Business Secrets Podcast Episode 27: Keystone Habits

This is a transcript from the Business Secrets Podcast With Robert Kanaat. Click here to view and subscribe on iTunes

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Business Secrets. My name is Robert Kanaat – founder of, the premier online destination for all things inspirational and transformational.

I’m really excited right now, because I bought this swinging arm for my mic and it looks so professional. It kind of swings around in my office, and I can move it from place to place. It’s even got this little shock absorbing thing. It’s a Røde mic with a Røde shock absorber and an extension arm. It makes me feel almost like a radio broadcaster.

I was sitting here, it’s early in the morning here. I was sitting here, and I was thinking about something that I knew would severely impact your life as an entrepreneur, as a business owner. It can kind of change the game for you. I wanted to talk to you about this concept called keystone habits.

I talk a lot about habits on Wanderlust Worker, and it’s one of the things that I started talking about earlier in the blogs life. Because habits are what allowed me to take my life literally from when it was in shambles, to achieving so much in a short period. If I didn’t have the good habits, and I didn’t eliminate the bad habits – I couldn’t have done and achieved what I’ve done. I couldn’t be podcasting with you here. I couldn’t have published so much content on the blog. Couldn’t have written 39 books. I couldn’t have done any of those things. Create the courses and the webinars, etc, etc – and just focusing heavily on passive income.

I wanted to talk to you about this concept of the keystone habit. It was originally introduced by Charles Duhigg. If you haven’t read a book called, “The Power of Habit,” pick it up. It’s one of the most impactful books that I’ve ever read. It talks about this concept called the keystone habit.

I’ve always kind of understood that there was a habit that severely impacted you in a big way, more so than any other habit could. First I want to talk to you about what a keystone is. If you understand about architecture, you know that the keystone is that middle wedge-shaped piece that they put in at the end of creating the arch. It’s the last piece, but it locks all of the other pieces in place.

It’s a large wedge shaped piece, but the funny thing about the keystone is – although it’s the last piece that locks all the other stones in place, it bears the least amount of stress of all the other pieces. The least amount of weight, because of the distribution of the other stones in the arch.

However, it’s that keystone there that is integral in making that arch, and giving that arch life. In old architecture, that keystone would hold the entire arch in place. Let’s say there was nothing above supporting it, the arch would be held in place by that keystone. If the keystone were to disappear, the arch would fall apart and crumble down around it.

Similarly, in life – we have something called keystone habits. What happens is, when you build up keystone habits, all of the other good habits build up around it. But also, without certain keystone habits, you cannot support other habits. Similar to the keystone wedge-shaped stone locking the other stones in place – a keystone habit does something similar. It locks all of the other habits in place, in fact it begets, it brings on other good habits.

Let me explain to you how this works. For example – let’s say you decided to do one of the other things that I talked about in a prior episode, like the micro changes approach. Let’s say you do that for working out. But you start with walking around the block one time every single day. You build up this habit over time, let’s say over months. Eventually you’re running for 20, 30, 45 minutes or an hour a day – or you’re working out consistently.

You’re doing this consistently. What happens is – as you do this consistently, you begin to want to do other good things for your health. You begin to drink more water. You take more vitamins. You start doing other things. You’re more conscious of what you’re eating. Because you have that keystone habit in place, you’re doing all the other good stuff.

This is also similar – for example, in financials. Let’s say every single day you track every penny that you spend. You’re really, really religious about this. You are very meticulous. You know where every cent is going. When you start to do that – let’s say you go from not tracking or never tracking to actually tracking what you spend your money on. Writing it down like in a ledger – or tracking it in an app, for example.

You start to pay more attention to your money. As soon as you start doing that, you build momentum. Over time you start investing your money. Then you start doing other good things, like you stop spending it extraneously. You might cut down on ancillary expenses that you have. You might cancel subscriptions that you’re not using. All because you are tracking your finances. It is a keystone habit.

My point in telling you all of this is in business, in order to grow your business. I have learned this from some of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet. Is to focus wholeheartedly on keystone habits. Find the habits that are going to beget and bring on other good habits, while also making you shed the bad habits. If you are tracking your money every single day – you’re writing it down, you’re looking at it every single night before you go to bed.

You are going to naturally start doing good things for your financial health. You’re going to stop spending money on bogus stuff. That’s going to eliminate some bad habits. The cool thing about keystone habits is, and I always teach this on the blog. The cool thing about keystone habits is you don’t need to try to go out there and build a million different habits. You just focus on the keystone habits, and that’s it.

For example, let’s say you don’t even start with the working out or running around the block. Let’s say you get on a scale, I’ve got this scale here in my house. When I step on it, not only does it tell me my weight – it sends it to my phone, it tells me my body fat – and it gives me a bunch of different indicators of where I’m at. Plus it shows me a graph over time.

Considering that I’m doing that, I am naturally more conscious of what I’m eating. I’m drinking more greens, and just overall being healthier. Walking more, and being more conscious of what I put in my body. Eating less garbage. This kind of stuff, and avoiding fast food. It’s because I am tracking my weight every single day.

You have to find the keystone habits. Tracking and analyzing – whatever you track and analyze is going to grow or improve in your life. I always say that tracking is one of the best ways for you to literally take whatever it is that you’re doing and to make it a lot better.

If you want to change your business, if you want to exponentiate your results – find the keystone habits that can literally transform things for you. It can beget other good habits. It can eliminate the bad habits in business. For example, your time. Your time is the most valuable thing that you have in the world. It’s the most valuable resource.

It’s way more valuable than money. It’s way more valuable than any other tangible item that you have, because time is the most precious resource. We are not making more time. We can earn more money, we can spend it and all that other stuff. But we cannot earn time. We can just use the time that we have right now. Once these moments are gone, it’s gone forever.

Being prodigious about your time, paying careful attention to where your time is going is really important, and it’s a keystone habit. Tracking and managing your time using the quadrant time management system is a keystone habit. I talked about time management on this podcast before. Go and find that episode if you haven’t listened to it yet, and track and manage the time that you have.
Time is split up into four different quadrants, all defined by how urgent something is, and how important it is. Where we are spending our time says a lot about what we are achieving in life. It’s really, really easy to waste time. But if we spend it carefully, this is a keystone habit. If we track the time that we are spending, and we ensure that we spend it wisely. We spend it on quadrant two activities, which are the important but not urgent. Those are the long term goals. Those are related to any long term goal that we have. That is a keystone habit. Time management is a keystone habit.

Some of the most successful, not only entrepreneurs but companies in the world have identified keystone habits. They have either identified keystone habits within their organization, or have looked at consumer behavior to see what their habits are – and how they can properly insert their products or services into the lives of consumers by addressing keystone habits. By tackling those habits, the fundamentals of who we are and what we do in a single day.

By leveraging a keystone habit, you can literally explode the results of your business. I cannot stress this enough. This is one of the most important concepts. As I was sitting here just thinking about what I wanted to share with you – it really just like popped into my mind. It is something that you seriously have to start leveraging today. It can make all the difference.

Here’s all that you have to do. Identify the area of your life that you’re looking – or business – that you’re looking for the biggest improvement in. Then find the keystone habit that you can go after. One really easy way is the tracking and analyzing. Anything that we track is going to get better. Whether it’s our time, it’s our weight, or it’s our expenses – anything.

Find something that you can track – associated to your business, and track it. For example – maybe it’s the number of outbound sales calls – versus how many people you engaged with, versus how many people actually bought from you. By tracking and analyzing that, we can find ways to make things better and to improve, and to leverage the Pareto principle.

We know that 80% of the results are coming from 20% of the effort. We just have to find where those efforts are coming from. Again, identify the keystone habits in your business, in your life. It doesn’t matter whether you use this to improve your health, your wealth, your relationships – anything. There are keystone habits in relationships as well. Being more thoughtful every single day. Being more mindful.

There are a ton of different keystone habits that once you begin focusing on them, once you find them – it can take your results into the stratosphere. If you’re serious about making incredible changes about exponentiating your results – find the keystone habits in your life, in your business that you can implement – and do it right now.

I hope that you’ve got some value out this episode. Again, please like and subscribe to this podcast. Comment, share with your friends. If you are interested in keystone habits, I do have a free eBook that I wrote some time ago. You can find it at It’s just a free eBook. You just drop in your name and your email address, and it gets sent right over to you. Again, thank you so much for listening. I will speak to you guys next time.