A keystone habit is a habit that spills over into other areas of our lives making many other things better, according to Charles Duhigg, author of one of my favorite books, The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business. Duhigg reports that people who exercise, smoke less, show more patience with colleagues and family, use credit card less frequently and feel less stressed. Another keystone habit that Duhigg mentions is making your bed every morning. He states that this leads to increased productivity, a greater sense of well-being and stronger skills at sticking to a budget. (after rereading this I stopped to make my bed – not bad for an activity that takes less than a minute.)

As a creative type, I’ve been a big fan of never sticking to a routine, always trying something new, finally, I’ve realized this constantly reinventing the wheel is using up brain power that I could best use for other things. Habits allow us to use our brainpower for better things.   This year, I am choosing to embrace routine, namely keystone habits. At midlife, one of our tasks is to realize that we have more control over what happens in our lives than we thought. Time to let go of pleasing others and worrying what others believe we should do and time to create a life that is in alignment with who we are and what we want.

What do you want to create?

Take a look at the major areas of your life. What would you most like to create? Are you satisfied or is there a major gap between where you are and where you’d like to be? I committed to 100 strength training session in 2017 and to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. These are Keystone habits that will allow me to reach the goal of being in better health.

Keep it simple.

We tend to try to do too many things at once, and then we become overwhelmed, throw our hands in the air and quit altogether. Pick no more than three items you would like to change. Now pick your top item. For me my main issue is improving my health, I’m concerned about my health decreasing as I grow older. I have been blessed with reasonably good health but have become less active. I choose the Keystone habit of strength training because I know I can measure it and the commitment stretches me and I am willing to commit this. I can eat healthily and still find myself wanting a cheeseburger and fries. I can exercise and still have times to be a couch potato. Aim for 90%, perfectionism is not required.

Choose keystone habits

Do you still have its work because of your health building blocks for everything else just like the In Roman architecture, the keystone is the topmost stone that holds the arch together without it, the arch would collapse. I chose strength training because I know when I do I feel better I have more energy and more productive and work and I move more. What my keystone habits are may not be yours. I think of a keystone habit like knocking down an elaborate domino structure you pick the right domino and everything else falls into place.

Pick one thing

What could you do that would make a significant difference in your life. Don’t worry if you pick the wrong thing; you can always choose again. Keep this up for 90 days, 90% efficiency is enough; perfectionism is not required. After 90 days and your first habits are strongly in place, add a second item. Don’t try to change everything at once, joust one thing. The only way to know if this works for you to try it. What have you got to lose?

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