Most of us want to improve our lives.
But for that to happen, we need to adopt certain positive habits.
Fundamentally speaking, habits play a key role in our day to day lives.
But not all habits are created equal.
Some can have a much bigger impact than others.
This is why it’s important that we learn to identify these habits and develop them.
Charles Duhigg, author of the book: The Power of Habit,
calls them “keystone habits.”
So what is a keystone habit?
To put it simply, a keystone habit is a single habit that allows for other habits in your life to be sustained.
It’s not much different from a normal habit,
it’s just that it has the most potential to transform your entire life.
That’s because keystone habits spark a chain reaction
that can have a domino effect
and other habits take hold.
And often we’re not even consciously trying to form all those other habits,
they’re just a byproduct of the keystone habit.
Let me give you an example.
This is Mike.
One day he decided that he wanted to make a change in his life.
He realized that all he did was work
and spend time at home, watching TV and playing video games.
So Mike decided to pick up a healthy new hobby, which was exercise.
He bought a gym membership
and made a commitment to train there, at least 3 times per week.
Now unbeknown to Mike, his new exercise habit would slowly create other new positive habits.
Mike was a regular smoker,
but once he started exercising, he found himself smoking less and less.
Cigarettes were Mike’s way of dealing with the stress at his job,
but exercise offered a much better alternative for stress management.
Because Mike was worn out after his workouts, his sleep improved.
He fell asleep faster and had less awakenings during the night.
As a result, his energy throughout the day skyrocketed.
He became more productive at work and was even able to land a promotion.
Mike even picked up cooking as a new hobby,
so he could eat more protein rich meals
to make more progress at the gym.
And because he was now cooking most of his meals, he started saving money,
since he wasn’t eating out at expensive restaurants all the time.
Mike became a completely new person in the span of 6 months.
But he didn’t try to make all these changes at first.
The only change he committed to was exercising 3 times per week.
It’s just that his commitment had a domino effect
and he formed other habits as a result.
This is the power of keystone habits.
Just one change can lead to an avalanche of other changes.
And stories like these are not uncommon.
There are many people who attribute a single habit change, to their life transformation.
However if you take away their keystone habit,
all other habits tend to become less stable,
and sometimes they completely crumble and fall apart.
That is why you need to protect the positive keystone habit at any cost.
Of course, while there are beneficial keystone habits,
we have to note that there are also damaging keystone habits.
A positive habit can transform you into a better person,
but a negative habit can leave you escalating down towards the bottom.
So it’s important that you identify any current habits that could be holding you back,
and make sure you break them.
If you manage to break a damaging keystone habit,
you’ll find that the other bad habits often crumble as well.
Now let me give you a few keystone habits
I believe have the most potential to lead you to other good habits.
The first keystone you should try to acquire is any habit from the health trinity.
What’s a health trinity, you might ask?
Exercise, diet and sleep.
运动 饮食 睡眠
All these habits are likely to lead you to other good habits,
but most importantly, they also tend to build on each other.
For example: Eating a better diet leads to better sleep.
But getting better sleep, also leads to fewer urges
and more willpower to stick to a diet.
You get the idea.
You can start wherever you want with the health trinity
and slowly you’ll end up building the other two health habits.
We’ve seen how Mike improved his life by starting an exercise regime.
But I believe improving your sleep first, can have an even bigger impact.
You might have noticed I make a lot of videos related to sleep on this channel.
The reason is because sleep is the most important keystone habit for me personally.
这是因为 对我而言 睡眠是最重要的核心习惯
It simply improves everything else.
I have noticed that whenever I get good sleep,
everything becomes easier.
I’m more motivated to do things, I have tons of energy,
better focus and more self control.
In turn, this makes doing all my other habits a piece of cake.
Practicing the piano?
Going to the gym?
Barely an inconvenience.
However if I don’t get my optimal sleep I can see a noticeable difference.
I don’t have motivation, my energy is lower, I don’t have much willpower,
我就会没动力 能量低 意志力弱
plus everything becomes a chore.
That’s why I try to get the best sleep possible every single night,
because this one habit has the biggest impact on my day.
And if you’re not optimizing your sleep yet,
I highly suggest you try for at least 1 month.
I guarantee you’ll see a ton of positive changes in your life.
Another good keystone habit is planning and tracking your activities.
Planning is self explanatory.
Sitting down for just a few minutes and developing a detailed plan for the day, or even the whole week,
can help you prioritize things better.
However if you don’t make any plans,
you’re more likely to just go through the day with no real direction.
So if you want to make any of your habits stick, it’s wise to plan them out.
Another thing that makes planning so great, is how closely it’s tied with tracking.
Now it doesn’t matter what you track.
Perhaps you track your gym progress.
Maybe you track your financial situation and where you spend your money.
Or you could even log how you spend each hour of your day.
The point of tracking things, is that we get actual objective data.
Often we’re not really aware of
how much we do, or don’t do, certain things.
But having visible data can help us become aware of that.
Let me give you an example of how this works:
Let’s say you start tracking where you spend your money.
For 1 whole month you log every single purchase you make.
Then you look at the data.
If you’re a smoker,
you might realize you smoke way more than you thought.
You usually buy a $5 pack of cigarettes here and there,
so it doesn’t seem like you spend that much money.
But once you add all those purchases up,
you might find that you actually spend over $100 per month.
You see, our brains are not good at tracking everything
and we often forget to include something.
In this case, a few packs of cigarettes.
That’s why logging things is so beneficial.
It frees our brain space
and it allows us to get an objective look at the things we’re doing, or not doing.
So start tracking your activities
and you’ll find areas where you’ve been fooling yourself.
And you’ll be more likely to improve your situation.
The last keystone habit I suggest you adapt, is meditation.
A lot of people think meditation is a waste of time.
Mainly busy people.
But after just a few weeks of meditating daily you can expect benefits like:
Better self control.
Longer attention span.
Less anxiety and less stress.
All of which is perfect for people who are working hard.
Let me ask you this question: How often do you stop and take a mental break from your daily life?
If you’re like most people, not very often.
We are constantly occupied with something.
Usually we’re busy with school or work
and when we come home, we stimulate ourselves by watching TV or browsing our phones.
Because of this, our brains are working overtime and therefore are exhausted.
If you’re into fitness, you know that working out is only part of the battle.
Another part is resting and allowing your muscles to recover.
And it’s that recovery that allows muscles to repair themselves and grow stronger.
If someone is bench pressing every single day without a break, they are not going to make progress.
In fact, they are likely to be lifting less and less weight,
because their muscles are tired and overworked.
That’s why taking a break is so important.
Meditation gives us that break,
but we’re not resting our muscles.
We’re resting our brain.
And it’s that mental recovery
that allows our brain to build more grey matter
and improve our brain function.
Because of that, meditation makes other habits easier.
Now I urge you to adapt your very own keystone habit.
Build one of them and other positive habits are likely to follow.
If you don’t know how to develop and build habits,
check out my video “Mini Habits”.
It will give you the necessary tools
to build and sustain any habit you desire.
Improving your lifestyle isn’t as difficult as you might have previously thought.
You just need to find that one habit and other habits will follow.
Thanks for watching.
Hopefully you learned something new today and you became better than yesterday.