What are keystone habits? How do keystone habits affect the rest of your lifestyle?
Keystone habits are habits that create a domino effect. These habits can influence you to form other habits, and are the basis for a lot of behavior.
Read more about keystone habits and how they work.
Certain habits can have a domino effect – get one habit right, and many other good habits fall into place naturally. These keystone habits act as massive levers.
A 2009 study on weight loss tried to get obese people to follow a simple habit – write down everything they ate, at least one day a week. While difficult at first, it became a habit for many. Unexpectedly, this small habit rippled throughout their diet. When forced to study what they ate, the study participants couldn’t help noticing when they snacked absentmindedly, or when they had unhealthy dinners. They then proactively started to plan future meals so that when they wanted a snack, they reached for an apple instead of a candy bar.
The keystone habit of keeping a food journal created an environment for more healthy habits to thrive. Eventually, participants who kept a journal lost twice as much weight as the control group.
How do you find a keystone habit? Find an area where you can have small wins. By achieving small wins, you create forces that favor another small win, and that in turn encourages the next small win, and so on, creating a virtuous cycle. These wins create a culture of change, and create new structures that help new habits grow and thrive.
(Shortform note: The keystone habit concept feels anecdotal in the book due to lack of scientific evidence. It can make sense intuitively, though. When you’re stuck in a rut, it’s often easy to resign yourself to thinking you’re incapable of change, that you’re a lazy good-for-nothing. By achieving small wins, you can reverse this resignation – you can convince yourself that you ARE capable of change. This courage can empower you to take bigger and bigger steps.)
———End of Preview———
Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Charles Duhigg's "The Power of Habit" at Shortform .
Here's what you'll find in our full The Power of Habit summary :
- The 3 steps to change your habits
- Why habits are at the root of success in football
- How social movements are just an expansion of habits from individuals to communities