Today I’m going to talk about keystone habits. I’ll discuss what they are, why they’re important and how they can be the cornerstone for your new start. Habits don’t come easily but they’re definitely attainable. Explore how these habits set the tone of your whole day and how you can gain insight to attain more enthusiasm and motivation.
A keystone is the central and center stone at the top of a masonry arch that holds all the other stones in place. It locks together all other stones in the arch. Keystone habits can be healthy or unhealthy and you typically don’t put much effort into them because they’re so automatic… but they affect the course of your whole day. They affect your attitude, mood, motivation and outlook.
For example, I wake up at 5AM, read for a bit, do a gratitude journal, and cook a good breakfast while listening to a podcast. My routine is comprised of 5 keystone habits wrapped up into a routine… early rising, reading, journaling, cooking, and listening to something positive. It makes a huge difference. If I got up right before I had to work and grabbed a shoddy breakfast while listening to the news highlighting all the crappy things happening in the world, the start of my day would be pretty crappy as well.
The first step I suggest you take is to assess what your keystone habits are. Be honest and take a good look. Then, ask yourself if they’re healthy and whether you want to leave them like they are. If you want to change them, ask yourself WHAT new habits you want and WHY. What are you trying to get out of a new routine?
Intentional habits always come about with a lot of sacrifice and effort. Robin Sharma writes in her book The 5AM Club that change is “difficult at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.” Perfectly said. If your keystone habits are pretty messy and unhealthy, start small. Don’t try and alter your whole routine at once. Make your goal precise and manageable. Choose one keystone habit you want to set in motion and make that your focus. Don’t let anything get in the way.
Habits take time to form and it’s a myth that you can build up a habit in 21 days. A popular study showed it takes an average of 66 days for a behavior to become automatic, but the range was between 18 to 254 days. But, that’s not bad news because what we do know is that anything practiced long enough will become habitual. You gotta start with day one if you want to find your own magic number where your keystone habit gets locked into place.
Your morning influences your today. Your today influences your tomorrow. You’re worth the change and… you got this.