Keystone habits for success

Nichola Coles


In this blog, we’re sharing with you how to introduce the keystone habits to help you achieve your personal and business goals. Some habits have the power to transform your life and your business by creating ripple effects on other habits. Charles Duhigg, author of ‘The Power of Habit’ calls these ‘Keystone Habits’.

Exercising regularly is a great example of a keystone habit. Exercise triggers people to start eating more healthy. Also, people who exercise have increased patience, less stress, sleep better and are more productive at work. 

A business example is the story of Alcoa, a failing Aluminium smelter in the US. By focusing on tackling their poor health and safety record and making this their number one priority they created a fundamental change within the culture of the business including improved productivity, employee retention and employee engagement. The impact of the keystone habit change on the business was far more widespread than just the improvement in safety of the workers, it transformed the company.

“I decided I was going to start by focusing on one thing. If I could start disrupting the habits around one thing, it would spread throughout the entire company” - Paul O’Neill, Chief Executive of Alcoa

Research has shown that where people adopt a keystone habit they are far more likely to make progress and be successful if they:

  1. Set a goal and aim towards it
  2. Have a plan
  3. Record what they do

But not only that, they start to make changes in other parts of their lives. It is almost as if once you realise that you can actually choose to make a difference the possibilities of choice in all aspects of your life open up.

Here is a simple but effective technique for outlining your keystone habit and increasing your chance of success.


In Step 2 of our Business AM programme we focus in more detail about the other ways you can achieve your goals, including better time management and changing your habits. To learn more about how Business AM can support you and your business please visit or contact us on 0161 476 8276 or

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