arootahimg    arootahimg


facebook  instagram  twitter  linkedin  pinterest



Blog > 8 Keystone Habits to Improve Your Health in 2024

8 Keystone Habits to Improve Your Health in 2024

Keystone habits provide a foundation for other healthy changes that add up over time
Person stretching as a keystone habit

Did you enjoy this post? Share it with your network to spread these insider tips! Click a social icon and tag us @ArootahCoach

45% of what we do every day is habitual. This means we often don’t have to think about our behavior; we simply do what our brains are programmed to do.

This is great news from an evolutionary standpoint. It means that we expend less energy deciding what to do and more energy doing what needs to be done.

This also means that if we create habits that contribute to our goals, we have a greater chance of reaching them. If we don’t create habits that support our goals, we’ll make minimal progress and spend much of our time on autopilot.

If you’re looking to build healthier habits in the new year, creating keystone health habits is one way to set yourself up for success.

From nutrition to fitness to stress reduction, let’s explore some habits you can weave into your busy life to improve your health every day.

Hold on…What Are Keystone Habits?

Keystone habits are tiny habits or changes that give way to bigger improvements in your life. Think of a keystone habit as a trigger habit that can set off an avalanche of transformation (whether good or bad).

The happiness we experience in life is primarily determined by our habits. To that extent, we want to optimize our keystone habits for greater health and happiness.
Without taking the time to consciously decide the habits you want to implement in your life, there’s a good chance you’ll remain stuck in old patterns. The good news is that your brain loves habits. And by taking the time to invest in habits that serve you, you’ll be able to reap the benefits.

To make the transition from current habits to new habits, you’ll want to focus on building new keystone habits.

Here are three characteristics of keystone habits:

  1. They bring your brain a small sense of victory. Your keystone habits should make you feel like you’ve accomplished something, even if these accomplishments are small victories. Think of the satisfaction you experience when you check something off your to-do list. These positive actions create a small dopamine boost in your brain.
  2. They’re the soil from which other habits grow. Your brain will use this new, small supply of dopamine to form your next habit. This is why many life coaches recommend making your bed right after you wake up. It allows you to accomplish something positive at the start of your morning, which becomes the foundation for other positive habits during the day.
  3. They give you energy and confidence to do more. The small victory of a keystone habit will drive your brain to seek out other positive experiences. This is where the avalanche effect can take place as your brain learns to seek out other positive actions and make them habits.

Get actionable tips to help you energize and reprioritize self-care. Sign up for The Wellness Return newsletter today.

By providing your email address, you agree to receive email communication from Arootah

Why Focus on Keystone Habits?

Since keystone habits lead to other habits, you get the highest return on your effort if you invest your time in positive keystone habits.

Accomplished habit builders know how to leverage keystone habits to push themselves to greater self-improvement. For example, building a keystone habit of exercising five times a week could lead to habits of daily meditation, a new yoga practice, better nutrition, or even a more robust social life.

The opposite is also true. If you focus on eradicating bad habits, it can cancel out the negative habits that often follow the keystone habit. For example, for some people, drinking alcohol can lead to unhealthy eating, smoking, poor sleep, etc. So, it’s a wise investment of your time to focus on eliminating a keystone habit that starts any cycles of bad habits you wish to break.

8 Healthy Keystone Habits to Cultivate

Keystone habits create a chain reaction, changing and rearranging your other habits. All in all, you can expect to get the highest return on your effort when you prioritize keystone habits.

Here are some ways you can integrate keystone habits in your life to bring you a high return on good health.

1. Follow a weekly exercise regimen

According to research, exercising on a regular basis is an excellent keystone habit because it triggers healthy eating, more productivity, and emotional regulation, and it reduces alcohol and caffeine consumption, smoking, and stress levels.

Furthermore, regular exercise can bring you a physical sense of accomplishment and help you sleep better.

2. Meditate for 10 minutes a day

Establishing a mindfulness or meditation practice as a keystone habit can help you cultivate self-awareness. People who practice mindfulness tend to be less stressed and are more likely to be productive.

Even if you only have 10 minutes to yourself, using that time to meditate can help you increase your awareness of your overall habits.

3. Wake up at 6 a.m.

It’s no secret early risers have cornered the market on positive habits and productivity. Those who start their days earlier have been shown to have more proactive mindsets and become more successful people overall.

If you can’t swing a 4 a.m. workout yet, try developing a keystone habit of waking up at 6 a.m. to journal or read a personal development book. From there, you may find yourself layering on other positive habits with which to begin your day.

4. Cut back on alcohol

Alcohol, when used in moderation, may feel good in the moment. But many people slip into the heavy usage category — for women, consuming eight or more alcoholic drinks per week; for men, 15 drinks or more per week — unknowingly.

Heavy alcohol use can lead to weight gain, difficulty focusing and sleeping, and other issues. In the long term, alcohol misuse can lead to heart disease, liver failure, and other health problems.

Creating a keystone habit of drinking less may inspire you to eat better, wake up earlier, quit smoking, or change other unhealthy habits. You’ll likely feel better as a result, too.

5. Stretch every morning

Taking time to get in tune with your body and how you’re feeling by stretching in the mornings can help you wake your body up and make you feel more alert. By becoming more alert, you can plant a seed for other healthy habits — maybe you won’t be as interested in scrolling social media, for instance, and will want to reach for a healthy breakfast or go for a run instead.

6. Drink one extra glass of water each day

Set a designated time each day to catch up on your hydration. Maybe before you open your laptop for the morning, for example, you can commit to drinking an extra glass of water first. Perhaps that habit will inspire you to stretch before every meeting throughout the day.

7. Get an extra 30 minutes of sleep

If you tend to hit snooze when your alarm goes off, create a keystone habit of going to bed 30 minutes earlier than you usually do. This habit can help you wake up feeling more rested and better prepared to take on the day.

8. Eat greens with every meal

Filling your plate with non-starchy veggies at every meal can help you feel fuller (while giving you a better nutritional bang for your buck). And when you feel fuller, you may find yourself overeating less and not gaining weight.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to building healthy habits, small decisions add up over time. But making drastic changes overnight rarely results in lasting changes. Instead, creating keystone habits can add up to a lifetime of sustainable change.

Looking for support in building better habits in 2024? Sign up for our annual Goals & Habits Workshop on January 4, 2024 at 6 PM EST. Gain clarity on your objectives, in a motivational and inspiring atmosphere, and stay committed to your goals.

Get actionable tips to help you energize and reprioritize self-care. Sign up for The Wellness Return newsletter today.

By providing your email address, you agree to receive email communication from Arootah

Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as professional medical, psychological, legal, investment, financial, accounting, or tax advice. Arootah does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability of its content for a particular purpose. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in our newsletter, blog or anywhere else on our website.

Tags:  Health
Notify of

What are your thoughts?

Leave a comment with your thoughts, questions, compliments, and frustrations. We love to socialize in a constructive, positive way.

Are You Human?

Please verify.
Validation complete 🙂
Validation failed 🙁

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments