Keystone habits are tiny changes that can lead to big transformations, according to Constant Renewal founder Louis Chew.
The blogger said he began implementing keystone habits after reading the book “The Power Of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. According to Duhigg’s theory, even the smallest of habits can trigger major changes, Chew says.
“Essentially, everything else changes just because of this one habit,” Chew tells NBC News BETTER.
For example, let’s say you start waking up at 5 am instead of 7 am.
“It’s quiet, no one is around,” says Chew. “So you realize you have two hours alone. And so when you are alone you do things very differently, especially when it’s in the morning. Your normal patterns aren’t interrupted.”
If you had gone to sleep two hours later instead of waking up two hours earlier, you might have wasted that time watching TV, Chew explains. But early in the morning, he says, you are much more likely to spend those two hours doing something productive.
“For instance, people wake up earlier to get to the gym,” he says.
What’s significant is this small change has a domino effect, he says.
For instance, you can use that extra time to go running, which can help you lose weight. Or you can spend that time making yourself lunch, which can help you eat healthier and save money in the process.
“Basically every single positive activity is linked to waking up early,” Chew says.
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Start with “Step 0”
Even small changes can be difficult to make. Instead of focusing on step 1, focus on step 0, says Chew. In other words, start with the smallest change possible.
“You should pick something that is small,” says Chew. “You don’t want to do something that is big.”
For example, if you are used to waking up at 7 am, waking up at 5 am is a big leap.
“So I might set an alarm clock for 15 minutes earlier than I usually do,” says Chew. “15 minutes is very doable.”
As you get more accustomed to waking up early, he says, set the alarm another 15 minutes earlier. Eventually, over the course of a week or two, you will reach your two hour goal. Of course, you’ll also need to start going to bed earlier, he says. That’s something you can also do gradually as you progress.