Imagine if every time you got in the car, you had to pause and decide whether or not to buckle your seatbelt.
Or if every morning before work, you had to stop for a few moments and debate with yourself whether or not to brush your teeth.
Thank goodness for helpful habits, otherwise our brains would be exhausted by 8am!
Habits serve a powerful purpose in our lives. “A daily routine built on good habits and disciplines,” Darren Hardy claims, “separates the most successful among us from everyone else.”
On the flip side, unhelpful habits can derail us like nothing else.
Due to your requests, I promised to focus this month’s newsletter on habits. We could go any number of directions with this expansive topic: how to break bad habits, how to build and sustain purposeful new ones, how long it actually takes to form a habit, what role if any willpower plays, and on and on.
In an effort to keep this article under 80,000 words, however, I will focus on two fundamental aspects that could completely change your relationship with habits going forward.
(Plus, we’ll be focusing on all those other aspects in the 2020 ASPIRE Success Club, so be sure to join us
if you haven’t already!)
#1: THE FOUNDATION
One obstacle I often personally encounter when attempting to develop a habit is an inherent sense of overwhelm. If I strive to become healthier, for example, I can easily create a laundry list of habits from exercise to nutrition to sleep to water consumption to stress management to …
Whew, my energy feels depleted just writing about it!
And with my all-or-nothing tendencies, I can easily veer toward ‘nothing’ in an instance like this. Anyone else?
Fortunately, there’s a middle ground: The keystone habit.
“Keystone habits say that success doesn’t depend on getting every single thing right,” Charles Duhigg writes in The Power of Habit, “but instead relies on identifying a few key priorities and fashioning them into powerful levers.”
Think of this like a ripple effect for habits: Focus on one that, when implemented, positively impacts others at the same time, often seemingly without any additional effort on your part.
Let’s go back to my health example for a moment. Instead of trying to develop new habits in all of those different areas, exercise might become my keystone habit. When I exercise regularly, I tend to sleep better, make higher-quality food choices, and drink more water, for instance. Focusing on one such habit can simplify my actions and compound my results.
What area of your work or life are you looking to elevate? What could serve as your keystone habit?
Another element in successful habit development is one you may not think about but could truly make the difference:
The element of belief.
You need to believe you can sustain a habit in order for that to actually occur.
“For a habit to stay changed,” Duhigg explains, “people must believe change is possible. And most often, that belief only emerges with the help of a group.”
I have seen evidence of this time and time again in the ASPIRE Success Club
: Whether reporting back to the group or with their one-on-one accountability partner, members frequently share how they have attempted unsuccessfully for years
to stick with a habit – then, a few months into ASPIRE, they’ve made it happen.
Surrounding yourself with those who support you, want you to succeed, and believe in you – sometimes even more than you believe in yourself – changes everything.
What group will support you in sustaining your new habit?
YOUR NEXT INSPIRED ACTION
How will you take this article and apply it to your work and/or life? A few ideas:
1. Uncover your keystone habit and begin there.
2. Look to past habits you have successfully developed to remind you that you can do the same here, too. (Believe!)
3. Enlist the support of a group.
Feel free to share your next action step on Instagram
! I am rooting for you and your positive, purposeful habits!
Christi Hegstad, PhD, PCC is the Certified Executive + Personal Coach for difference-making achievers! Clarify your vision, free up time, and confidently reach bold, compelling goals that matter! Contact us today for coaching, speaking, and Mastermind opportunities, or click here and fill in the blue box to join our email community.