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  • Elena Talavera

Keystone Habits

Creating small habits in your day-to-day can cause significant positive changes to your well-being and life in general. We are the result of our actions, and as Aristoteles said:

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."

To reach excellence, therefore, it is essential to become familiar with the concept of keystone habits.

This term was coined by Charles Duhigg in his best-selling book "The Power of Habit." This author defines keystone habits as "small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives."

To graphically illustrate this concept, "keystone" in architecture refers to that stone located right in the middle of an arch and that helps to support and maintain the rest of the stones and prevents the structure from collapsing. In the same way, keystone habits are essential to form and support other healthy habits automatically.

The effectiveness of these habits is the result of three main factors:

  • These create a feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment. It involves small wins that would make you feel successful throughout the day.

  • These habits are the mainstay for others to develop with low energy costs and in an unconscious way.

  • Performing these acts helps build momentum and maintain it sustainably throughout life, thanks to the feeling of satisfaction, confidence, and a sense of growing.

StepApp encourages the creation and adherence of these keystone habits through nudge techniques and behavioral science principles. For example, users can work on the keystone: exercising regularly. This activity has been shown to directly affect other facets of life, such as eating better, consuming less alcohol, smoking less, being more productive, and having a better-quality sleep (Oaten & Cheng, 2006).

Other keystone habits that the app helps you to form are: eating healthy, losing weight, cutting down on alcohol, quitting smoking, or learning new things.


Duhigg, C. (2013). The power of habit. Random House Books.

Oaten, M., & Cheng, K. (2006). Longitudinal gains in self-regulation from regular physical exercise. British Journal of Health Psychology, 11(Pt 4), 717–733.


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