One of the people I was working with had a tendency to commit and go all-in on specific areas that they wanted to improve in their life. While that may seem like a logical approach on the surface, in this particular situation the challenge they faced was inconsistency because they had a lack of purpose behind what they were doing, and the sheer overwhelm of taking on a grandiose task led to giving up when it inevitably got too challenging.
We wanted to set them up for success rather than failure, so we started by looking at their situation through the opposite lens. If going all-out wasn’t ultimately leading to the results they were wanting, what if we started by doing the smallest, most seemingly mundane and underwhelming task first? This doesn’t seem all that inspiring, does it?!
To their credit, the client bought into the idea and we started establishing a keystone habit in one area of their life that would then impact their performance both personally and professionally.
What is a keystone habit? I view it as a linchpin to improving other habits in our life.
In this case, one of the core challenges the client was having was maintaining their ideal weight. They would try various diets and eat healthy for a while, then not. They would go hard on working out, then not. The toll this takes not only physically but mentally as well is an overwhelm in and of itself.
After establishing a powerful reason for getting to their ideal weight, we began the process of creating a keystone habit.
The first step in creating their keystone habit was putting their running shoes and workout clothes beside their bed. That’s it. That’s all that was needed to get started on the journey to get the results they had been searching for over the past few years. This was the trigger they needed to remain consistent in their morning routine. The reward always linked back to their powerful reason for starting in the first place.
The second step was a process of acknowledging and celebrating their win. It didn’t have to be a 2-hour gym session. It could have been something as simple as a 15-minute walk and a solid stretching session. Regardless of the activity itself, the goal was to celebrate the small wins to get the day started.
The final step was to build on the momentum that was now generated and carry that over into other aspects of their life. Because they started to identify themselves as a healthy person, what do you think happened to their desire to get their nutrition game on point?
What about their energy levels? What about their confidence? Their professional performance?
By creating a keystone habit and a powerful reason for establishing one, they started to believe in themselves even more and became inspired to improve other habits in their life as well. They began to see the value and impact of having morning and night routines, meal planning, time maximization, sleep, and emotional fitness.
It was almost a year ago since we first started working together and to this day, they say the most impactful takeaway has been developing a keystone habit and celebrating the small wins in all that they do. They received a promotion they had been striving for over the past three years, they are at their ideal weight and have remained consistent with it, they have adapted to their new identity, and are inspiring others around them which has led to personal records for their team, all from simply starting with a keystone habit.
What’s a keystone habit you can establish today to generate positive momentum in all that you do?
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