What Are Keystone Habits

Our habits play a big part in determining who we are and what we become. Interestingly, we create our own habits, and then those habits create us. It is a powerful notion to behold because it reminds us that we have a choice to adopt certain habits that in return mold and reward us.

As we all know, there are both good and bad habits. Most of us have a combination of both but also desire to incorporate more good habits into our lives while also eradicating some of our bad ones. But it also is important to remember that there are some good habits that are more powerful than others.

Keystone habits are good habits that cause a ripple effect and make us adopt other good habits. They are the most powerful life-changing habits because of the chain-reaction they cause. Even though all good habits have merit, not all of them are keystone habits.

If someone had to pick one to two new habits to adopt, I would highly recommend that they choose keystone habits because of their quantum effect. Let’s say you decide to adopt the habit of going to bed earlier every night and waking up earlier. That is a keystone habit. Why? Because it induces the formation of other habits. For example, because you are going to bed early, you will not hang out at night in bars and drink alcohol. Or you will feel more refreshed when you wake up after a good night’s sleep and, therefore, become more productive. Or you will discover that you now have time to exercise or cook a healthy breakfast before work every morning. That is how keystone habits work. They have a trickle-down effect.

Like you, I want to become a better person and experience more joy, happiness, growth, and success in my life. Consequently, I am always trying to adopt better habits and, by far, the most profound results I have seen are a result of incorporating keystone habits into my life. They seem to make the adoption of other good habits more natural and a little easier.

Each of us has to decide what areas of our lives we want to improve and which keystone habits we would like to adopt. However, I also believe that there are certain keystone habits that have an immense positive effect on all of us.

Some Keystone Habits


When we get into the habit of regular exercise, we are laying the groundwork for other good habits to follow. For example, if you exercise, your mind will be more alert and you will be less tired, allowing you to be more productive. You probably will also be tempted to eat healthier. There is a good chance that you will also fall asleep more easily. Exercise also releases dopamine and serotonin, and that makes us happier, more positive, which in turn affects our relationships and outlook in life.

Having a Daily Routine

Another powerful keystone habit is having a daily routine. It creates structure in our lives and helps us practice other good habits automatically. For example, my daily routine consists of waking up early, drinking a big glass of water, a cup of green tea, and starting the day by reading something positive, followed by exercise. Because I have made this my daily routine, I know exactly what I have to do each day when I wake up so it eliminates the need to plan or think about it. Daily routines are extremely powerful habits that benefit us all.

Sleeping and Waking Up Early

This is another keystone habit that has a positive effect on our lives. When we go to bed and wake up early, we open the door for other great habits. It can make us more productive, allow us to get to work on time and with no stress, cook a healthy breakfast each morning, exercise, do yoga, spend time with the kids, and much more.

Setting Goals

When we adopt the habit of setting short term and long term goals, we pave the way for other good habits. This keystone habit ensures that daily and weekly tasks get completed. It also creates a clear visual of what needs to get done and takes the guess work out of the equation. It reminds us of what we want to achieve and encourages us to remember the small habits that push us in that direction.

Daily Meditation

When we are in the habit of meditating every day, we become more mindful and have more empathy for others. As a result, we become happier, less stressed, more aware of what we are doing and how we spend our precious time, and our relationships improve. The awareness we gain from meditation allows us to make good, conscious choices in our lives and become less impulsive.


Reading is a powerful habit that affects our lives in a positive way. In fact, reading is like exercise for our brains. It stimulates the imagination and teaches us new things. When we read, we learn new habits such as practicing silence, enjoying our solitude, reducing the amount of TV we watch, spending time at home and saving money, etc.

Keeping Track of What We Eat

When we pay attention to what we eat as a habit, we are more likely to eat healthier food, be more in shape, become more active, have better self-esteem, and increase the likelihood of exercising daily and adopting a healthier lifestyle. That is why more people are maintaining a food journal to record what they eat and drink.

Those are just some keystone habits that I recommend. I can personally vouch for the positive effect those habits have had on my life. There are many others like positive visualization, being frugal and less impulsive, keeping a personal journal, having one family meal together every day, practicing gratitude, etc. Choose the one that appeals to you most and make it a daily keystone habit. Maintain that habit for sixty days and it is likely to become routine. It will have a powerful effect and give birth to other positive habits that will change your life.

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2 thoughts on “What Are Keystone Habits

  1. Hello Nabeel,
    That is really great advice! Drinking plenty of water every day is great for your body in many ways. Thanks for sharing that habit with us.

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