How Keystone Habits Can Improve Your Life

Ramsey Solutions

How to Improve Your Wellbeing With Positivity

Your CliftonStrengths can empower the 5 elements of your wellbeing — career, social, financial, community and physical. But how does this happen if you are struggling in one or more of these elements? If you have Positivity, Appendix 1 of Gallup’s Wellbeing at Work book has Strengths Insights and Action Items that can move you from struggling to thriving as you apply your Positivity talent to fuel your wellbeing. Join Jaclynn Robinson and Jim Collison on this CliftonStrengths Podcast to discover how.

Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and welcome to the CliftonStrengths Podcast. On this podcast, we’ll be covering topics such as wellbeing, teamwork, professional development and more. Now enjoy this episode.

Jim Collison 0:10
In this CliftonStrengths Podcast, we’ll look at the Strengths Insight and Action Planning items from Appendix 1 in the Gallup book Wellbeing at Work one theme at a time, and today’s theme is Positivity. If you’re listening live, love to have you join us in our chat room, just the link right above me there for your questions. Or if you’re listening after the fact, you can send us an email: [email protected] Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Gallup Learning and Development Consultant and was the primary contributor to Appendix 1 in the Wellbeing at Work book. And Jaclynn, always great to be with you. Welcome back.

Why Are Keystone Habits Important?

Charles explains how keystone habits can change your life with a simple example: exercise. Let’s say you decide you want to lose 30 pounds, so you make an exercise plan and start hitting the gym three days a week. When you sit down for dinner after working out, you find yourself reaching for the salad mix more often than the leftover pizza.

And since your eating habits are changing, you become more conscious of what you put on your grocery list. You start to choose more fresh foods and limit impulse buys (like your favorite ice cream or candy bar) during your trips to the supermarket. Before you know it, you’re even sleeping better because you’re tracking your sleep schedule.

See what’s happening? What started as just a simple exercise routine (the keystone habit) caused a ripple effect of other (secondary) positive habits. And secondary habits don’t necessarily have to be related to the original keystone habit. Charles shares that research has found that people who start exercising regularly also improve in other areas of their lives. He points out that better habits, like using credit cards less (or not at all) and doing the dishes more, are possible unexpected bonuses of developing a keystone habit.

“When you start to change a habit, it sets up this chain reaction,” Charles said in his interview with EntreLeadership. “Both on the job and on the home front, keystone habits get you focused on one area you can improve and lead to progress in other areas.

Keystone habits tap into something you care about deeply, and they’re powerful enough to trigger secondary habits. Because you’re working on yourself, the secondary habits you didn’t even mean to create start appearing in both related and unrelated areas of life. And just like that, these habits have become a part of your everyday life through what Charles calls a habit loop.

What Is a Habit Loop?

  1. A cue: a trigger telling your brain to act on something. Cues can be centered around a location, time of day, emotions, people around you, or a previous action. For example, a stop light turning red is your cue to stop.
  2. A reward: something that satisfies a craving that we may or may not know we have. This can look like sitting down to watch a TV show after cleaning the house or something as simple as getting a snack when your brain tells you you’re hungry.
  3. A routine: the actions you take triggered by a cue to get a reward. If you want to feel awake by the time you get to work in the morning (reward) because you’ve noticed you barely get anything done before lunch (cue), your routine might look like going to sleep earlier the night before and eating a balanced breakfast when you wake up. If you write down your routine, you’re more likely to stick to it. And be sure to post it where you’ll see it every day!

We all use habit loops every day—even if it’s as simple as making that first cup of coffee in the morning to become a functioning human again. These loops can become so unconscious and engrained in our lives that they help us complete some tasks automatically (even complex ones)—like when you go on autopilot driving home and safely roll up to your driveway.

Putting the fun back into sex

Be adventurous. Maybe you’ve never had sex on the living room floor or in a secluded spot in the woods; now might be the time to try it. Or try exploring erotic books and films. Even just the feeling of naughtiness you get from renting an X-rated movie might make you feel frisky.

Be sensual. Create an environment for lovemaking that appeals to all five of your senses. Concentrate on the feel of silk against your skin, the beat of a jazz tune, the perfumed scent of flowers around the room, the soft focus of candlelight, and the taste of ripe, juicy fruit. Use this heightened sensual awareness when making love to your partner.

Be playful. Leave love notes in your partner’s pocket for him or her to find later. Take a bubble bath together—the warm cozy feeling you have when you get out of the tub can be a great lead-in to sex. Tickle. Laugh.

Be creative. Expand your sexual repertoire and vary your scripts. For example, if you’re used to making love on Saturday night, choose Sunday morning instead. Experiment with new positions and activities. Try sex toys and sexy lingerie if you never have before.

Be romantic

Read poetry to each other under a tree on a hillside. Surprise each other with flowers when it isn’t a special occasion. Plan a day when all you do is lie in bed, talk, and be intimate. The most important tool you have at your disposal is your attitude about sexuality. Armed with good information and a positive outlook, you should be able to maintain a healthy sex life for many years to come.


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