What does it mean to leverage your efforts? 

I remember studying levers in school. They were the simple machines structurally designed to amplify an input force to create a much greater output force. This mechanical advantage translates to a more efficient bang for your buck. It also means not working harder, but working smarter.

As a chiropractor , I have specialized in optimizing body function by improving leverage in the bodies posture. An upright posture with little or no forward head carriage works more efficiently because minimal energy and effort is expended by the muscles to hold the head up straight compared to when it is slouched forward . That’s why elderly people with hunched postures become quickly fatigued after walking only a few minutes.

An upright posture also promotes better breathing because the ribcage opens up and allows the vital capacity of airflow into the lungs to increase by 30%. This increases oxygen exchange which provides more oxygen to the muscles which is the bodies fuel for muscle contraction.  it also has been shown to elevate mood, project confidence and enhance immune function.

That’s a lot of multiple, positive health benefits from investing the single effort into structurally improving your postural habit. This is an efficient use of time and energy. Charles Durhigg calls a central habit that reinforces other related habits a keystone habit. A Keystone is the center top stone of an architechtural archway that locks in and reinforces the stability of all the other stones.

By choosing to develop and  automatize a keystone habit, you make your efforts more efficient. You will save a lot of time and energy because mastering that one keystone habit will have a domino effect and spill over into another good habit which will be linked together. Once one habit is on autopilot , the next one will become automatized too because they are done together. A synergy also occurs where one good habit reinforces the other and the strength of 2 or 3 habits will grow simultaneously. We can refer to this a the habit “Ripple” effect.

A gave the example of a structural keystone habit of improving your postural framework which has a cascading domino effect of improving other systems in your body . Now I want to give you 2 more examples. An action keystone habit and a mindset keystone habit. Remember that I will always attempt to have you relate my  information as it applies to all 3 faces of the volcano model.(STRUCTURAL FRAMEWORK, MINDSET and ACTION) That way you will see how the synergy of improving all 3 builds momentum faster and energetically fuels an upward  driving force that pushes you through your obstacles and stresses.

The action keystone habit is exercise. Thousands of research articles published and millions spent each year on demonstrating the positive benefits of exercise. I believe that this is an emperical and universally accepted fact. And yet why everybody doesn’t do it regularly still eludes us. So I am going to have to give you another compelling reason. When you get into a sustainable exercise habit, you will likely get into a better eating habit . Exercise will improve the way you look and feel and your likely not going to choose toeat foods that will cause weight gain or bloating. Because the body puts out endorphins when you exercise, you invariably sleep better too. There are dozens of health benefits linked in with proper sleep habits which we will further explore in upcoming posts.

A healthy keystone mindset habit worth developing is meditation. By committing to daily meditation you facilitate enlisting other mindful habits that rejuvenate  your spirits, reduce stress and promote higher order brain functions like gratitude, compassion and empathy. Meditation also summons the parasympathetic nervous system to activate. These are the neurological circuits responsible for proper digestion , lowering of blood pressure and stimulation of reproductive and immune function. This is in direct contrast to the adrenalin based sympathetic nervous system that is activated in response to stress. The sympathetic nervous system will be explored in detail as I will show how its progressively prolonged stimulation North American culture is linked to many stress related diseases today. In the next blog we shall examine the major opposing forces, obstacles and elements that operate to keep you from ascending upwards towards your objectives and the tools and solutions to overcome them. Stay tuned

What keystone habit could you potentially link up with an already existing positive habit that you currently do automatically? Please share