Picture of Michael Lee

Keystone habit

Written on August 9, 2022

In Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit, he describes a concept called, keystone habit.

Essentially a keystone habit is a habit that triggers other actions.

My keystone habit

One of my keystone habits is exercising.

I will either go for a run or do some bodyweight exercises.

Exercise for me leads to cleaning my bathroom.

I have a regular reminder in Things, that tells me to clean my toilet.

I don’t mind cleaning the toilet, but it definitely takes some willpower.

Meanwhile, if I exercise first, my chance of cleaning the toilet or even the shower is higher.

Why does the chance increase because of my keystone habit?

In The Power of Habit, Mr. Duhigg explains that a habit is made up of three parts—a cue, a routine and a reward.

In this case, my keystone habit, exercise is my cue.

My reward is a shower.

Since I’m already “dirty” from sweating, cleaning a toilet or shower doesn’t add to the dirtiness it just becomes part of the routine from cue to reward.

And since I’m going to shower anyways, having a clean bathroom is an added plus.

Stay in touch

Thanks for reading this article. I'd love to stay in touch and share more tips on programming and side projects with you. Sign up and I'll send you my articles straight to your email, you'll also get a free copy of the light themed version of my Git cheat sheet.
Git cheat sheet preview image