5 Proven Habits to Take your Life to the Next Level
What are Keystone Habits?
Basically, keystone habits are habits that lead to the development of tons of other good habits. It is like a chain effect that produces many positive changes to occur in your life. So, it would be crazy beneficial for us to add these habits into our life!
In my last blog post I talked about how exercising is a great addition to a morning routine. Studies show that exercising is an awesome keystone habit. It leads to healthier eating habits, less stress, more patience, and more productivity. For the sake of offering 5 new keystone habits I haven’t mentioned before, I will not include exercising on this list. But I do believe it’s a very important keystone habit!
Also, in my last blog post I mentioned meditation. For the same reason that I did not use exercise, I will not be including meditation. But meditation is also a great keystone habit, as it has been shown to provide health benefits such as reduced blood pressure. Studies have also shown that meditation is connected to increased memory and awareness. Meditation also reduces stress and anxiety. So if you haven’t already, add exercise and meditation to your morning routines to really start your day off with a bang.
5 More Habits to Add to your Morning Routine:
In one of my favorite habit books, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Duhigg writes, "Families who habitually eat dinner together seem to raise children with better homework skills, higher grades, greater emotional control, and more confidence.”
Now, realistically speaking, there is no way I would be able to gather my family together every evening for a family dinner. We have very different schedules, my children are young and their bedtime is around 8PM. My husband has work to do in the early evenings, and there are times when the kids have activities in the evenings that require quite a bit of flexibility for dinner. I know I’m not the only one in a family with a hectic evening schedule.
So my take away is this. The meal doesn’t matter, if I can get my family together for a relaxing dinner that’s great. But I’m not going to force something that does not fit, that will probably create the reverse effect of what I’m looking to gain from this keystone habit. I don’t believe that dinner itself is the answer, but more so the act of sharing an enjoyable meal where family can connect. Everyone in my family is on the same morning schedule, therefore it makes more sense to have family breakfasts together. Yes, we all get up a little bit earlier so we don’t have the grab a muffin or a bagel and rush out the door routine anymore. And I have noticed a big difference. Mornings are not horribly hectic, there is time to enjoy our time together, and we can talk about our plans for the day. The kids make it to school in a nice relaxed mood, and all in all, it’s a pretty good way to start the day.
Write Down What you Eat
That’s right. Everything. Food journaling or tracking was studied in 2009 by the National Institutes of Health. Participants with food journals lost twice as much weight as those without. Now it isn’t solely for the purpose of losing weight, it’s also a good habit to get into for a healthy diet. And when I say “diet” I mean a healthy lifestyle. The reason why writing or tracking everything you eat is such a good habit is you will be able to see patterns. It will be eye-opening. You will find eating patterns or habits that you didn’t even know you had by keeping track of what you eat and when. There are many free apps out there for tracking calories that make it super easy, instead of writing it down in a notebook. Choose whichever is best for you and set yourself up for success.
Develop a Daily routine
In my last blog post I wrote about the benefits of a morning routine. Having consistency in your day will allow you to consistently produce positive effects. “The way we organize our thoughts and work routines has enormous impacts on our health, productivity, financial security, and happiness” Duhigg writes. If you do not have a morning routine I recommend you check out my last blog post and add that to your schedule first. It will reshape the way you view your mornings, especially if you are not a morning person like me. I was not a morning person, and now I enjoy waking up early, it’s totally crazy! After you have a morning routine, you can add an evening routine to help set yourself up for your mornings.
Life is hard enough, eliminate the negative self-talk. It will vastly improve many areas of your life. Even if you don’t actually 100% believe the opposite of the negative-ness, you can start there. Just turn it around and say something positive. When something negative pops into your mind, spin it into something positive. It’s ok if you don’t fully agree with it at first, it’s normal. Start by saying something positive. Once you start getting into the habit of saying more positive things, you will find that you start thinking more positive thoughts. When you start thinking positive thoughts, the universe will start rewarding you with more positive things.
Willpower is a muscle
Duhigg states, “dozens of studies show that willpower is the single most important keystone habit for individual success.” A study done by the University of Pennsylvania in 2005 says students with high self-discipline perform better than those with a high IQ. How? Students with more willpower had fewer absences and devoted more time to their studies. Willpower is a habit that needs training, like a muscle it needs to be worked. Having self-discipline is an advantage, it takes willpower to save money, it takes will power to plan ahead, and it takes will power to eliminate excuses.
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