Successful people build powerful habits into their daily routines that allow them to optimise their health, productivity, relationships and other areas of their lives.
The most important habits are known as keystone habits. These are habits that have positive effects on multiple areas of your life. Follow good keystone habits, and other things start to fall into place. In this article, I will share 10 of the most effective, keystone habits I’ve found.
1. Get some sunlight every morning
It’s important for all of us to re-think the way we live indoors. The combination of movement, light and fresh air will wake you up, relax you and set your circadian rhythm so that you’re more alert during the day, and better able to get to sleep at night. Make it a habit to do this as soon as possible — even if it’s for ten minutes.
2. Practice gratitude
Numerous studies have linked gratitude to have many benefits including greater happiness, satisfaction with life and optimism. Practicing gratitude daily has helped me to appreciate life more, resulting in better health, relationships and an increase in overall happiness.
Each morning, as soon as I wake up, I think about three things I am grateful for or am looking forward to that day. This is a simple and effective habit that helps me set myself up for success for the day ahead of me.
3. Learn new things
Learning doesn’t stop when you get out of school or finish work. Learning should be a constant especially for those working in tech fields where the tools are constantly changing and technology is always evolving.
There are so many resources out there to help you learn. Here are some of my favourites:
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- Ted Talks
Influential videos from expert speakers.
- 99% Invisible
A podcast about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.
Daily news coverage on business, technology, financial markets, personal finance, sports and a wide array of other topics.
Motivational interviews with the people shaping the wellness world: pioneers, cutting-edge thinkers, and entrepreneurs who are changing the conversation.
- Deliciously Ella
Hosted by the founders of Deliciously Ella, the podcast welcomes guests from business, health and nutrition backgrounds to share their stories and advice.
The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of agricultural subsidies, toxic chemicals, drinking water pollutants, and corporate accountability.
Technology & Design
- General Assembly
Classes, courses, and workshops to help you develop new skills in design, marketing, technology or data science.
- The Interaction Design Foundation
Online courses and literature in User Experience, product design, and human-computer interaction.
A podcast about user experience design brought to you by Adobe and Gimlet Creative.
- Design Calendar
London’s best design events.
4. Introduce yourself
This year, I’ve decided that I want to take more risks.
I’ve realised that one of the easiest ways to keep life interesting is to talk to someone new. Whether you’re in line waiting for your coffee or at your weekly sports class, have the courage to make it a habit to introduce yourself to people who cross your path, you never know who you could meet.
5. Take an interest in other people
Becoming genuinely interested in others is one of the key principles Dale Carnegie talks about in the book How To Win Friends and Influence People and it’s something that I am continuously working hard to ingrain.
Since reading the book, I’ve consciously tried to bring focus to this as well as other concepts and the results have been amazing. I’m learning that there’s always something interesting about what somebody is doing and to pursue that interest, all I need to do is to ask more questions and continue that conversation. Not only does that lead to interesting conversations but it also builds a greater connection with others and opens up more opportunities.
6. Give others your full attention
I recently gave up social media for 6 months. During that time, I learned the importance of being present and giving others our undivided attention. You can never connect with others if you’re too busy connecting with your stuff.
7. Keep your home and workspace clean
Messiness causes us more stress than we realise. Get rid of physical clutter and you get rid of mental clutter. Need some inspiration? Check out The Minimalists.
8. Be a team player
In groups, make sure that everyone’s voice is heard. Some people will proactively volunteer their own opinions whilst others won’t unless they are asked. Be the person in the group who helps others to speak up and make them feel valued.
9. Write down your accomplishments
Most of us find it far too easy to focus on the negative aspects of our lives. Finding ways to illuminate the good is a wonderful way of getting us to feel great when we get up and when we fall asleep. Writing down your accomplishments is a great way to record how you’ve overcome obstacles and see how far you’ve come. Regardless of how big or how small the accomplishment is, writing down what you’ve done can be a great technique for personal growth and allowing positive thoughts to fill your mind.
10. Commit to continual growth
Under any circumstance, always do your best but keep in mind that your best is never going to look the same from one moment to the next. Sometimes your best will be high quality and other times, it will not be as good. Regardless of the quality, keep trying your best, not to for others but for yourself. When you’re doing your best, it will make you appreciate life more. It will make you feel good and it will push you to keep moving forward.