Keystone habits have made the most significant difference in my life. They are those small things we do every day that turn into practices that ground us and give us that firm foundation on which to build our lives. These common keystone habits aren’t anything mindblowing, but consistency is vital. These are five of the best keystone habits you should be working on to become a high-performer. This keystone habits list is not extensive, but it is a great place to start.
What are keystone habits?
The keystone habits definition is “small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives,” according to Charles Duhigg in his book, The Power of Habit. As creatures of habit, we create habit circles in our lives that look like cue > routine > reward. For example, it’s 8:00 (cue). I put my boys to bed (routine). And I reward myself with a glass of wine and watching TV on the couch with my husband. When we change that routine into a new action, we create a brand new habit.
Think about a keystone in an arch. It is the final piece placed during construction and locks all the stones into position, allowing the arch to bear weight. That’s the same thing with keystone habits. When we put those important habits in place, they will stabilize us to stand tall and bear the weight of work and life. High performers develop keystone habits to stop the harmful habit circles and create keystone habits that take them to the next level in business and life.
One of the Best Keystone Habits: Exercise
Creating a keystone habit of exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself. The practice of exercise is the mark of a high performer. This keystone habit is not easy to create, but it affects every part of your life and is essential. Not only does exercise benefit your body physically in a myriad of ways, but it is also a critical factor in your mental and emotional state.
When you move your body for at least 30 minutes every day, you build stamina and endurance and work your heart too. Moving your body in whatever way you prefer (I love my Peloton and going for walks) releases endorphins to make your mind clear and boosts your mood. I’m always super creative after working out too!
The hardest part about exercise is doing it. But, putting in the work will have a ripple effect in every area – you will feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. You may lose some weight, your mind will be clearer to make better decisions, and you will be more creative. You’ll be able to play with your kids because you’re building up endurance in your heart and muscles. The list goes on.
One of the Top Keystone Habits for Success: Sleep
It is so important to develop the keystone habit of sleep. Experts say that your body and brain function so much better when you get 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Now, I understand that there are seasons of your life when this is pretty much impossible. You may have a newborn baby or are working hard to build your business while working full-time and raising a family. But, it’s easy once that season is over to stay there because you’re used to getting 5-6 hours of sleep each night.
Sleep improves your brain function, health, mood, stress levels, and much more. If you’re having trouble implementing this keystone habit, try creating an evening routine that will help you in developing this keystone habit. Discontinue your use of screens at least an hour before you want to go to sleep, enjoy a warm shower or bath, read a book, drink a cup of herbal tea, etc. You don’t have to do all of these, but setting up routines to help you instill keystone habits will make it easier for you!
A Habit for Your Spirit: Meditation
When developing keystone habits, we must include spiritual habits. Meditation is a straightforward process: close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and let your mind work. Often, we have to strive to actively do something with our bodies when building habits, but not here. Be still, sit, and practice meditating!
Guided meditations are beneficial, especially when beginning to meditate. I love the Simple Habit app! You may choose to incorporate prayer or a Bible reading into your meditation too! When you first start meditating, your mind will be busy and active, and it’ll be hard to quiet the noise. But with practice and making this a habit, you’ll be able to focus and be still. Meditation will have a ripple effect on every area of your life because you’re starting from the inside.
One of the Organizational Keystone Habits: Managing Your Time
Managing your time and prioritizing what’s most important is the mark of a high performer. They don’t get bogged down by busy work or fake work. Instead, they develop the keystone habit of “eating the frog” or getting what will move the needle forward most done.
The key to this keystone habit’s success is mapping everything out first! I love mind mapping, and at the moment, have more than five mind maps posted in my office. You can learn all about it in this podcast episode and how it’s changed the game for my students and me. When you mind map, all of the tasks get organized into a workflow, so you know what you need to do!
If you’re unsure what will move the needle forward or what to do first, I created a map just for you! It is full of juicy online business secrets for teachers, and it’s helped thousands of teachers manage their time better as they build their online businesses! Download A Teacher’s Map of Online Business Secrets here!
The Habit of Tracking What You Put In Your Body
Documenting your food sounds simple, and it really is, but it also can have transformational results. You see, when I track my food using the MyFitnessPal app, I am more mindful of what I eat because I know I’ll see the nutritional information. When I’m more conscious of what I eat, I want to eat nutrient-rich food that will fuel my body instead of slow it down. I also have an accountability partner (my bestie), and we’re “friends” on the app, so we see how each other is doing with their goals. Doing this also makes me take a second to think about the food I’m about to consume before it goes into my mouth!
Find a system that works well for you, and make it a goal to document your food. You DON’T have to watch what you eat or be on a diet to do this! Just the act of writing down what you consume will help you be more mindful about eating the right food for your body and turning down the junk. Then, I also recommend finding someone to whom you can be accountable. Do it TOGETHER, so you can be each other’s biggest cheerleaders and keep one another on track.
The key to keystone habits is NOT GIVING UP. Start small, because they tend to have a snowball effect! Choose one habit to start today. Soon, you’ll be a high-performing teacherpreneur, and NOTHING will be able to stop you! Which habit are you working on right now?