Keystone Habits

Many EHS professionals are familiar with the story of Paul O’Neill and the turnaround of Alcoa by focusing on safety. (If not, here’s a link to the story)

In The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg describes why safety worked for Alcoa and uses the term “keystone habit” to describe a habit (like safety at Alcoa) which leads to multiple other habits and routines.

For example, research indicates that when people exercise daily, they are more likely to eat healthier meals, avoid processed junk food, and become more efficient at work. There are also correlations with less stress, better sleep, and less credit card use! Another example is family dinner. Duhigg writes, “Families who habitually eat dinner together seem to raise children with better homework skills, higher grades, greater emotional control, and more confidence.”

Other keystone habits include; scheduled reading, daily routines (morning rituals), food journaling, and tracking your food.

If you’ve already read The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business and want more, pick up Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin for further insight into life-transforming habits.

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