Changing your habits can transform your life, but that transformation involves more than just the creation of new positive habits. It’s equally important that you eliminate negative habits that no longer serve you.
This process all begins with keystone habits.
Keystone habits are positive or negative habits that lead to other habits. Essentially, keystone habits make up the soil from which your other habits grow.
For example, a positive keystone habit could be exercising daily, which could lead to other positive habits, such as building better sleep habits and taking steps to be more productive at work.
Negative keystone habits work in the same way. For instance, an individual who has a bad keystone habit of drinking too much, may engage in other negative habits as a result of drinking, such as binge eating and/or going to bed too late.
So, how can you eradicate negative keystone habits that could be wreaking havoc on your overall health, well-being, productivity, relationships, and other areas in your life? Read on to learn the 22-step process Arootah uses to overcome negative keystone habits and achieve success.
22 Steps to Eliminating Keystone Habits
1. Identify your habit
The first step to eliminating any habit is to identify it. To identify negative keystone habits, look for bad habits that trigger other not-so-great behaviors.
2. Be clear about your goal
Once you have identified the habit you want to eliminate from your life, be clear about your goal for doing so. Get as specific as possible during this step of the process. The more specific you are, the more likely it is that you’ll achieve your goal.
3. Define your purpose.
You must have a purpose behind every goal you set for yourself. Ask yourself why you want to eradicate this keystone habit and keep this reasoning top of mind. Your purpose will serve to inspire you as you work to achieve your goal.
4. Set measurable criteria
How will you measure your success? Make sure you have a clear definition for this, too. For example, if you want to cut back on drinking, you might establish a limit of five drinks per week as a criterion for success.
5. Think about the how
Once you have a clear goal in mind, and you understand your why behind achieving it, think about the how. How will you use the resources at your disposal to achieve the goal you have in mind?
6. Get accountable
What’s going to keep you accountable to this goal? Are you using a scorecard, a life coach, or a habit-tracking app? Have that accountability measure in place before you start.
7. Identify areas of leverage
What will you use as leverage to further motivate yourself to stick to your goal of breaking your negative keystone habit? Decide on a reward for yourself in the event you achieve your goal or a punishment for yourself if you don’t.
8. Create a support system
Beyond a coach or app to keep you accountable, it’s important to have a support system in place. Can friends, family members, or support groups provide that safe place of support that you need to achieve your goals?
9. Pinpoint small steps toward progress
While you might not be able to achieve your entire goal in a short amount of time, you can achieve a lot of smaller goals in the meantime. Identify how you could break your goal into manageable, actionable steps that will take you in the right direction.
10. Identify your triggers
While your keystone habits trigger other habits, some aspects of life can trigger keystone habits as well. For example, if your negative keystone habit is drinking when you’re stressed, identify your stressors and remove those triggers, wherever possible.
11. Point out limiting beliefs
In addition to triggers, identify the limiting beliefs you hold that prevent you from achieving your goal? Do you think that you can’t achieve your goal because you’re too old, too tired, or too inexperienced? Identify those beliefs and their origins in your life.
Get practical strategies you can apply for personal and professional growth. Sign up for The Weekly Return newsletter today.By providing your email address, you agree to receive email communication from Arootah
12. Replace limiting beliefs with empowering beliefs
After you’ve identified those limiting beliefs, remove them from your life by replacing them with empowering beliefs. For instance, if you believe you’re too old to accomplish something, think of a person who has accomplished great things at an older age and keep that front of mind.
13. Establish rewards
Is your subconscious reaping a “reward” from your bad habit? If so, find a way to give it that reward another way. For example, if your bad habit is staying up too late so that you can read or watch shows, find another time that you can do those activities without also engaging in self-destructive behavior.
14. Find sources of inspiration
Everyone has different sources of inspiration. Find yours and use that source of inspiration regularly.
15. Interview your future self
Imagine asking your future self about your life months or years down the road. In one version of this exercise, assume you’ve achieved your goal, and in another version, pretend you’ve failed at your goal. How would your future self describe your life differently based on your success or lack thereof?
16. Schedule actions and reminders
If you already have a set schedule, incorporate your new habits into that existing schedule. If your goal is to walk more, pencil in a morning walk at 7 a.m. every day, before you start work, and an evening walk at 8 p.m. every day, after dinner.
17. Measure your progress
Actively measure your progress in meeting your goal, daily. Schedule this in, too. Perhaps you can evaluate your progress by reflecting every morning on whether you met your goal the previous day.
18. Remember the power of momentum
As you gain momentum and see yourself succeeding, keep it up. The closer you can get to your goal, the more likely you’ll continue to work toward it.
19. Plan to set yourself up for success
What plans can you make ahead of time to ensure you succeed? Do you need to remove certain stressors or distractions from your environment? Do you need to make schedule changes to support your new life changes? Establish what you need to do to ensure you follow through and succeed.
20. Do a post-situation analysis
If you do fail, take the time to analyze your failure and what you can learn from it (to better avoid a potential failure down the line). What were your biggest obstacles? What can you change next time around to ensure success?
21. Get back on track
Just because you fell off the horse, doesn’t mean you have to stay on the ground. Once you’ve analyzed your situation, get back on track right away rather than procrastinating. The sooner you try again, the better.
22. Make a pause plan
And, lastly, make a plan to pause as needed to think about why you are tempted to fall back on negative keystone habits. It’s easier to beat your temptations if you pause to think before you act and consider what you stand to gain and lose by staying on or veering off course.
The Bottom Line
While many people may initially feel intimidated by a 22-step plan, Arootah clients who have committed to the process repeatedly accomplish their goals. By following this comprehensive process, you’ll be well on your way to successfully eliminating your negative keystone habits.
If you’re looking for a tool to track your habits and establish positive ones, Arootah’s Habit Accountability Tracker is a great resource. This free habit tracking tool allows you to focus on the most important habits, track your progress, and celebrate small victories that add up to long-term positive transformation.
If you need additional support in breaking bad habits and staying on track, our Arootah coaches are here to provide the guidance you need throughout your journey to success.