Why You Need to Develop Your Keystone Habits
What was the highlight of your last week? Mine was getting to bed by 10:30pm every single night and waking more refreshed than I have in a long time! It seemed so small in the grand scheme of my week, but the positive effects of getting to bed on time carried over into each day.
That got me thinking about ‘keystone habits.’
Keystone habits lead to the development and practice of other habits that can help create a ripple effect of positive changes in your life.
People often ask me for exact details on how I stay inspired to live a healthy lifestyle year-round. Honestly, it comes down to practicing a few healthy habits and then enjoying the ripple effect of positive changes that follow. These habits include ones like getting myself in bed at a decent hour every night!
I had to stop and really think about my habits because they’ve become second nature with years of practice. That’s the goal—habits that make fitness more of a lifestyle and less of a chore, right?
It’s not about fitness being easy, for example. It’s about feeling at ease by establishing a handful of healthy habits and letting the rest of your lifestyle fall into place as a result of those habits.
Some of My Keystone Habits
1. Limiting my screen time (phone and television) on weekdays. I love a Sunday Netflix binge, but on weekdays, I keep TV time and mindless scrolling through my phone to a minimum. I got more serious about this habit when I upgraded my iPhone and it started sending me weekly reports of my screen time. I was averaging 3.5 hours of playing with apps and texting and who-knows-what-else every day. That’s roughly 24.5 hours a week, which is equal to a part-time job! As a result of cutting my screen time to under 2 hours every day, I have time to:
- Read more books from a variety of genres
- Don’t reach for my phone first thing in the morning
- Get more done. Period!
- Get to bed earlier and wake more refreshed
- Spend more time writing in my journal, researching, studying and preparing great content for you
2. Stretching for at least 10 minutes every day. Sometimes I break up the 10 minutes over the course of my day—I stretch before bed, sometimes I do it first thing in the morning or in the middle of the day. Because I stretch every day, I …
- Have fewer aches, pains and stiffness
- Stand more and move more intentionally throughout my day
- Take time to breath and practice mindfulness every single day, even if only for 5 minutes at a time!
3. Drinking a cup of hot herbal tea before bed. This has become a ritual for me that I look forward to every single night. You can’t rush the steeping process and you have to sip slow…it’s so soothing after a long day. I like to read or write in my journal as I sip my tea and spend about 30 minutes winding down before bed.
How to Discover Your Keystone Habits
Your lifestyle is a direct reflection of your habits. As you’re writing your goals and intentions, think of the habits that will help those goals and intentions stick. For example:
- Meal planning 1-2x a week to help you stay consistent with healthy eating.
- Weight training 2-3x a week to help increase your strength and feel more comfortable in your clothes.
- Taking a 5-minute break from work every single day to help build your meditation practice.
- Drinking 2 liters of water every day to boost your energy.
As you think about your list, be specific and focus on two or three keystone habits you can implement every single day.
New healthy habits can form more easily when others are already in place. What are your keystone habits?
A version of this post originally appeared on TrinPerkins.com.
Trinity Perkins, a HealthyWomen #BeHealthiHer Ambassador, is a well-rounded fitness enthusiast and nature lover! She builds activity into every day by walking her dog, taking midday stretch breaks, lifting weights and having random dance sessions between work emails. She’s a full-time Certified Personal Fitness Trainer, Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist and Wellness Blogger. Her training programs, events, blog and nutrition resources help inspire women to reach their fitness goals with a whole-body approach. Her clientele ranges from competitive athletes to beginners but one thing holds true – she’s an advocate of strength training for women and includes free weights in every workout. Trinity is currently completing a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher training program as the next evolution of her fitness training career.