Day 6 – Keystone Habits

This is the sixth day of our team’s virtual mid-season training camp. Each day for the next 28 days, there will be a short assignment for you to do to continue your development. These assignments are mandatory for players and coaches. Parents are also encouraged to participate.

What are Keystone Habits?

What would be the domino effect of replacing junk foot in your diet with wholesome, natural foods?

First, you might lose weight. Maybe you’d feel better and have more energy. This extra energy might translate into being able to train harder. You’d then build muscle and look stronger and fitter. Maybe this would translate into being more productive at school or work. You’d then get better grades or a promotion. Perhaps this would increase your confidence and you’d be willing to try some new and exciting things.

This is just one example of a life-changing habit that has the potential to create a chain reaction on nearly every aspect of your life. We call this a keystone habit.

Keystone habits are ”small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives.“

Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit)

A keystone is an architectural term that is used to describe the key stone in an arch that holds all the other stones in place. If you take away the keystone, the arch will collapse.

Keystone (architecture) - Wikipedia | Keystone, Crochet hat pattern, Brick  and stone

Keep in mind that not all keystone habits are necessarily good. Here are some negative keystone habits:

  • Drinking soda pop at every meal
  • Speeding or texting while driving
  • Eating a bag of chips or chocolate bar every day before bed

Examples of Keystone Habits for Student Athletes

  • Make your bed every day immediately when you wake up.
    This is a famous example from a commencement speech given by Admiral William H. McRaven at the University of Texas. Making your bed every morning allows you to successfully complete your first task every day. This sets you up for success the rest of the day.
  • Working out every morning at the same time
  • Studying for school for an hour immediately when you get home from school
  • Going to bed at a regular time every night
  • Replacing junk food in your diet with healthy alternatives
  • Drink more water each day (6-8 glasses)
  • Read a book for at least 20 minutes every day
  • Planning your day the night before

Obviously, there are plenty more examples.

Your Guiding Master Habit

It isn’t easy to change many habits at once. That is why we’d like to create one Guiding Master Habit that will help keep you on track towards your goal(s).

What might this be and how can we track our progress? …

The Seinfeld Strategy – Don’t Break The Chain

Question: What is comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s guiding master habit?

More on the Seinfeld Strategy

How to Stop Procrastinating on Your Goals by Using the “Seinfeld Strategy” – James Clear – Author of Atomic Habits

Jerry Seinfeld interview — A Comedy Legend’s Systems, Routines, and Methods for Success – The Tim Ferriss Podcast #486 (This is very good if you like Seinfeld)

Answer: The way to be a better comic is to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes is to write every day.” Jerry Seinfeld


Atomic Habits – by James Clear

The Power of Habit – by Charles Duhigg

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything – by B.J. Fogg – Free and easy to use chain tracking app for iOS and web site. It can be used for multiple goals and even by groups of people with the same goal.

Today’s Assignment:

For today…

  1. Complete today’s workout on the TeamBuildr app. Be sure to mark each exercise complete as you finish it.
  1. Make a list of 5 keystone habits that you or your teammates could use on the path to becoming a varsity student athlete. These should be different that the examples I’ve provided. Post your answer to the team WhatsApp group.
  1. Write out your one Guiding Master Habit. If you could only adopt one keystone habit, what would it be? Post your answer to the team WhatsApp group.
  1. Find a calendar or piece of paper so you can start tracking your Guiding Master Habit using the Seinfeld Strategy. Complete and mark your X for today. Now don’t break the chain!