Keystone Habits

Several years ago, I presented at a small lunch meeting.  The discussion was on habits, one of my favorite subjects. The question about goals came up, and a very special woman in the conversation made a decision to accomplish a goal the following year that she likely did not realize would impact many other key areas in her life. 

The goal was simply to run a 5k race.  Actually, it might have been a 10k; I don’t remember, but the point is that it was a running race of a significant distance.  This was something she hadn’t done, nor could she do at that time.

The decision was made, and the goal was accomplished later that year.  She ran the race, completing it without a break.  Success!

But there was more.  In working toward and accomplishing this goal, many habits needed to be changed or replaced. And from those habit changes, other unintended goals were accomplished.

Here are just a few…

The first is the goal itself: She finished the race. Done.

Second, she became more self-disciplined in order to build and leverage the consistent habit of running.

Third, self-discipline breeds confidence. I don’t know specifically if this happened for her as she was already pretty self-confident, but I imagine it helped.

Fourth, she lost weight. Just happens when exercise is the new mindset.  And, the mind of a runner tends to eat better as well. Sleeps better too.  So, there’s two more – sleep and nutrition.

The habit necessary to achieve her goal was daily running. This became a keystone habit, likely without intention, and led her through the other 6 habits listed above.  Now, that is the way to build good habits!