The Power of Keystone Habits

Keystone habits

We all have a list in our mind of the habits we want to develop.

It’s right next to our vision of the future, to the person we want to become and the life we want to live.

And we’ve put this list aside with the relieving thought that we’ll get to it someday.
But that day isn’t coming any time soon, and later often becomes never.

So the best thing you can do is start working on your habits now, so that you can begin the biggest transformation of your life.

There are healthy and unhealthy habits; those we do on autopilot, and those we put effort into doing.

But they all have one thing in common – the way we do it.

We need to have a purpose and want to achieve something in order to start a change like that.
Then, we need to find the willpower to start, to take small steps and stay consistent, until we can do it unconsciously.

But something important that many often forget is that some habits are more important than others. So it’s better to start with them.

I’m talking about keystone habits.

They are routines that naturally improve your life in general. Once you implement them, everything else just falls into place and you start doing other things (healthy and positive) without any effort.

They set off a chain of repeated actions.

This way you’re saving yourself work in the future.

Here are some examples:

Daily workouts lead to eating and sleeping better, and after some time – to having your whole day well-organized and breaking some other bad habits.

Let’s say the habit you want to build is going to the gym every day. It takes time, dedication and willpower, of course. You need to – at least – make yourself go to the gym a few times per week and stay for half an hour. But there are other things that happen at the same time.

When you see the effort you put in your workout, you will start eating less (as having this burger now means the hour you spent in the gym earlier was for nothing).
You’ll go to bed a bit earlier and sleep better as you’ll be exhausted.
You’ll be more productive, because the workout will kickstart your day.
You may start getting up early in order to go to the gym in the morning. Or make any other change in your daily routine so that you can find time for a gym session.

You don’t really need to think about all the other things except for showing up in the gym. Everything else just happens.

So here is the effect keystone habits have on us:

  • they support all the other things we do, just like keystones support bridges;
  • they give us energy and confidence to do more;
  • they are a platform on which other good habits grow;
  • they naturally improve our whole life.

So focusing on a few habits like that and making them stick, is what we need in order to improve our lifestyle, find some balance and get stuff done.

It’s better to focus on 2-3 important routines that will change our behavior in general, rather than investing time in tens of little actions a day, each of which requires a lot of willpower.

You start working on making them a part of your day, and then they help you form other little habits.

The main keystone habits are:

– getting up early;
morning routine;
– exercise;
identifying most important tasks for the day;
– planning your day the night before;
– single-tasking.

Now that you know about keystone habits, you can stop wasting time on insignificant changes and focus all your energy on them.

Commit fully, focus on one habit at a time, start small, track your progress and always keep in mind how important this is.

What habits do you want to change?


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How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money

How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money - Interview with R.J. Weiss from

This is an interview-style post with R.J. Weiss from The Ways to Wealth.

Hey R.J. What’s your background and what do you do?

I blog about all things personal finance at The Ways to Wealth.

Before I went full-time into blogging, I spent ten years in the financial services industry. Specifically, helping families buy the right type of life insurance.

During my time with a full-time job, I’ve always had different side hustles going on. From freelance writing, Amazon FBA, conversion rate optimization, to website design — there were many projects I pursued outside of work.

How did you start your career in finance?

I got started in finance straight out of college working for my the family insurance business. As I love the financial planning side of things, I choose to specialize in life insurance planning. This led me down the path to obtaining the CFP® Certification.

What made you start blogging?

The Ways to Wealth, which I started in 2016, has been my 5th blog.

The others mostly fizzled out most due to a lack of interest. But, in 2009 I started a personal finance blog called (no longer around) that had some success.

The idea was to write about what I was learning about studying to take the CFP®. The blog was, by all means, a success. I was able to gain valuable knowledge, pass the CFP® exam, earn some extra money and build up a good community.

I then took this knowledge and started a business blog, which allowed the insurance agency I was working for to generate leads.

I started The Ways to Wealth because my passion is personal finance–from investing to travel hacking, I love the challenge of optimizing my finances.

How was The Ways to Wealth born?

I didn’t have much of a plan for starting The Ways to Wealth when I purchased the domain name.

I was actually thinking it would be a niche site, which was inspired by Pat Flynn’s niche site duel. Then, I came across the income reports of Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and wisely changed direction to a more traditional blog.

This change came about 6-months after starting to blog.  I did a timeline of the site in one of my income reports.

What worked best when trying to grow the site?

I had a decent knowledge of SEO. So at first, I started growing the site with email outreach. One of the first posts I had about best investing books of all time, had about 15 links to it.

This was nice to start with but was quite slow to build up, as it can take a while to earn Google’s trust.

The big turning point came when I started to understand Pinterest. I spent a few frustrating weeks on the platform, then it finally started paying dividends.

I went from about 100 sessions a day to 1,000, which was huge for me at the time.

How did you get to 3 million monthly viewers on Pinterest?

the ways to wealth pinterest 3 million monthly views

I lay out my Pinterest strategy here. But at the core the idea is to:

1) Write high-quality content that Pinners want to click through, read, and share.

2) Pin to my own and high-quality group boards, with a keyword-rich description.

3) Continue to Pin my best pins across my own boards/group boards, ruthlessly eliminating Pins that don’t perform well.

One thing to keep in mind is impressions don’t mean much on Pinterest. What counts are clicks to your website. So, you want to design not for impressions but clicks.

What aspects of the online business are you outsourcing or automating and how?

The first thing I outsourced was Pinterest design. I’ll design about 30-40 pins a month, so this was big time saver for me.

Of course, it took some work to get going. At first, I hired 5 or so people on Fiverr. I found one decent designer but the work quality deteriorated over time.

I then went to Upwork and posted a job for a  graphic designer. I found a great team down in Argentina, who I’m very happy with.

I’m currently experimenting with working with a ghostwriter. A few of my latest posts have been transcribed from my recording, with the ghostwriter making sense of it all.

I can compile about 3 posts in 90 minutes, then take another 90 or so minutes to prepare them. Saving me around 3-4 hours per post this way.

What’s your main income stream and why do you think it works for you?

My main source of income for the blog is affiliate revenue. It works because the partners I do have are high-quality businesses, who deliver value and solve real problems. This makes it easy to naturally link to such a partner.

When did you start making more than $10K/month and what was the turning point?

My first month over $10K was in January of 2018. In December of 2017, income was around $3,000 and in July of 2017 around $500. So, it was definitely a jump.

What happened then in January?

First, personal finance is at its peak interest in January.

Second, I had multiple Pins go viral.

Third, in November I started driving traffic via Facebook to the site. So, in January I could take campaigns I’d been fine-tuning for a few weeks and scale them.

How do you balance work and family life?

I have a routine I stick to Monday through Friday.

When inside of my designated working hours, I work. When outside of these hours, I’m not.

This is a lot easier said than done. But the thing important for me is not to take work everywhere I go. This means I don’t have any apps on my phone that are work-related (email, analytics, etc..)

What are you 3 best finance tips for newbies?

  • Focus on your savings rate. How much you save is the most important decision you’ll make.
  • Small incremental improvements add up over time. My favorite example is increasing your savings rate 1% every quarter, means you’ll be saving 20% of your income in just 5 years.
  • Study happiness. Become a student on how to increase your level of happiness. The natural result is you’ll want less overtime, making the game of personal finance a lot easier to win.

What books, blogs or podcasts help you stay motivated along the way of growing an online business?

I read a fair amount to keep fresh ideas in my head.

My favorite podcast is The Tim Ferriss Show.

Two blogs I enjoy reading are:

Farnam Street
Barking up the Wrong Tree

And as far as books. I try to read one a week. A few books I would recommend to online entrepreneurs would be:

Deep Work by Cal Newport
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Pin this post if you enjoyed the interview.

Check out my interview with R.J. from TheWaystoWealth to see how he entered the finance niche, started making money blogging, began bringing traffic from Pinterest and monetizing it with affiliate marketing, and is now making $10,000/month from his online business. #blogger #interview #blogtraffic #incomeideas #income