The Power of Keystone Habits

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This article was originally published on Robert Glazer’s personal blog FridayFwd.com

A few months ago marked the six-month point since I started the Friday Forward posts. Each week I get a lot of great feedback and ideas, but the most common question I receive is, “How do you keep it up each week”?

The answer to this question really has two parts. The first is that it’s something I enjoy doing and deeply believe in (inspiring change). The second is that it has become a habit.

One of the most influential books I’ve read in the past few years is Charles Duhigg’s, The Power of Habit. His book offers an amazing window into how to change behavior and habits in a lasting way. For example, did you know that it takes approximately 21 days of repetition to form a new habit?

One of Duhigg’s most important discoveries is that there are “keystone” habits in our life that, if changed, will lead to positive change in many other areas of our life.

For example, people who commit to consistent exercise suddenly find themselves doing better in their other commitments. Likewise, people who were asked to keep a food journal for a study on different diets lost far more weight than those who didn’t keep a food journal.  The act of journaling turned out to have a significant influence on more than just diet itself.

Paul O’Neil, the legendary CEO of Alcoa, is best known for turning the company around by getting everyone focused on safety. When employees saw the commitment and results from it, everything else in the company started to improve. Read How Changing One Habit Quintupled Alcoa’s Revenue.

The takeaway is that if you really want to hit your goals, find your keystone habit and build from there. I think I have found mine and hope to turn these e-mails into a book once I reach week 52!

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