by Kathie England

Keystone Habits

  • What if there were habits that have the power to start a chain reaction that changes other habits?
  • What if some habits matter more than others in remaking our lives or how we work?

Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habit explains that these types of habits exist and they are called “keystone habits.” He says that “Keystone habits start a process that, over time, transforms everything.”

Duhigg tells the story of how safety was the keystone habit of Paul O’Neill’s focus when he became the CEO of Alcoa Aluminum Company of America and how this keystone habit dramatically changed the organization. He continues with the story of Bob Bowman, the swimming coach for Michael Phelps, who helped Phelps develop keystone habits of visualization and relaxation before each race. These keystone haabits created the mindset Phelps needed to set Olympic records over and over again.

Keystone habits are described as “small wins” by researchers. They set forces in motion that trigger other small wins and the small wins create patterns that convince people that bigger achievements are within their reach.

Duhigg describes how keystone habits do three things:

  • They help other habits flourish by creating new structures
  • They establish cultures where change becomes contagious
  • They create cultures where new values become ingrained

What habits would you like to change?

If you have a habit that’s not working for you, I invite you to register for “It’s Habit-Forming, A virtual workshop based on the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.” This virtual workshops starts on Thursday, March 21. Send an email to to request a flier with all the details.

What’s holding you back from taking this small step that could change your life?