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What is a keystone habit? and why is it important?

In his book “The Power of Habit” Charles Duhigg talks about what he calls “Keystone” habits.

First, let me explain a keystone …. it is the stone at the top of an arch that holds everything together.  It is so important that, often, it will be highly decorated or ornately designed.

Keystone habits, then are a habits that is so interwoven in our lives that  when we change them, it will have a profound impact on our lives!

There are some obvious big ones – Stop smoking or drinking, exercise regularly, eat less sugar….

Take a look at your life and ask which habit, if you were to change it, would have the most profound impact on your life?

That is one of your keystone habits. (We all have a few!)

But does one reign supreme????   According to Duhigg – yes.

He believes that the most important keystone habit is –


(Willpower can also be called Self-Discipline.)

If you were to add more self-discipline to your life that would impact everything. Even that smoking, drinking, exercising, eating less sugar habits would all be impacted naturally, without focusing on them, simply by building your willpower/self-discipline.

It’s the master key…..

If your willpower could use a little boost, start there.  If not, find another keystone habit and make some changes!


Check out my exercise on changing habits here: Steps to Change a Habit

Photo courtesy of: Julian Osley

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