others, it is prayer and meditation, or budgeting and spending quality time with their spouse.
Imagine how much easier and more fulfilling your life could be if you discovered one or two keystone habits that naturally put the rest of your life in place.
Personal development icon Earl Nightingale famously said, “An hour a day is all it takes; one hour of study in your field will put you at the top in three years, five years of learning and improvement will make you a nationally recognized expert and seven years makes you one of the very best.”
What would it mean to your life if you could identify and consistently practice one or two keystone habits? What is keeping you from starting? Leave me your comments — I’d love to get your feedback.