If I told you the simple act of making breakfast made me who I am today, you probably wouldn't believe me. But it's true.
Let's hop in my time machine and go back nine months for a moment.
I'm depressed. I have no energy and no motivation. I usually never show any negativity at work but my coworkers can sense something is off. I'm not my normal self at all.
She used to take care of me but she is gone now and I feel like my life is falling apart. I barely wake up in time for work every morning and I can't focus on anything.
My stomach is killing me. My body hates me. I don't know how to cook anything so I'll eat something that can barely be considered food once a day.
I have no plans for my future so thinking ahead hurts. Thinking back doesn't provide any solace either. But all I can feel is my stomach.
I decide that no matter what the future holds, I need to care of myself right now. I need to start eating or I'll rot away from the inside. I decided to make sure I ate before work the next morning.
Little did I know that I had found my keystone habit.
A keystone habit is one habit that has the power to create a chain reaction, causing a snowball effect that changes other habits as it grows.
Eating breakfast was my keystone habit. Your keystone habit might be quitting drinking or smoking, going to the gym, writing in a journal every night, getting up early or even reading.
By the end of this post you will know the three things to look for and expect from a keystone habit. Let's do it!
1) A keystone habit offers the feeling of small, reoccurring wins.
Everyone loves a win. It feels good. Imagine getting a win everyday, or five, or ten!
Every time I ate something in the morning it was a win for me. I would think about how I accomplished my goal before bed that night.
Having this sense of regular small wins can snowball and cause you to believe you can achieve those bigger wins. Maybe I could learn how to cook and eat healthy?
If you are trying to quit smoking everyday that you don't smoke, is a win. If you don't like the cold turkey method, everyday that you don't go past a certain number of cigarettes it is a win.
Better yet, every three hour period that you don't have a smoke is a win.
Set small, very achievable goals and allow yourself to get as many wins as possible.
Make sure you are congratulating yourself on these accomplishments!
With a hundred small victories at your back, you will not only believe that the major victories are possible, they will feel inevitable. Which brings us to our next point.
2) A Keystone habit will snowball your confidence and energy.
When you integrate or change a keystone habit, you are improving something that is deeply meaningful to yourself. Pick something that you care about.
If you have been trying to quit smoking, go to the gym, or eat healthy for years and now you can see real tangible progress toward your goal, you will feel good about it. I guarantee it.
When I started eating breakfast, I felt great. Not just because my stomach was no longer at war with me, but because I was starting to believe that I could change my life in a meaningful way.
With reoccurring small wins and your newly found confidence and energy, you come to point three.
This is where you start to see major changes in all areas of your life.
3) A keystone habit acts as soil from which other habits grow.
In the beginning I just wanted to eat every morning. I was at war with every part of myself and I wanted a truce with my stomach at the very least.
At first I would just eat a banana, but after a while I wanted something bigger so I would wake up a little earlier and make scrambled eggs.
I was terrible at cooking so I started watching Gordon Ramsay YouTube videos while I ate. Ps: I am NOT a F**king donkey, Ramsay!
Once I learned how to make a half decent breakfast I realized that I loved learning and being creative in the morning.
I was now excited to wake up every morning. This lead to researching how to make myself an early riser naturally without effort.
These were new habits naturally growing from within me.
We all need a catalyst to change our lives, but it doesn't have to be a near death experience.
The simple habit of eating something every morning gave me small wins, which lead to confidence and excitement, which lead to a whole spring of new habits I never thought I could integrate into my life.
I am a completely different person than I was nine months ago. It's funny that I write this at the nine month mark because I do feel like I am reborn.
I am begging you, don't try to change your whole life at once. Change one deeply meaningful thing about yourself.
Change one thing you do daily, and you'll change your whole life.