“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit” – Aristotle
Habits are the small decisions that you make and the actions you perform every day. You are what you repeatedly do so you’re essentially the sum of your habits. Your habits move you forward towards your full identity or they move you away from it.
As James Clear says in his book Atomic Habits, “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new reality.“
Keystone Habits are the foundation to your success because they will shape you becoming more like the person you were created to be. This is investing in a future better version of you. The result isn’t just something to be enjoyed by you, but also by all the people that are in your life.
So as you invest in building your lifestyle from the ground up, you’re building a centre of influence that will impact all the lives of people around you, from your family and your friends, to your team and your customers.
In the pursuit of a goal, be it a position in life or a set figure in your bank account, it’s easy to lose focus in the process. You go at it hard, and your ambitious drive focuses you like a laser on the prize, but then you find that you’re dropping other plates along the way.
Your sleep pattern begins to resemble stock market graphs in an economic crisis – erratic. Your physical health suffers because you don’t have enough time to exercise or to eat well. Your loved ones see you less because you’re burning the candle at both ends – apparently, so you can provide for them better.
And when they do see you they get the scraps – your grouchiness and leftover energy after a long day. You’re there but you’re not really there.
As you strive to produce more output, your tank is waning. As you do more, you’re becoming less. Less of a person made to succeed and thrive, and more of a person trying to keep it all together.
The process of how you go about achieving your goals is as important as the end result. The process of building a solid routine in your life is a significant part of your development and preparation for bigger things.
To live a deeply rich life involves implementing a strong rhythm of keystone habits into your life. Putting keystone habits in place are like the pillars of a bridge.
Without them, the structure becomes unstable and unable to withstand any type of persistent pressure. But with them, you can be sure that you’re investing in your whole life, not just a section of it.
Keystone habits, as opposed to just habits, carry more significance because they spill over into other areas of your life.
They spark chain reactions that help other habits take hold. It’s like knocking down a big domino which creates a ripple because it’ll automatically knock down other dominoes as well.
Therefore, it means you don’t need to have lots and lots of habits in place to reach your goals – you only need to focus on a few keystone habits to produce major positive changes.
Examples of keystone habits are:
Quiet Time with God – The God of the universe longs to spend quality time with you. As you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you.
Exercise – Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly are more productive and mentally alert. They’re also more disciplined and more confident, which are great traits to have at work and around the house.
Morning Routine – How you start the day is how you win the day. Set yourself up to start the day proactively instead of reactively. This builds momentum.
Planning – When you talk it’s possible, but when you schedule it, it becomes real and it gets done. Make your decisions in advance so you don’t get led astray by fickle emotional lapses.
Your habits shape your identity – as such they are essential to the deepening of your faith. Neglect at your peril!