“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
- Henry Ford
What are key habits anyways??
A key habit is any activity or task that you do regularly that has a trickle effect into other areas of your life. Everyone is going to have different key habits, and once you figure out what yours are you can hack your day and basically be the happiest, most productive version of yourself.
For me, waking up early is a key habit. If I get up early, I get a head start on the day, working out is easier, I get more work done in less time and feel more prepared for the day. A key habit is anything that when done on a regular basis makes everything else in your life that much easier.
There are also negative key habits which are activities or tasks that will negatively effect other aspects of your life.
It may take some time to figure out what the key habits are in your life, but once you do, you will be able to replicate those activities to get your best results.
For example, exercise is a key habit for me, If I work out, I tend to eat better, sleep better and be more productive at work. There are days when I don't work out and I still eat healthy foods and get all my work done, but it is that much easier if I’ve done a workout. It's not often that I'll finish a work out and then go eat a bunch of junk food. I want to fuel my body with good food and therefore make my exercise worthwhile. For you it might be the other way around: if you eat well, you want to do a workout. Every person is going to have different systems, but it's all about finding out what works for you and what actions have a chain reaction that lead to more positive effects in your life.
You may recognize negative key habits as well that make your life more difficult in all areas. An example of this could be drinking alcohol. On weekends where I've went out with friends, had some drinks and probably stayed up later than I normally would, it impacts my next day negatively and affects every area of my life as a result. I might sleep in and maybe have a bit of a hangover and I might also crave some greasy breakfast food. All of these things contribute to lower energy levels, which leads to me skipping my workout and saying "F%#K it" I'm just going to watch Netflix all day instead. I have lived this day and you probably have too, and there's nothing wrong with a day like that every once in a while. I love bacon and hash browns and sometimes I just don't want to do a workout, but if this becomes something I do consistently, then over time its going to effect the rest of my life negatively.
The best way to find out your key habits is to experiment. Ask yourself what activities make your life easier and which ones are causing road blocks. This can be difficult as habits are inherently hard to change. You might find that by adding one new habit, such as a work out routine or removing a bad habit like smoking or drinking that it completely changes the way you show up in every other area of your life.
Make a small commitment to yourself that you'll try something new for a month just to see how you feel afterwards and if you don't feel better you can always go back to the way you're living now. Track the habit you're trying to change and record the difference in how you feel. That way you'll be able to look back and compare how you felt then to how you feel now and will really know if the habit is working for you. By creating habits that give us more energy, and make us feel healthier, we can be more effective at work, show up better in our relationships and generally live a happier life. And I know I'm not alone when I say that makes it worthwhile.