How to find the best keystone habits to change your life

Have you ever noticed how some habits tend to “spill over” and affect other behaviors? In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg refer to these behaviors as “keystone habits.”

For example, sleep is a huge keystone habit of mine. Whenever I get good sleep, a bunch of positive knock-on effects follow. I’m way more productive, I choose healthier foods, I work out more, and I enjoy life more in general.

Much like a keystone at the top of an arch holds the other stones in place, sleep is the keystone habit that holds the rest of my life in place:

How to find the best keystone habits to change your life

The Power of Keystone Habits

If I just make sure to get good sleep, I don’t have to force myself to get things done, I don’t have to think about eating better, and I don’t have to drag myself to the gym. All of those things will take care of themselves.

That’s a very valuable insight, and it’s why I always recommend starting any behavior change endeavour with identifying your keystone habits. In the words of Charles Duhigg:

“Where should a would-be habit master start? Understanding keystone habits holds the answer to that question: The habits that matter most are the ones that, when they start to shift, dislodge and remake other patterns.” 1

Unfortunately, not all keystone habits are beneficial. Just like a good habit can influence other behaviors in a positive way, a bad habit can influence other behaviors in a negative way.

For example, I often feel the urge to open my email first thing in the morning. And whenever I do that, a slew of negative knock-on effects follow. It shatters my focus, ruins my morning writing session, and creates a lot of unnecessary stress as I play catch-up for the rest of the day.

What Are Your Keystone Habits?

If you put a good keystone habit in place, it will support other good habits. If you knock a bad keystone habit out of place, other bad habits will come crashing down with it.

So, whenever you’re trying to change your behavior, begin by identifying your keystone habits. Ask yourself what behaviors has had the most positive and negative ripple effects on your life in the past.

Work on those habits first, and everything else will follow as a natural side effect.

Do you want to master your habits? Get my book The Habit Blueprint.

Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time.

He has won 28 medals in multiple swim categories and still holds several world records even though he has retired. His 80-inch wingspan and flexible ankles make him naturally predisposed to swimming — perhaps even more so than walking on land.

The talent is undeniable.

But the less-told story is how his life has been built on a few habits that were intentionally inculcated into him. His swimming coach, Bob Bowman, knew Phelps could be great, but to become a champion, he needed habits that would make him the strongest mental swimmer in the pool.

Fast forward to the 2008 Olympics and Bowman was proven right. Phelps would be the first person to win eight medals in a single Olympics. When asked about how Phelps prepared, Bowman had this to say:

“If you were to ask Michael what’s going on in his head before competition, he would say he’s not really thinking about anything. He’s just following the program. But that’s not right. It’s more like his habits have taken over. The stretches went like he planned. The warm-up laps were just like he visualised. His headphones are playing exactly what he expected.

What most people viewed as tedious, Bowman saw as vital and indispensable. He goes on to explain:

“The actual race is just another step in a pattern that started earlier that day and has been nothing but victories. Winning is a natural extension.”

The Power Of Keystone Habits

Habits make actions and outcome predictable. When the body is on autopilot, you can perform regardless of the environment you’re put in. That certainly matters if you’re Phelps or competing at the highest level.

Phelps had many habits which he incorporated into routines. He would visualise the perfect race — each stroke, turn, and finish — before and after going to bed. His stretching regime would start at the arms and end at the ankles. He knew exactly how long his warm-up before each race would take.

It sounds like a lot of work. But these habits weren’t developed one by one. It turns out that some habits compound, which makes the acquisition of other good habits easier.

These are what Charles Duhigg calls keystone habits in The Power Of Habit. Unlike normal habits, keystone habits create positive effects that spill over into other areas. They start a chain reaction which shifts other patterns. Over time, this transforms everything.

What Keystone Habits Look Like

I’ve seen keystone habits in action. More specifically, I’ve seen how a single habit has led to a set of behaviours in myself.

A few months ago, I started to track my food to know how much calories I was consuming. Not too long later, I started exercising. I then started to reduce my intake of carbohydrates. That meant that I ordered takeout less and had to prepare my own meals.

Looking back, it seems a little absurd how the small act of keying my food into the MyFitnessPal app could start off such a reaction. But the thought process was simple.

Tracking my food made me aware of how many calories I was consuming. To balance the net calories consumed, I started to go for runs and then the gym. It made further sense to complement my efforts by optimising my diet and eating healthier food. Because low-carb options are scarce where I live, I had to prepare my own meals.

What began as a small act of curiosity quickly snowballed into a series of habits that made me healthier. One small change made me feel better and more energetic.

Granted, some days I don’t stick with these habits. But focusing on tracking my own food — a keystone habit — led to several other changes in my life without much effort on my part.

Building Your Keystone Habit

You don’t have to choose from a limited set of actions to build a keystone habit. As it turns out, it’s not the exact act that causes the chain reaction, but rather the intent behind the act. As Duhigg writes:

“The power of a keystone habit draws from its ability to change your self image. Basically, anything can become a keystone habit if it has this power to make you see yourself in a different way.”

The range of habits is limitless. Acts which are seemingly unconnected can breed unexpected benefits. Take the following for example:

Wake up early. You get an extra hour or two of uninterrupted time which you can use to pursue activities you’re interested in. This could mean more time reading or pursuing your passion project. Mastering something which most find difficult might also give you increased confidence and an expanded sense of possibility.

Make your bed. It sounds ridiculous, but for some this simple act could be a small win that gives one discipline and a sense of control. It’s something that Admiral William McRaven had to do when he was a Navy SEAL and found so important that he titled his book Make Your Bed.

Meditate. Numerous benefits have been reported, including reduction of anxiety, improved self-awareness, and greater emotional stability. The peace of mind and calm it evokes can also help in decision making.

Don’t confine yourself to specific behaviours.

I’m a night owl who gets up early only when I must. My bed is usually in a mess. I haven’t tried meditating. These are activities that I don’t particularly enjoy, and will likely take a longer time to become a habit. The point is this: start with something that you will enjoy and work from there.

The Takeaway

Not all habits are equal. It’s better to focus on building keystone habits when you’re first starting out.

New habits are always hard to stick to. There will be times where you’ll be frustrated by your lack of progress. But you only need to succeed once in developing a keystone habit, and the others will follow.

The habits you develop will help you get where you want. Success will become a natural extension.

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How to find the best keystone habits to change your life

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There are certain habits and routines that make success easier, regardless of the circumstances you face.

In fact, you may already practice some of these habits, even though you are unaware of it right now.

But most importantly, if you understand how to harness these habits, then you can drastically improve your health, your work, and your relationships … and start living the life you deserve.

The Keystone Habit

In Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit, he discusses the idea of keystone habits.

We have habits everywhere in our lives, but certain routines — keystone habits — lead to a cascade of other actions because of them.

A few months ago, I started to notice a funny thing.

When I worked out, I wanted to eat better. Even though I could have rewarded myself with chocolate bars and ice cream, I felt like eating real, healthy foods.

I also slept better. And when I was awake, I seemed more productive. Especially in the hour or two after working out, when my mind seemed to think clearer and my writing was crisper. Thoughts flowed easily.

When I didn’t exercise, however, I was more prone to eating junk food. I would stay up later working on unimportant tasks. I started to feel tension in my back. I didn’t check it, but my guess is that my blood pressure raised as a result of additional stress and no place to release it.

In other words, fitness is the keystone habit the puts the rest of my life in place. When I workout, other things naturally fall into place. I don’t have to think about eating better. I don’t have to force myself to focus on getting things done. Exercise naturally pushes me towards my best self.

What Are Your Keystone Habits?

I’m not always on top of my game, but on the days that I work out everything seems to come a little bit easier. And I’ll take all the help I can get as I continue my quest to become better.

Imagine how much easier and more fulfilling your lifestyle could be if you discovered one or two keystone habits that naturally put the rest of your life in place.

So often, we struggle to live the way we want to simply because we don’t have the willpower to make different decisions. Whether it’s having the discipline to eat healthy or the courage to take a risk or the energy to volunteer more often or the drive to perform better at work, we delay these choices — even though we know they are important — simply because we don’t have the willpower to make something new happen today.

Improving your lifestyle and becoming the type of person who “has their act together” isn’t nearly as hard as you might think. In fact, you might need just one keystone habit before the dominoes start falling everywhere.

What are you doing when everything falls into place? What is your keystone habit?

Find it and do more of it.

P.S. If you want more practical ideas for how to build new habits (and break bad ones), check out my book Atomic Habits, which will show you how small changes in habits can lead to remarkable results.

Thanks for reading. You can get more actionable ideas in my popular email newsletter. Each week, I share 3 short ideas from me, 2 quotes from others, and 1 question to think about. Over 1,000,000 people subscribe. Enter your email now and join us.

Before we get into the guide, I want to recommend the most comprehensive guide on how to change your habits and get 1% better every day: My new book Atomic Habits.

Packed with evidence-based self-improvement strategies, Atomic Habits will teach you how to make the small changes that will transform your habits and deliver remarkable results.

How to find the best keystone habits to change your life

Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits—whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, and achieve success that lasts.

Want to get Chapter 1 of Atomic Habits for free? Just enter your email address below.

Let’s get to the habits guide…

What Are Habits?

Let’s define habits. Habits are the small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day.

Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits. How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits. How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.

What you repeatedly do (i.e. what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray. Everything I write about – from procrastination and productivity to strength and nutrition – starts with better habits. When you learn to transform your habits, you can transform your life.

This page includes recommended resources on forming better habits and breaking bad ones in any area of life, but if you’d like to explore information on specific types of habits, check out these articles:

3 Ways to Form Better Habits

  1. How to Build a New Habit: This is Your Strategy Guide: Read this guide right now to learn 5 easy, powerful strategies for changing habits.
  2. The 3 R’s of Habit Change: How To Start New Habits That Actually Stick: Every habit you have — good or bad — follows the same 3–step pattern: Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior), routine (the behavior itself; the action you take), and reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior). This helpful framework can make it easier to stick to new habits so that you can improve your health, your work, and your life in general.
  3. Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year: Most of the time we set our goals in the wrong way. Read this article to learn how identity-based habits can help you achieve your goals more easily.

3 Ways to Break Bad Habits

  1. How to Break a Bad Habit and Replace It With a Good One: Want to learn how to break a bad habit? Read this article to discover the science of breaking bad habits and practical suggestions for making it happen.
  2. How Vietnam War Veterans Broke Their Heroin Addictions: By simply removing yourself from an environment that triggers all of your old habits, you can make it easier to break bad habits and build new ones.
  3. How to Declutter Your Mind and Unleash Your Willpower by Using “Bright-Line” Rules: A bright-line rule refers to a clearly defined rule or standard. It is a rule with clear interpretation and very little wiggle room. It establishes a bright line for what the rule is saying and what it is not saying. Most of us could benefit from setting brighter lines in our personal and professional lives.

How to Make a Habit Stick

  • How to Stick to Your Goals When Life Gets Crazy: Having a bad day is just one of the tiny emergencies that prevents most people from sticking to their goals and habits. It doesn’t have to be that way, though.
  • How to Stick With Good Habits Every Day by Using the “Paper Clip Strategy”: Why do some good habits stick while others fail? Read this article about a strategy you use to stick with good habits every day.

How to Build Habits That Last and Design Life as You Want It

Want to learn everything you need to build better habits and break bad ones? I recommend the Habits Academy.

The Habits Academy is the world’s most comprehensive course on habits and the science of human behavior. More than 5,000 students have taken the course. Over 40 video lessons are available to Habits Academy students.

Best Habits Books

  • Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  • Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
  • Hooked by Nir Eyal
  • The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

Want more great books on psychology and self-help? Browse my full list of the best psychology books and best self-help books.

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 6s.

How to find the best keystone habits to change your life

One of my favorite ideas from Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit is the idea of a “keystone habit”. Keystone habits create a chain reaction; changing and rearranging your other habits as you integrate the habit into your life. According to Duhigg, “[k]eystone habits influence how we work, eat, play, live, spend, and communicate”, and they “start a process that, over time, transforms everything.”

How can you identify the keystone habits in your life? In a guest post for Lifehacker , Duhigg named three characteristics of keystone habits that you should look out for:

1. Keystone habits give you “numerous, small senses of victory”. Look out for habits and routines that provide you with a pattern of small wins. According to Duhigg, “small wins have enormous power, an influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves”, and these are “places where momentum can start to build”. Small wins “fuel transformative changes by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that convince [you] that bigger achievements are within reach”.

2. Keystone habits are “the soil from which other habits [grow]”. Keystone habits aren’t just a new habit, like drinking water right after you wake up ; they’re a platform off of which other habits can grow. For example, I work out every morning at 6 am. This started as a new habit, but over time my morning workout has spawned other productive habits, like drinking a pre-workout drink, eating an apple before the gym, stretching in the morning, and preparing a protein shake and a healthy breakfast afterwards. I’ve even recently started to define my three outcomes for the day while I’m on the treadmill in the morning.

3. Keystone habits give you energy and confidence to do more. I’m paraphrasing what Duhigg here, because the third characteristic of a keystone habit is a bit more nuanced. Duhigg recommends that you be mindful of “moments when excellence—or change, or perseverance, or some other virtue—seems to become contagious. Keystone habits are powerful because they change our sense of self and our sense of what is possible”. Keystone habits don’t simply stop providing you with energy and motivation after you finish up with your routine; they provide you with an infectious drive to be better and get done long after you’re done.

Keystone habits have the power to rewire how you work, play, live, spend money, and communicate. Identifying which ones you have can set off a chain reaction that will make you much more productive, automatically.

Which keystone habits do you have? Which ones have you had in the past?

Did you know that one of the easiest ways to change your behavior is to simply measure it?

Research shows that merely asking people to track what they do immediately and significantly improves their performance in that area.

For example, studies have shown that people who track their steps with a pedometer increase their physical activity by 27%. 1

What gets measured, gets improved.

And in this article, I’d like to share my favorite tool for taking advantage of that.

The Habit Calendar

A habit calendar is exactly what it sounds like — a calendar for tracking your habits:

How to find the best keystone habits to change your life

Here’s how it works:

  1. Write down the habits you want to track in the top row.
  2. Check off each habit as you complete them every day.
  3. Celebrate each small success. You rock! 🙂

Why it Works

There are five primary reasons why the habit calendar is such a powerful tool for behavior change:

  1. It creates triggers — No more forgetting about your habits. Each time you look at the calendar, you’ll know exactly what to do next.
  2. It saves energy — Instead of deciding what to do in each moment, you just follow you’ve already laid out. That way, you avoid decision fatigue. 2
  3. It offers rewards — Each time you check off a habit on your calendar, you’ll get a sense of accomplishment. That positive feeling will help reinforce the behavior.
  4. It leverages “sunk costs” — The more you invest in something, the harder it becomes to abandon it. 3 So, the longer each streak in your habit calendar becomes, the more you’ll exert yourself to keep them going.
  5. It provides feedback — Every day you use your calendar, you’ll collect data. That data can then be used to improve your performance in the future.

I hope you find those benefits compelling. If so, let’s have a look at how you can set up an effective habit calendar in five steps:

1. Choose Your Habits

You might wonder what habits to put on your calendar.

If you’re a long-time reader of my articles, it’ll come as no surprise that I recommend focusing on your fundamentals.

Ask yourself what core behaviors typically makes the foundation for your best days.

In other words; what keystone habits make you feel great and perform at your very best?

These are the daily disciplines you want in your habit calendar.

2. Make it Simple

According to behavior expert BJ Fogg, there is a tradeoff relationship between your motivation for, and the simplicity of, a habit. 4

If your motivation is high, you can get yourself to do difficult things. But if your motivation is low, you can only get yourself to do simple things.

And since motivation tends to come and go, it’s usually better to focus on the simplicity aspect instead.

How? By making your daily habits so simple you’d feel silly not to do them.

That way, you’ll get them done no matter what your motivation level happens to be on a given day.

Focus on getting checkmarks into your habit calendar, and you’ll find that your simple habits will naturally grow over time.

3. Set Your Daily Minimums

Once you’ve decided what (simple!) habits to track, you need to quantify the amount of effort you’re required to do to check off each habit.

For example: How many minutes will you meditate? How far will you run? How many pages will you read?

You want unambiguous targets, so you don’t have to waste time every day deciding if you achieved them or not.

So, make sure your daily targets are specific and measurable.

4. Establish Your Rules

It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to stick with all your habits every day.

Sometimes, you’ll want to take a break, and sometimes you’ll get sick.

On these occasions, I recommend putting down letters on your calendar.

For example, if you are on vacation, you can write a V on that day. If you’re sick, you can put down an S.

Set clear rules for special occasions when you’ll permit yourself to skip your habits.

That way, you’ll be able to keep your streaks going when you have legit reasons to miss a certain number of days.

5. Design Your Environment

If we have cookies on the table, we’re likely to eat them. If we have a remote control on the living room table, we’re likely to turn on the TV. And if we sleep with our phone next to our bed, we’re likely to pick it up first thing in the morning.

In many ways, we shape our environment, and then our environment shapes us.

So, make sure your surroundings support the habits on your calendar.

Make them as easy as possible to do, and competing behaviors as hard as possible to do.

That way, your environment will continuously nudge you in the right direction.

Final Tips

Lastly, I have a few more suggestions I want to share:

  • Affirm each small win — Every time you check off a habit, tell yourself: “That’s like me!” That simple mantra will help boost your self-image and improve your performance over time. 5
  • Be kind to yourself — When you slip up on your habits, that doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you human. So, treat yourself with compassion, and practice getting back on track quickly.
  • Do a weekly review — Schedule 15 minutes every Sunday to celebrate your wins and analyze your streaks. Use this time to tweak your habits, so you’ll be likelier to succeed next week.

Quick Summary

You can download a free habit calendar here. Then follow these steps to get started:

  1. Choose your habits. Put your keystone habits in the top row.
  2. Make it simple. Aim for habits that are so simple you’d feel silly not to do them.
  3. Set your daily minimums. Quantify each habit, so you know exactly when to check them off.
  4. Establish your rules. Decide the particular circumstances when you’re allowed to skip your habits.
  5. Design your environment. Make your habits as easy as possible to do, and competing behaviors as hard as possible to do.

Thanks for reading, and have fun with your habit calendar!

Footnotes

  1. Pedometers help people count steps to get healthy
  2. Decision fatigue
  3. Loss aversion and the sunk cost fallacy
  4. BJ Fogg’s Behavior Model
  5. With Winning in Mind: The Mental Management System: An Olympic Champion’s Success System by Lanny Bassham

Hat tip to Sarah Moore for creating the habit calendar in this article!

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 6s.

How to find the best keystone habits to change your life

One of my favorite ideas from Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit is the idea of a “keystone habit”. Keystone habits create a chain reaction; changing and rearranging your other habits as you integrate the habit into your life. According to Duhigg, “[k]eystone habits influence how we work, eat, play, live, spend, and communicate”, and they “start a process that, over time, transforms everything.”

How can you identify the keystone habits in your life? In a guest post for Lifehacker , Duhigg named three characteristics of keystone habits that you should look out for:

1. Keystone habits give you “numerous, small senses of victory”. Look out for habits and routines that provide you with a pattern of small wins. According to Duhigg, “small wins have enormous power, an influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves”, and these are “places where momentum can start to build”. Small wins “fuel transformative changes by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that convince [you] that bigger achievements are within reach”.

2. Keystone habits are “the soil from which other habits [grow]”. Keystone habits aren’t just a new habit, like drinking water right after you wake up ; they’re a platform off of which other habits can grow. For example, I work out every morning at 6 am. This started as a new habit, but over time my morning workout has spawned other productive habits, like drinking a pre-workout drink, eating an apple before the gym, stretching in the morning, and preparing a protein shake and a healthy breakfast afterwards. I’ve even recently started to define my three outcomes for the day while I’m on the treadmill in the morning.

3. Keystone habits give you energy and confidence to do more. I’m paraphrasing what Duhigg here, because the third characteristic of a keystone habit is a bit more nuanced. Duhigg recommends that you be mindful of “moments when excellence—or change, or perseverance, or some other virtue—seems to become contagious. Keystone habits are powerful because they change our sense of self and our sense of what is possible”. Keystone habits don’t simply stop providing you with energy and motivation after you finish up with your routine; they provide you with an infectious drive to be better and get done long after you’re done.

Keystone habits have the power to rewire how you work, play, live, spend money, and communicate. Identifying which ones you have can set off a chain reaction that will make you much more productive, automatically.

Which keystone habits do you have? Which ones have you had in the past?

How to find the best keystone habits to change your lifeOn a daily basis, habit drives us to do what we do—whether it’s a pattern of thoughts or behavior that occurs automatically. But what if we could harness the power of our habits for the better? Imagine a life where you have a habit of completing projects, eating well, keeping in touch with family and friends, and working to your fullest potential. When you have a foundation of good habits, you’re setting yourself up for a full, healthy, and successful life.

I’ve used these principles to establish the lifestyle I have now—as a fitness expert, author, public speaker, owner of a fitness studio and a fitness lifestyle company, and as a wife and mother. If I hadn’t established positive habits, I couldn’t do half of these things, at least not with my sanity intact! Here are 7 steps to changing your habits that will, in turn, change your entire life.

1. Identify your Keystone Habit, and focus on it.

In one of my favorite books, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg outlines the importance of identifying your Keystone Habit—the habit you identify as the most important thing you can change about your life. To find out what that is for you, ask yourself, what constantly gnaws at you? Is it something you do that you want to stop, or something you don’t do and want to start? The keystone habit is different for everyone, and it may take a few sessions of deep thinking to pinpoint exactly what that habit is. Whichever habit you’re working on, pick one at a time. More than one at a time will be overwhelming and will increase your likelihood of failing to improve any habits. But don’t believe you can only change one thing about yourself; it’s actually the opposite. Working on this one Keystone Habit can have a positive ripple effect into the rest of your life as well.

2. Identify your current routine and the reward you get from it.

Let’s say you want to build a habit of getting to the office a half hour early each day. You want to do this because you think the extra quiet time in the morning will help you to be more productive, and that productivity will be rewarded by an increased sense of job satisfaction, and an overall better work environment. Currently, you get to the office just on time. Your current routine is to leave your house in a rush, at the exact time you’ve calculated that (without traffic or incident) will get you to work on time. Your reward is spending some extra time at your house in the morning, spending an extra half hour sleeping or “charging your batteries” for the day ahead.

3. Consider the challenges.

Challenges are often cues that push you to fall back into old habits. In the example of getting to work earlier, your challenges may lie in your sleep patterns the night before, or in coordinating schedules with a partner. These challenges will not magically disappear so you need to take them into account. But don’t let the presence of challenges, or worry that new challenges will come up in the future, deter you from establishing your new habits. If your challenges include coordinating with other people, make them a part of your new routine, as I’ll explain later. Right now, simply identify what the challenges or obstacles are.

4. Plan your new routine and pinpoint the reward.

Old habits never disappear; they are simply replaced with new habits. In the example of getting to the office earlier, the new routine involves leaving the house a half hour earlier. If the old habit was rewarded with the thought that you’ll have more energy for the day by staying in your house longer, the new habit needs to focus around the idea that more rest doesn’t necessarily mean more energy. In other words, you’ll want to address what you think you’ll be giving up by replacing the old habit.

5. Set up a 30-day challenge.

In most cases, our failure to curate good habits simply comes from not sticking to them. Plenty of studies show that habits, when performed daily, can become part of your routine in as little as 21 days. So set a start date and launch your plan of action for a trial 30-day period.

6. Power through setbacks.

Sometimes, it’s not just willpower that runs out. Sometimes we are swayed from our paths by life “getting in the way” of new goals. If something sways you from your challenge, the best course of action is to evaluate the situation and see how you can get around, over, or through that obstacle. However, once a new habit is established, it actually becomes our default setting. If your usual habits are healthy, then stressful times are less likely to throw you off from your usual routines. In other words, we’re just as likely to default to healthy habits as we are to self-sabotaging habits, if those healthy habits have become a part of our everyday routine.

7. Hold yourself publicly accountable.

Your support network is the most valuable tool you will ever have access to. Whether it’s your best friend, your partner or your Facebook posts, being accountable to someone other than yourself will help you stick to your goal. Just keep in mind that “accountable” isn’t the same as “announcement”. Anyone can tell the world they’re going to get up early from now on. But, if that person has a team of supporters behind them, whom they regularly update, they are more likely to stick with their new habit during times when they are establishing their new habit and motivation is running low.

I go beyond training with a straight-talking approach to wellness that focuses on an overall healthy lifestyle. For years I’ve educated celebrities and corporate…

I go beyond training with a straight-talking approach to wellness that focuses on an overall healthy lifestyle. For years I’ve educated celebrities and corporate executives on how to effectively incorporate fitness and nutrition into their busy everyday lives. I’ve appeared on Extra, The Doctors, Good Morning America and The Today Show. I’ve been a featured trainer on The CW’s Shedding for the Wedding, and am often quoted in People, Glamour, Woman’s Health and the Los Angeles Times. I’m also the author of No Gym Required – Release Your Inner Rock Star and Strong is the New Skinny– How to Eat, Live, and Move to Maximize Your Power. Beyond training, I’m the president and CEO of fitness and wellness brand NGR – No Gym Required – and I am the lifestyle and fitness spokesperson for world-class brands including Muscle Milk, Polar Heart Rate Monitors and Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers recently appointed me as their overall national spokesperson and trainer in the 5 DVD Points Plus Program workout series.