Illustration by Ashley Siebels
Your personality is the conglomerate of your habits because your habits shape you into who you are.
Thus, to transform your personality, you need keystone habits – the habits that beget the creation of more good habits without much effort.
“Keystone habits are habits that have a multiplier or a domino effect in your life.” — Brian Tracy
How do keystone habits provide this domino effect? By providing more good habits without friction.
Usually, developing a new habit is a hurdle with a doubtful outcome. You need to pay attention to your new behavior, cultivate it, track it, you fail, and you get frustrated… A keystone habit eliminates 90% of this cycle
You simply feel like trying something new and you do it without much conscious effort.
There are two keystone habits known to science. They were enumerated in the book “The Power of Habit:”
The power of exercise is not solely in better health, performance and energy levels. I say these things are just by-products of exercising.
Six years after going back to my pushups I finally decided to get serious about my weight. I changed my diet. I lost several pounds.
My years-long exercise discipline taught me the value of perseverance on a truly gut level. When I read The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, the book that argues that perseverance is a foundation of any results and can catapult you to a great level of success, the message immediately clicked in my head.
Despite the fact I hadn’t pursued any personal development for 16 years, I decided to try Jeff’s approach.
The rest is history. I found my purpose, my reasons to live. I developed dozens of good habits. I rebuilt my life.
2. Healthy Eating.
Scientists are trying to find the perfect diet to fight off those diseases by eliminating different kinds of food: sugar; fat; dairy, etc. They generally overlook, however, the fact that there are societies that are free from those diseases and yet still consume a lot of sugar, fats, dairy, and meat. But those societies consume these in their natural form, not processed.
A straightforward conclusion can be drawn here: you can eat a reasonable amount of dairy products or high-fat foods, which in themselves give nutrition, but not processed foods containing these nutritious elements. When we eat processed food, we’re consuming the results of an artificial food production process, which is more difficult for our bodies to absorb.
I know people on Paleo diet and on vegan diets who thrive. There is no single diet appropriate for all. People vary on anatomic levels. Japanese cannot eat the exact same things European eats.
Eat as much of natural foods as you can. The simple rule of thumb to discern between natural and processed food is: was this food you are going to eat living somewhere a few days ago? You know, apples grow on trees, pizzas don’t.
The third habit has the power to transform your personality as well.
In this podcast episode, Shawn Achor, the author of “Happiness Advantage” tells about an astounding experiment. A 4-year kid with a pessimism gene was being asked for one month each morning about three new things he was grateful for. It made him a hardcore optimist for the rest of his life.
Wow! Now brace yourself, they did the same with an 84-year-old guy who had the same gene. The same thing happened.
Gratitude is a powerful force. Practicing it just a few minutes a day can rewire your brain.
I didn’t do genetic tests on me, but I suspect I have this gene too. Before reading ‘The Slight Edge’, I was a gloomy guy. After listening to ‘The Compound Effect’ by Darren Hardy, I started a gratitude diary about my wife. I wrote down just one to three things every day describing what I admired in her, what had she done for the family that day or even how pretty she is.
A habit of gratitude is the easiest on Earth to cultivate. Little I had thought about that journal. It was such a tiny thing, but it started a gratitude avalanche in my life. Today I keep three gratitude diaries – one about my wife, one about my kids and one “general purpose” diary. Each day I jot down from 15 to as many entries as I can fit into a page.
You can become a gratitude fountain in no time and reprogram your brain to positivity. Each morning write three new things you are grateful for.
and self-published author writing about how to ‘expand beyond your limits’ so you can regain control over your life (based on my personal experience).