Follow a keystone habit and it causes a positive ripple effect that automatically leads to multiple productive behaviors or effects.

Reaching Your Goals Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

I have been working towards making 2021 a year of smarter behaviors.

It seems overwhelming to think about and plan to do the 20 things I know I should be doing.  Instead, I have been looking for single behaviors that positively affect all of the other behaviors.

I first started thinking about how I could apply this when I was preparing for a morning routine presentation I was giving at Dan Tudor’s Recruiting Conference a few summers ago.  I read something Tim Ferris, author of the 4 Hour Workweek, had said when asked about his morning routine.  He said he gets up, drinks tea, eats breakfast, goes for a walk and is just thinking the whole time.  What he is trying to do is find that one domino that is so powerful that it will wipe out all of the other ones or at least make the other ones irrelevant.  Love it.

Tim Ferris was referring to setting up better keystone habits.   

Keystone Habits Trigger a Powerful Chain Reaction

Keystone habit is a term coined by Charles Duhigg, the author of ‘The Power of Habit.’ Keystone habits differ from ordinary habits because, according to Charles Duhigg, they spark “chain reactions that help other good habits take place.”

In other words, follow a keystone habit and it causes a positive ripple effect that automatically leads to multiple productive behaviors or effects. Our behavior is interconnected, so when you change one behavior, other behaviors also shift. That’s the whole idea behind keystone habits.

The power of keystone habits is that you don’t have to change dozens of habits to get to your goals. You also don’t have to change every little behavior to change your life. Instead, master just a handful of keystone habits and let the automatic ripple effect take care of the rest.

Who said it had to be complicated?  The key is to figure out what that keystone is for you.  Today, I am going to share one of mine.

Keystone Habit: Exercise

Exercise is one of the most powerful keystone habits. Research has shown that regular exercise (roughly 3x per week) leads to healthier eating habits, better sleep, increased emotional control, less stress, better mood, and increased productivity at work.

Besides, the same study showed that those who regularly exercised tended to smoke less, drink less alcohol, and consume less caffeine compared to before participating in the study. This is why exercise is such a powerful keystone habit. It causes a huge ripple effect over your entire life:

Exercise → better sleep → increased productivity → better mood

Exercise → healthier eating habits → more energy → increased productivity

Exercise → better mood → less stress → emotional control

Personally, I’m a big fan of working out.  I didn’t really notice a difference in my other behaviors when I went to the gym 2x.  I noticed the power of keystone habits really kicked in for me when I started working out 4x a week at the gym I go to.  I started to feel more energized, I was in a better mood, I stuck to a healthier diet, I sleep better, I seem to be able to focus for longer periods of time, and I am much better at staying disciplined to do the harder work that I have to do instead of procrastinating on it. That’s a whole lot of positive effects and automatic behaviors that come from just one habit.

Plus, it is about a 25 minute drive to the gym so I either have the radio off to think, or I am listening to a productivity podcast which helps me create better content for you all.  It’s a win-win if you ask me. 

Sleep, daily planning, and mediation have also become keystone habits for me. 

What Keystone habits do you have?  I’d love to hear what yours are.  Please email me @ 

 Do It

Remember, knowledge is only potential power. If you want to make a real change in your coaching or personal life, you need to take action on what you’ve learned.  Pick a keystone habit and implement it — it will cause an unstoppable positive ripple effect in all areas of your life.

If you would like to talk this concept over with me, email me at and we can set up a call.  

Success loves simplicity and speed, 

Mandy Green

I created a Free College Coach Master To-Do List resource to help you get more PRODUCTIVE and BETTER ORGANIZED.