Jan 20, 2014

Keystone habits and ripple effect

When I drive I like to listen to audio books. This week I decided to listen again to the audiobook 'The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change'. I had listened to it about a year ago and really enjoyed it.

Right at the beginning the book talks about 'keystone habits'. A keystone habit is a habit that, after being successfully implemented, ends up affecting other areas in a person's life, frequently in unexpected ways.The book tells the story of Lisa. Lisa had all kinds of unhealthy habits. Among other things, she was overweight, a smoker and couldn't keep a job for longer than a couple of months. One day, after having been abandoned by her husband for another woman, she decided that she had to change. She started with her smoking habit. She succeeded. She replaced smoking with jogging. Jogging, in turn, motivated her to eat better. Eventually she was running marathons, managing her time better, being able to keep her job and engaging in a Master's program. Talk about ripple effect!

While listening to this story I couldn't help but notice how something similar has been happening to me.
As I shared before, this October 1st, when I turned 30, I decided to start a personal online journal. The only rule was that I had to write everyday (even if just a short sentence) for an entire year. It's been almost 4 months now and I've never failed. The interesting thing is that this simple habit is affecting my life in ways I hadn't imagined when I started it. I'm now exercising and meditating regularly, working more on my PhD, and being more mindful in general.

With this I've learned that when we want to change our lives, the best strategy may be to simply pick a healthy habit, and really commit to it. Eventually we may start to notice our life changing in unexpected ways...

What about you? Have you experienced this 'ripple effect' in your life?

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