“I haven’t got time to exercise”
“I will get my finances in order when I earn more”
“I’d rather watch TV than read, I’m too tired by the time I get home”
Here are just a few phrases that I have heard hundreds of times from people who in many other ways have their life in order. You may meet a business executive making a massive salary that slurps fizzy drinks and orders pizza every night. You may meet the fitness freak that doesn’t pursue education. You may meet the professor that refuses to exercise. The most common of all is someone that eats like hell, doesn’t exercise, doesn’t read and whose debt is forever on the increase.
Now, everyone is given the same 24 hours in the day, so logically it would make sense that if someone has one area of their life in perfect order they probably wouldn’t have time to perfect the other areas? Right?
But generally that’s not we see – usually someone either has everything in good order or nothing at all. Why could this be?
What if, just like compound interest, having an area of your life in order made it exponentially easier to tidy up other areas? In my opinion this is exactly what happens.
There are a few things in life that give back you vastly more energy than you need to give to achieve them. These habits, if done well, can have knock-on positive effects in all other areas of your life, activities that give back many times what you have to put in are known as ‘keystone habits’. Today I want to discuss 3 keystone habits that once implemented gave me massive returns on my time and effort investments.
If you have not yet got a reasonable routine around any of these areas of life I can’t recommend enough that you make the change, the impact will always be more than you could have reasonably expected.
Leading a healthy lifestyle is the ultimate keystone habit and is the one that you should start with if you aren’t already smashing it. Health has the advantage of having 0 barriers to entry. Everyone from the poorest to the richest, the bored to the time strapped, the Brainiac to the dummy can improve their health habits.
There are 2 main facets of health – diet and exercise, below are some basic ideas about what bad health habits tend to look like vs better versions.
Bad vs. Good
I walk up and down stairs, that’s exercise vs. I have a regular sport/hobby that leaves me out of breath and aching the next day
I don’t regularly wear exercise clothing vs. I have a bag filled with gym gear that I use regularly and for a variety of different activities
I consume more than one chocolate bar/fizzy drink per day vs. I do not consume anything obviously sugary on a regular basis
I eat salad occasionally vs. most of my meals are based on either fruit or veg
I buy fat free vs. I consume good fats in the form of avocados, Greek yoghurt, almonds etc as a staple of my diet
I don’t have time (to cook/exercise/do anything else positive) vs. I make the time to these things because at the end of the day my health is a huge priority and it’s my responsibility.
I do exercise sometimes vs. I have an activity that I do at least 3 times every single week
Shifting from the left to the right in these habits will leave you with more energy, clearer thought and higher self-esteem. Getting your health right can have unexpected effects on all other areas of life. Realising you can control and positively influence your body leads you to the realisation that you can control and positively influence other aspects of your life.
You can (and we will) go very deep on finances in futures posts but everyone should know the basics:
1. Earn more than you spend.
2. Control your spending with a budget that prioritises what’s important to you.
3. Get rid of as much consumer debt as possible. Do not take out more loans.
4. Invest the difference in a low fee index funds.
Having your finances in order and seeing your net worth grow month by month is extremely positive for your mental health. Knowing that one day your passive income will exceed your expenses is even better.
Not in the sense that I think it’s wise for everyone to take out a huge loan, pack their bags and head off to University (I have been there it’s mostly drinking games). What I mean is committing to continual self-education through books, podcasts, documentaries, interpretive dance or whatever means you find most digestible. Seek out people who have what you want, learn from them. Even more seek out people who have had what you think you would want and turned their back on it, find out why.
By continuing your own education, you ensure that your skills, knowledge and the level at which you understand life will never peak. You ensure that every day you will be slightly more intelligent than you were the day before.