The book, The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. Taking insights from new advances in neuroscience and understanding about behavior, Duhigg shows how habits shape our world, from how businesses are run to your own personal life. One part that stood out to us was that he identified exercise as a “keystone habit”.
Keystone habits are actions that lead to the development of multiple good habits. They start a chain effect in your life that produces a number of positive outcomes. In regards to regular exercise, Duhigg found that, ““Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.” So it pays more to work on a keystone habit, like exercise, with the idea that this habit will help you in other aspects of your life.
But, how many times have we told ourselves that we’ll start exercising more? Sometimes it feels like willpower is something you either have or you don’t have. Duhigg provides a framework where you don’t necessarily have to have willpower of steel if you take the time to design a habit loop that will lead to success (and yes, that can start with chocolate!) Duhigg provides a simple explanation of how to create the willpower to stick to the habits we want to create. In this TedX talk , hear Duhigg’s explanation and how you can start changing your habits today! For a more in depth look at changing habits, read the appendix of The Power of Habit, free right here: “A Guide to Changing Habits”