There’s a surprising story in the beginning of the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business.
Lisa’s life was a train wreck. She couldn’t hold down a job, drank too much, ate too much, smoked, and was in substantial debt.
Then, one day, her husband told her he was leaving her for another woman. Initially, she spent four months crying, binge drinking, and binge eating, before finally deciding to take a trip to Egypt to clear her head. (Her credit cards weren’t completely maxed yet, so why not?)
When she got to Cairo, she had a bit of a meltdown as she thought about how much her life sucked and how absolutely nothing was working for her. So, in a fit of desperation, she decided she needed a goal. Something to work toward.
And that goal would be to trek across the desert.
It was a crazy goal. She was completely out of shape and had no money besides. But, she was determined.
She would give herself a year to get ready.
One of the things she decided she needed to give up to get ready was smoking.
And THAT decision changed her life.
Four years later, she had lost sixty pounds, was running marathons, had a good paying job she had kept for over 3 years, paid down her debt and was about to buy a house.
And yes, she had returned to Egypt to cross the desert.
So, what happened? How did Lisa change her life so drastically in only a few years?
It’s been proven that most people who make dramatic changes in their lives in very short times have focused on changing a single habit first. And when they changed that habit, they were then able to more easily change other habits.
But, what’s interesting is not all habits are created equal.
Some habits, and smoking is one of them, are what scientists call “keystone habits.” If you’re able to change that one, you can more easily change others.
It’s a pretty cool idea, isn’t it? If you could focus on changing just one habit, it could lead to you changing a lot of unhealthy habits.
But, if you don’t smoke, then where do you look?
Alas, that wasn’t really answered in the book, so I’m going to give you my answer.
Experiment on yourself.
Pick one habit to change at a time and see what happens after you change it. It doesn’t even have to make much sense. For instance, apparently people who make their beds in the morning are far more likely to live within a financial budget.
What do those two things have in common? No idea.
And that’s not the only non sequitur when it comes how one habit influences another.
In other words, it may not make sense with our logical brain, but it can still transform your life.
(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)