psychologist's healthy habits

Remember the posts Add A Healthy Habit and Target One Bad Habit?  I referenced The Power of Habit, which is a great read.  Charles Duhigg, the author, emphasizes the importance of identifying your “keystone habit.”  A keystone habit has a ripple effect–for example, when people start exercising regularly, they tend to start eating more healthily and become more productive.  The healthy eating and increased productivity are not part of the original goal; instead, these healthy changes are part of a chain reaction that happens when you incorporate an important habit.

This positive chain reaction means you can prioritize one keystone habit and focus only on that habit–chances are, other healthy habits will follow.  I see this healthy chain reaction with clients all the time, so I can attest that it works!

Can you identify the keystone habit you need to incorporate into your life?

If you need inspiration, read this article by Charles Duhigg on Lifehacker.

If you want to incorporate a keystone habit, I recommend you get very concrete (and realistic!) about your goal.  What exactly do you want to accomplish?  How does this habit look today as compared to your goal for one year from now?  Write it down, calendar it, and be specific.

Mr. Duhigg’s research suggests that habits are not conscious decisions, but instead are routines.  Once we start the routine, we go on autopilot and simply go through the steps of the routine–we don’t even think about it.  This means that you need to establish a routine for the habit you want to add–that’s why you need to be specific and concrete.  You can evolve the habit over time, but to get started, think repetition, repetition, repetition.

Research also shows that tracking your success helps reinforce healthy habits.  You can incorporate this into your Daily Accounting or use a smartphone app such as Streaks.

Need more inspiration?  Watch this TEDTalk by Matt Cutts–“Try Something New for 30 Days.”  

What’s your keystone habit?  Start writing down your keystone habit routine today!

You can subscribe to the Daily Shoring 90 Day Series here: