Keystone Habits: How I Stopped Procrastinating In 2020 And Actually Got Sh!t Done

If you’re anything like me, you have big plans for your life. Be it building a successful business, raising healthy kids, or flying to the moon.

And you know what, that’s great!

The problem with big plans though is they require equally big action taken on a very consistent basis.

…If you’re (also) anything like me, fighting the procrastination monster and taking the right daily actions can be frustratingly difficult.

Here’s how I stopped (not completely) procrastinating and finally got sh!t done.

My Big Plans

Since the year is 2020 and it’s such a beautifully round number, I decided to “go big or go home” with my goals this time around the sun.

My work goals for 2020 are three-fold. I want to:

  • Take on at least 3 new digital marketing consultation or done-for-you clients each month
  • Complete at least 2 real-estate transactions each month
  • Produce 365 pieces of written AND video content

Easy-peasy, right?

To do this, I know I will have to take consistent action. 2019 hadn’t been a banner year for me, so leading up to the turn of the decade I decided to read a book on habits to help me make 2020 the superman year I have in my mind.

After perusing Amazon for what seemed like an entire day, I chose an aptly named book called “Habits“, by Charles Duhigg, and “The Art of Taking Action“, by Gregg Kretch.

Isn’t it funny when you randomly choose a book to read, and it happens to say exactly what you need to hear at that point in your life?

Well, that’s what happened with these two books.

Both of the books had fantastic advice on becoming productive and beating the procrastination monster – so much so that I will actually recommend you pick them up yourself!

However, one concept in particular really had a noticable impact on my daily productivity, and that was the concept of keystone habits.

Enter Keystone Habits

In Habits, Charles Duhigg talks about this idea called a “keystone habit”.

A keystone habit is basically a habit that, once installed, paves the way for additional habits. Or, as Charles puts it…

“[Keystone habits are] small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives.”

You can think of it like a keystone in a builders arch. When whichever ancient civilization invented the arch, the last and most important stone was the keystone. The keystone supported the entire structure.

Much like a keystone in an arch, keystone habits support the growth of additional habits (i.e. positive changes) in your life.

Defining My Keystone Habit

Once I read about the concept of a keystone habit, it didn’t take a lot of convincing to implement it in my own life. It just made sense to me.

I mean, of course there are habits that provide the foundation for additional positive change in my life!

The next step was to identify which habits would provide that foundation for the rest of my life.

I’ve always been huge on building positive habits, so I already had a long list of habits I wanted to build into my life. I just needed to decide on one or two to act as the keystone.

So, I drew up a list of habits I’ve always wanted to do consistently, but have never really done day in and day out.

  1. Morning meditation
  2. Morning planning / visualization / affirmation
  3. Morning exercise
  4. Morning writing
  5. Daily reading of 30 pages
  6. Evening meditation
  7. Evening journaling

After reflecting on the list, I decided to focus on one keystone habit in the morning, and one in the evening.

Since I love the feeling of waking up and getting a workout in, I decided exercise would be my morning keystone habit.

For the evening, I decided on reviewing my goals and the tasks for the following day.

That was it! Those two habits became my two keystone habits.

So starting January 1, 2020 I began my “keystone resolution”.

The Experience & Results

As I write this post, it has only been 34 days since I began my keystone routine.

But, damn. Charles was right.

Granted, I slipped up once or twice throughout the month, but overall I’ve been able to hit every day focusing on just those two habits.

And as time went on, a funny thing started to happen.

I started picking up the other habits I had wanted to install, without really thinking about it!

I’m never going to be one to promise anything like “do this thing and all your life’s struggles will be solved”, but I can cofidently say that keystone habits work.

So, I challenge you to pickup a single keystone habit that you know will greatly enhance your life.

Once you do, I promise all your life’s struggles will be solved… kidding. But I do promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Want More?

If you’d like to pick up the books referenced in this post, you can get them at Amazon at the links below:

I’ll also add them to our Reading List here.

Oh and if you didn’t know, I run a digital marketing company and love helping business owners reach the next level of success with their digital marketing. If you’d like to see the digital marketing tools I recommend, check out our resources page here.

If you’d like to hire us to create a comprehensive digital marketing plan for your business, or to do digital marketing FOR you, reach out to us at www.getclientsquick.com.

To your success, fulfillment and happiness!

-Gabe

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