7 Successful People Share their Keystone Habits

7 successful people keystone habits_freemind pitstopDo you wonder?

How do some people manage to get so much done?

Run successful businesses, keep getting promotions at work, spend time with their families, work out and take care of their health, and find ‘me’ time.

How do they find the time and the energy?

The Secret Sauce

In his book, the ‘The Power of Habit’, Charles Duhigg discusses the concept of the keystone habit. Many successful people derive their focus and energy by leveraging the power of keystone habits.

A keystone habit is a habit that has far reaching benefits in various areas of our lives. It forms a base on which we build other productive habits.

For Example:

My own keystone habit is meditation.
It helps me to maintain high levels of concentration, block out distractions and keep stress out of the door.

But there are hidden perks…
  1. It keeps me focused on my spiritual goals and brings a sense of meaning.
  2. It keeps me healthy by giving me the discipline to exercise and avoid junk food.
  3. It keeps me content with what I already have.

All these benefits from just 20 – 25 minutes of meditation a day.
Now is that a great deal or what?

I asked a few well known people about what their keystone habits are and how it helps them.
All of them have been a great source of inspiration for us at FreeMind PitStop.

7 Successful People Share their Keystone Habits 

 Over to our guests…

mike vardy freemind pitstopMike Vardy,

CEO and President, Productivityist

Mike is one of the best known experts in productivity whose work has strongly influenced us at FreeMind PitStop. Mike’s work has appeared in SUCCESS magazine, Huffington Post, Lifehacker and many other places.

“My keystone habit is beginning every day before bed with a regular evening routine. My evening routine is critical in shaping my days, and by outlining my Three Absolutes on a sheet of paper and placing it upside down on my closed laptop I guide my “future” self to a better start to the day. I’m not a morning person, so having this routine in place sets me up for success and keeps me moving forward in the right direction in work and in life.”


Lori deschene_freemind pitstopLori Deschene

Founder, Tiny Buddha

Lori runs one of my favorite blogs – Tiny  Buddha. It’s one of the world’s most popular self exploration / development blogs with 4 million visitors a month.

“Recently, I’ve formed a new keystone habit of exercising while I work. I bought this portable elliptical machine that I use for an hour or two, with my laptop propped up on a box on top of a table. It helps me on so many levels: It prevents me from feeling restless while working so many hours online, it ensures I get a decent amount of exercise each day, and it gives me an increased sense of pride in what I’ve accomplished, since I am simultaneously working out and working on my to-do list. ”


Phil Dumontet_DASHED_freemind pitstopPhil Dumontet

Founder & CEO of DASHED

DASHED is the leading restaurant delivery service in the Northeast US. An avid runner, Phil is among the top 20 runners in New York in the 25-29 age group. He’s also a contributor to Forbes, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, and Fox Business.

“I have two keystone habits:  exercise & hydrotherapy.

  1. Sweating: I run or do hot yoga 5 days per week (usually 4 days of running, 1 day of hot yoga, and always taking 2 days completely off).  I find both exercises critical to my well-being & re-centering.  Afterwards, I feel that my energy levels have been reinvigorated, and I have a calmer, more focused, and clearer state of mind.

  2. Water energizes me: hydrotherapy, specifically, contrast showers (or hot/cold showers), has been a daily routine since I was a kid.  I end every shower with a cold-hot-cold cycle (30 seconds of cold, 30 seconds of hot, 30 seconds of cold).  This makes me feel refreshed, vs. ending the shower on hot water (which makes me sleepy).  I also like saunas, steam rooms, cold plunges, ice baths, hot tubs, and swimming.”


Partha Sarathi Basu_FreeMind PitstopPartha Sarathi Basu

Director, Finance Operations, AkzoNobel – a Fortune 500 Company.

Partha happens to be one of the most productive people I know!  When he’s not taking care of numbers at AkzoNobel, Partha spends his time writing. Partha’s latest book, published by Harper Collins, is “Mid-career Crisis …Why some sail through while others don’t”.

“I always say , ‘if one fails to plan, he plans to fail’. Therefore my keystone habit is planning. Not a single day is spent without proper planning, which helps me dedicate each day to my body, mind and soul. I usually dedicate the morning to health, starting the day with exercise. During the day I dedicate my time to my mind at work. The evenings are generally dedicated to soul… reading, writing, spending time with family and friends. Thus a day is spent dividing my time to body, mind & soul.”


Anthony Metivier_freemind pitstopDr. Anthony Metivier

Anthony has introduced several new innovations to the art of memory including the Magnetic Memory Method and has written a number of books on the subject. He has taught thousands of students and worked as a memory coach and adviser to top ESL instructors and language school administrators around the world.

Writing is my main keystone. It’s the first thing I do every morning, even before I get out of bed. It helps gather material I can shape later and centers my focus on creativity.”


diana silva_freemind pitstopDiana Silva

Executive Director, Silva International

Diana Silva, daughter of Jose Silva, has over 30 years experience supporting Silva Graduates and the International Community of Silva Instructors. My first interaction with Diana, 14 years ago, was one of the first milestones that inspired me to become a coach.

“My keystone habit is meditating faithfully. That is what we teach people to do in order to accomplish what is needed in life. Meditation can make anyone feel the glory of the Universe. We must put meditation into practice daily, not only when there is a need for it.”


Henneke Duistermaat_freemind pitstopHenneke Duistermaat

Irreverent Copywriter and Business Writing Coach, EnchantingMarketing.com

Titans of Internet marketing like Neil Patel, Jon Morrow and Brian Clark consider Henneke to be one of the best business bloggers. Her insights have transformed the way I think about writing!

“I’m a night owl, and can find it hard to get started in the morning. I’ve found that going for a walk before I begin to work is a great way to kickstart my body (and my brain!). I now feel more energetic in the mornings and get my work finished earlier.” 

Fascinating isn’t it?

A keystone habit can be anything – walking, writing, meditation, planning and even hot/cold showers!

What matters is that you pick an activity that energizes you in several areas of your life.

What’s your keystone habit and how does it help you?
Tell us in the comments section below!

19 thoughts on “7 Successful People Share their Keystone Habits”

  1. Thanks for including me in this roundup! It’s really great reading from some familiar names and learning from some new ones. 🙂

    • I certainly feel blessed at finding this blog! I am an avid believer that the most productive way for me to extract the best from my day is to plan early. After I awake, I spend 25-30 minutes in meditation and in doing so, my day seemingly falls into place. Of course, there are those necessities, the musts, however, I find that I end up with much more quality time for myself and others in my life. I also write for no less than 30 minutes each day and read positive motivational books and literature. I feel that being of service to others takes an absolute priority in my life and affords me the benefit of being a positive spiritual influence for others who may just need that smile, courtesy, politeness, and simple pleasantry from someone who is a complete stranger. As Gandhi said, ” be the change that you want to see in the world” and I personally understand and believe in my heart that in being that “person” I can, in effect be that pebble that is tossed into that clear pond that causes the ripple effect that can expand indefinitely.By doing so, I become that pillar of strength and I energize my own sense of balance and express my kindness and love to any and all that I come into contact with on my short journey through life. By believing in myself, learning to love myself, I can then share and spread that energy through grace, humbleness, and happiness! We all, each of us, suffer and encounter painful events throughout our lives and I believe that it isn’t what happens to each of us in this life, but more importantly, it is how we handle these adversities that matters! Character is what we do when no one is around or what we do in the dark!! The truth is that I will know and that is what matters! Honesty and truth are my guides that propel me through these difficult and painful times. Sometimes it is as simple as stopping, taking a step back, taking a deep breath, or two, identifying the problem, weighing my options, making a plan no matter how simple or complex, making a sound , rational, intelligent decision, and then doing it keeping in mind how this decision will benefit others and in doing so, benefiting myself as well!

      Thom K. Shea

      • I am not a kindle person as yet, however,I spend at least one hour a day reading spiritual and motivational books to help me focus on what is truly important in my life- TODAY! I only reference my past to extract any positive and educational things, and I don’t spend time on the tomorrow frenzy of “what if’s.” or except for,” and I can’t leave out the big “but’s” as these will not only drive one crazy, they will cloud and distort my purpose of focus and clarity. I spend as much of my time in the “here and now” as my world now is in this blog that I am posting and, for the moment, cannot be worried about anything else happening around me. I learned long ago that even as a multi-tasker, that I can only successfully complete ONE THING AT A TIME! Nothing more, nothing less.

  2. Thank you Peter for being such a great friend to us all. You are such a blessing in disguise! Blessings to you and yours with love from above…

    • Thanks Shobha! Yes, sticking to it does wonders for shaping our everyday routines. In addition keystone habits energize us emotionally. There are numerous ways in which keystone habits work. We will be publishing a post about the mechanism in detail. Stick around 🙂


Share a Comment!