In my personal development writing and speaking, I mention habits quite a bit in relation to making constructive changes in our lives. When I heard about keystone habits, I had to ask myself what is a keystone habit?
In fact, in his book, “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business”, Charles Duhigg defines a Keystone habit as “small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carries over into other aspects of their lives.” Let’s explore this a bit and then expand upon it.
Keystone Habits, an Interesting Concept
Now I have not read Duhigg’s entire book but just ran into his work while investigating some stuff in neuroscience. It is quite fascinating.
So basically the core concept here is by developing good habits in one area of our lives they can carry over into other areas. This makes sense to me for a number of reasons.
First, when we are improving in one area through constructive change, we actually create a whole new brain structure based on those new habits. It is only natural that we would make more productive choices in other areas of our lives as well. For instance, when I developed a consistent workout routine, I also noticed that my attention to detail had increased in my business strategies and tasks. I am more aware and alert now in general.
We’ll save an in-depth discussion of how neuroscience plays into this for another time, but just the practical aspects that show up are quite evident. My whole attitude toward life has improved as a result of disciplining myself in the physical fitness area of my life.
Also, this new routine or habit has carried over into my food choices and the amounts of food I eat. Over time, I have developed a healthier lifestyle overall.
Finally, I also have noticed that my commitments are stronger than ever. Although it was always a core value of mine to keep my commitments to myself and others, I now feel an overall drive to do things as efficiently and effectively as possible even with small tasks or chores around the house. Small constructive choices made over time make a positive difference. On the surface these changes may appear to be infinitesimal, and even quite invisible, but when performed daily strengthen our willpower to such an extent that our new routines become automatic.
The Habit of World Class Performance
It is so easy to put high-performance people in a category so remote from ourselves that we feel what they do is unreachable for us. A little research into the lives of high-performance folks such as a Leonardo da Vinci, Roger Bannister, Copernicus, Chopin, Michelangelo, Pele, Michael Jordan, Beethoven, or Coco Chanel would reveal that they were all ordinary people with a big dream and commitment.
These folks practiced daily building up their strengths and forming good habits that they got to a point of forgetting how to behave any other way. High performance and work class had become their new norm.
“I thrive with high-performance challenges in front of me.”
This is something to remember when we ever doubt our own strengths and abilities in any way. Being aware that we are capable of achieving anything that is part of our heartfelt desire is the first step in bringing that desire into reality for ourselves.
Creating a New Blueprint
In order to transform from the old to the new, we first have to realize that we have a current blueprint or paradigm of conditioning that is keeping us stuck. It is like we have a straitjacket on, or we are immersed in quicksand or cement. All our current thoughts and beliefs have made this seem so real that alternatives do not seem to exist at all.
In a recent article I wrote called, “How To Energize Your Life — Generating Emotional Fuel”, I discussed a few ways to address the issue of being stuck and how to break free.
The thing is that our current circumstances are so real to us that it is hard to envision another way of being. But this is exactly what we MUST do. “Envision” it first. This positions us to make constructive changes.
This is an inside game; not an outside struggle. Once we get the type of clarity we need within, the stuff we need to do to make it happen is a no-brainer because we will generate the necessary emotional fuel to transport ourselves to our goals easily and naturally.
What now fills our minds and emotions with thoughts and feelings of resistance of one type or another will turn into thoughts and feelings of how to get things done to get us to our objective in the most effective and efficient way possible. Our thoughts and feelings create our beliefs that turn into habits that are responsible for all of our actions and results.
When we create new habits, we have created a new blueprint or paradigm that has conditioned us to succeed and “see” things quite differently. Once that occurs our lives will never be the same.
Lifetime Habits of Success
While I like Charles Duhigg’s concept of keystone habits, I prefer to look at things from a lifetime perspective. Doing what is necessary to change our set up within results in constructive change without on a permanent basis.
For those interested in neuroscience it is a fun rabbit hole to go down. There is so much that has been discovered over the past few decades that is of immense value to our personal growth, self discovery, and overall success.
But to make constructive changes in our lives, it is not necessary to understand all this new brain research even though it is quite fascinating. All that is necessary is to make a decision to change. Once that commitment is made, it is just a matter of setting up a daily routine filled with processes that will take us where we want to go.
You can do this yourself, but it can be quite challenging. There are many good programs out there to get you going in whatever areas you want to make changes. Do a bit of research. Also creating or finding a good mastermind group will speed up your progress as well.
It is important to understand that this is a process of Self Discovery. All we need is already within ourselves. It just needs to be discovered and released.
No one can do this for us. The objective of any good coach or therapist is to put themselves out of business. It is not a matter of leaning on any guru in order to change but to empower ourselves to change by removing the cloud cover to our innate brilliance and genius.
If you are having a challenge taking that first step, check out my free videos on “Getting Stuff Done” that will provide a bit of encouragement. They may inspire you to take those first few hesitant steps. Since we are dominated by our habits anyway, we might as well be dominated by good habits.
Keystone habits carry over into other areas of our lives as we have discovered, but lifetime habits of success will carry you to any destination that your “heart” desires. The world is waiting for you to break free and contribute to what no one else on this planet can. Please do not disappoint them, and more importantly, we must not disappoint ourselves.
To awakening to your Ever-Present Potential Within,
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