What are Your Keystone Habits

“Motivation is what gets you startet. Habit is what keeps you going.” (Jim Ryun)

You undoubtedly have many good and bad habits, and you know how difficult it is to change them. Charles Duhigg argues that we especially need to understand our ‘keystone habits’. These are so crucial that when they change, a whole series of other patterns shift along with them. They are, in a sense, levers on which everything else hangs.

Example of a Keystone Habit

Take, for instance, the habit of making your bed every morning. It may seem like a small action, but it can trigger a chain reaction of productivity and enhanced well-being. It's not directly the making of the bed itself that causes these effects, but it indirectly sets off other positive habits.

Insights from Research

Duhigg emphasizes the importance of keystone habits with research. For example, it has been shown that in families where it is customary to have a family dinner together, children generally perform better at school, manage their emotions better, and have more self-confidence.

Strategische aanpak om gewoontes te veranderen

Instead of focusing on eliminating bad habits, it might be more effective to identify and improve your keystone habits. Because if you change something there, you suddenly have the key to change everything else… if you want to, of course. For instance, if you establish a habit of exercising more, you may find that you also start eating healthier and watching less television. Beware, the reverse can also happen: you have the habit of snacking which might lead you to laze around on the couch instead of exercising. Identifying and tackling such negative keystone habits can be just as important.

Hoe identificeer je sleutelgewoontes?

Start thinking about habits that have a major impact on various aspects of your life. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Which habit, if I changed it, would have the greatest impact on other habits?
  • Are there recurring actions that distinguish days when I am successful from less successful days?

In Conclusion

Reflect on these insights and think about the keystone habits you would like to develop or change. What other (bad) habits might disappear as a result? Share your insights and stories.


  • Duhigg Charles, The Power of Habit, Why We Do What We Do and How to Change it, Random House, 2012.
  • Dr. Casteleyn Brenda, Hoe was je dag? 50 Inspirerende wandelingen voor meer diepgang in je relaties, Borgerhoff & Lamberigts, Gent, 2021, blz. 68-69.
Voordelen van onzekerheid

The Meaning of Uncertainty: 7 Reasons Why Uncertainty is Good for You

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller1

Spontaneity and improvisation are fun – like on vacation, for example – when you don't have to plan anything and can just do what you feel like. But in your daily life, you still like to know what to expect and what lies ahead. Where will you go on vacation this year? And what will you do during the holidays? You love surprises, but only if they are pleasant, right?

However, uncertainty can have its advantages. Here are seven reasons why uncertainty can actually be good for you.  

1. It promotes your flexibility

Uncertainty forces you to adapt to new situations. Remember that time you had to take an unexpected detour and how you quickly found a new route? Such a challenge forces you to respond quickly and efficiently in unforeseen situations. This experience teaches you that you can be flexible.   

2. It stimulates your creativity

If you're not prepared for what's coming, you often can't rely on your tried-and-tested methods. You are forced to think outside the box and improvise. This can lead to more creativity. It's like cooking without a recipe, and maybe you'll discover a surprising but delicious new flavor combination that you would have never considered otherwise.

3. You learn to let go better

Uncertainty also teaches you that not everything is within your control. Think of the times when things went differently than you expected. By accepting that some things just happen, you can embrace the flow of life and let go more easily.

4. You are more in the now

An uncertain future teaches you to appreciate the present moment. This can lead to a deeper awareness of the now and a greater appreciation for the small things in life, such as appreciating an unexpected sunny day or enjoying an unplanned visit.

5. It strengthens your problem-solving ability

Uncertainty is like a mental workout. It challenges you to solve problems in new ways, thereby strengthening your thinking and adaptability. So, you become not only more creative but also more efficient in finding solutions.

6. It encourages self-discovery

When you are faced with uncertainties, you may also be confronted with yourself. You are then forced to set priorities and thus you can discover what is really important to you and what values you want to uphold.  

7. It builds your resilience

Uncertainties often go hand in hand with fears. By facing these fears, you build inner strength. And this resilience helps you to face future challenges with more confidence.

In Conclusion

The uncertainties and inherent unpredictabilities of life offer you opportunities for growth, learning, and authentic living. When you face uncertainty again, remind yourself that this is an opportunity for personal development.

When has uncertainty enriched you or brought a new dimension to your life?

  1. Helen Keller (1880-1968) was an American author and activist. Deaf and blind from the age of 19 months, she overcame these limitations with the help of her teacher Anne Sullivan. Keller became the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and was an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
Persoon met uitstelgedrag

Recognize and Overcome Your Procrastination: What Type of Procrastinator Are You?

Who isn't familiar with procrastination? For me, it's primarily household chores that get left behind, piles of unironed laundry staring at me accusingly. I just keep pushing it off. But did you know there are different types of procrastination and that each requires its own specific approach? Below, we explore the most common types and how you can outsmart them.

1. The Perfectionist

Type: As a perfectionist, you're always afraid that the result won't be absolutely perfect. This can lead to paralysis. Or you keep tweaking your work, and so you never really make progress.   

Strategy: It can be helpful to set concrete and achievable goals and aim for 'good enough.' Establish a timeframe within which you'll complete the task and remind yourself that you can always make improvements after the work is done. This clears the way to finish your projects without getting caught in endless revisions.

2. The Dreamer

Type: Are you a dreamer who is good at coming up with ideas and plans but finds it difficult to execute them? Perhaps your project remains a beautiful plan in your head, never materializing into a result.

Strategy: Break your pattern by working with action plans. Write down all the tasks and set deadlines. Then focus on one project at a time and commit to a small daily effort towards your goal.

3. The Burnout Procrastinator

Type: If you feel overwhelmed by even the smallest tasks, you often don't know where to begin. Everything seems too much, and so you might decide it's better not to begin at all. Your procrastination stems from deep fatigue and feeling like your batteries are drained.

Strategy: Use the five-minute rule: start by breaking the task into smaller, more manageable pieces and spend only five minutes on a task. Often that's enough to break the lethargy and find the motivation to continue. Also, ensure adequate recovery and rest between tasks.

4. The Bore-out Procrastinator

Type: It could also be that your tasks don't challenge you. Boredom is your enemy. You find your tasks dull and meaningless. The absence of challenge and engagement leads you to apathy and hence procrastination.   

Strategy: Think of ways to make your tasks more enjoyable or exciting, for example, by linking them to your passions or by adding an element of competition or reward.

5. The Crisis-Maker

Type: Do you need an adrenaline rush to spring into action? You work best under pressure, and therefore you postpone your tasks until the last moment. Only when the stakes are high do you feel sufficiently motivated to perform.  

Strategy: Set earlier deadlines and share these with an accountability partner to create a sense of urgency. Link the completion of tasks to another goal or reward.

6. The Risk Avoider

Type: If you have a fear of failure, it can lead to you continually postponing tasks. The idea that you might fail then becomes paralyzing.

Strategy: It can help to adjust your expectations and thus work on your self-confidence. You can break the task into smaller tasks that you're sure you can handle, and thus gradually build up to more difficult tasks. Understand also that failure is part of the learning process.

7. The Improviser

Type: If you're disorganized, this can lead to procrastination because you have no control over your time and priorities. Maybe you find improvisation and spontaneity important, and thus you find planning tedious. Or you can't decide what you want to tackle, and thus you flit from one task to another without a clear goal.

Strategy: Cherish your spontaneity and improvisation but also bring some order to the chaos by developing a clear daily routine or using planning tools to organize your tasks. Prioritize activities and become aware of how you spend your time. This can help to find a balance between flexibility and structure.

In Conclusion

Of course, the nature of your task can also present additional challenges. Complex and difficult tasks are a challenge for all types, as are boring tasks or tasks that don't suit you. A universal strategy is to break the task into subtasks and create an action plan. Additionally, look for ways to make it fun, exciting, or urgent.

So what type of procrastinator are you? Do you recognize yourself in any of these descriptions? Take these insights and see if you can apply them to your daily life. Perhaps you'll find a new way to approach your tasks that helps you overcome procrastination. Try out different strategies and see which works best for you.

Meer doen in minder tijd

7 Tips to Achieve More in Less Time (Part 2)

Here are seven more tips that can help you make the most of your time. Not necessarily to do more, but to spare some time for what truly matters in life.

1. Start Early or Work Later than Others

The morning hours are often the quietest and least distracting. By waking up early, you can take advantage of this peaceful time to tackle your most important tasks without interruptions. Early birds often say they have their most productive hours before the rest of the world wakes up. On the other hand, if you're more of a night owl, you can benefit from the hours when others have gone home. These hours can also be quiet, allowing for concentrated work.

2. Regular Physical Exercise

Exercise not only stimulates your body but also your mind. Whether it's a morning jog, an afternoon walk, or a short stretching break, physical activity can help refresh you and boost your concentration. Moreover, it helps to reduce stress. Combine this tip with the pomodoritechnique, or make your breaks active.

3. Eat Healthily

Nutrition plays a crucial role in your cognitive functions and energy levels. By opting for nutritious meals and snacks, you provide your body and mind with the fuel needed to function effectively. My mother knew this better than anyone. Especially during exams, she would serve the healthiest snacks. So, try to eat regular meals and avoid excessive caffeine or sugar.

4. Break Down Large Tasks into Smaller Steps

A large project can seem daunting. By breaking it into smaller, manageable tasks, you can focus on completing each step individually. This also creates a sense of accomplishment with each task completed. Combine this tip with good planning.

5. Set Clear Deadlines

Deadlines can serve as a powerful motivator. Even if there's no external deadline, setting your own can help you stay on track and be accountable for your progress.

6. Gebruik de Twee Minuten Regel

This simple rule suggests that if a task takes less than two minutes to complete, you should tackle it immediately. This prevents small tasks from piling up and eventually taking up a lot of time.

7. Surround Yourself with Motivated People

While tip 1 advises you to work when it's quiet and there aren't too many people to distract you, it's a different story when you have people around whose energy and attitude positively influence your mindset. Surrounding yourself with motivated and positive individuals can indeed draw inspiration and motivation from their enthusiasm and drive.

Do you have any other tips to increase your efficiency? Share them below.

Meer doen in minder tijd

7 tips to accomplish more in less time (part 1)

"People who think that time is money usually only realize on their deathbed that their time is up but their money isn't." ― Alexander Pola

Have you ever felt like time was slipping through your fingers, even in the midst of retirement expectations or the hustle of your daily life? I vividly remember eagerly anticipating my retirement, expecting a sea of time lying ahead. Ironically, it seems that my schedule is now busier than ever before. Time is more precious than ever, and this awareness has led me to contemplate how we can do more in less time.

Fortunately, there are strategies you can apply to increase your productivity. Here are the first seven tips that can help you make the most of your time. Not necessarily to do more, but to have time left for what truly matters in life.

1. Make a plan and set priorities

It might seem contradictory when you have little time to spend a quarter-hour planning. However, without doing so, you lose a lot of time and energy hopping aimlessly from one task to another. Imagine that, through thoughtful planning, you discover that the work you do for one task is actually the key to success for another. By setting the right order, you can create synergy between tasks and handle them more efficiently. This prioritization prevents you from getting stuck in the multitude of small tasks that may not be essential and lead to a loss of time.

2. Avoid multitasking

This tip applies to both men and women. Even if you think you can do multiple things at once, it's actually an illusion. Instead of multitasking, you're constantly switching from one task to another. It's not surprising that studies have shown multitasking actually reduces your productivity. Concentrating on a single task leads to fewer mistakes and improves the quality of your work. Better focus also makes you work faster.

3. Take regular breaks or use the Pomodoro technique

Named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer used by its creator, this Pomodoro  technique involves working intensively on a task for 25 minutes and then taking a 5-minute break. These short, focused work periods can help you avoid distractions and keep your energy level high. Taking breaks is not only a well-deserved breather, but it also allows you to stay fresh and alert, increasing your productivity throughout the day.

4. Minimize distractions

To work with focus, it's important not to be distracted. If a background radio distracts you, turn it off. But more importantly, turn off your phone and all digital distractions. Each notification requires your attention and, therefore, time. Ensure you have a quiet workspace so that you aren't disturbed, or inform others that you are working.

5. Learn to say 'No'

It's easy to get overwhelmed when trying to please everyone. By learning to set boundaries and saying 'no' to tasks or obligations that don't align with your goals or priorities, you take care of your well-being and productivity. If you've made a priority list, you can easily refer to it to frame your 'no.'

6. Use technology

There are many digital tools designed to increase your productivity. Apps like Trello help you manage projects, Todoist helps you track task lists, and Google Calendar can assist you in managing your time. Choose the tools that best suit you and integrate them into your daily routine. However, remember that technology is a tool, not a goal in itself. It's an art to find the right balance so that technology actually enhances your productivity without overwhelming you.

7. Schedule regular reflection moments

Periodic self-evaluation can help you refine your approach and identify any obstacles. So, when you're extremely busy, take some time to reflect on what works and what doesn't so that you can adjust your strategies and optimize your productivity. This prevents you from running around like a headless chicken from one task to another.

In conclusion:

These tips reveal that working faster is actually a good balance between planning and reflecting on one side and working concentrated on the other. Speed is achieved by also slowing down occasionally and taking breaks, or as the French saying goes: 'reculer pour mieux sauter,' which means 'to step back in order to jump better.' Therefore, at the end of each week or month, take the time to look back on your achievements. Consider what went well, what could be improved, and what changes you can make to make the next period even more productive. By consciously choosing where you invest your time and energy, you can have time left for the enjoyable aspects of life.

Next week, we'll bring additional tips in part 2. Meanwhile, do you have any tips for doing more in less time? Share them below...

Artificiële Intelligentie tools voor dummies

Artificial Intelligence for dummies: 7 awesome free tools even your grandma can use

“The greatest innovations are the ones that make life easier, not more complicated.” - Unknown

Are you looking for free Artificial Intelligence tools? Or do all those reports about AI scare you off? Perhaps you are not very technically inclined and, like me, you sometimes had the greatest difficulty in having to work with a new program again. Then I have good news, because with Artificial Intelligence everything just becomes easier. Nowadays you can use the most exotic applications without much technical knowledge. I would like to prove that with these 7 Artificial Intelligence tools. for dummies. They are all free tools that do not require you to have any technical knowledge, but are very useful or fun. Are you up for the challenge?

Tool 1. Make your own unique picture

One of the many tools to generate pictures is LexicaYou can have your images generated based on a description in text. For example, I asked to take a photo of a dog wearing sunglasses and a hat and this was one of many images I could choose from:

gratis tool: Afbeelding hond met zonnehoed en bril

Tool 2.Make your own tune

On Beatoven you can click on 'start for free' and then you can choose a title for your tune. Then you indicate how long the tune should last and what tempo. You also choose which genre of music you prefer (rock/pop, etc.) and you can even choose an emotion (eg happy/angry/cheerful). After clicking on all your choices, all you have to do is wait and voila… your own unique tune is created. You can then play it, if you want to download you unfortunately have to take a premium subscription.

If you want to download your music, you can use Soundful On this tool you have to login but for personal use everything is free.

Tool 3. Invent names

Artificial Intelligence is also very nice to get inspiration if you have to come up with a name, for example for your new pet or for your company.

The site Ainamedmypet helps you find a name for your pet. You will first be asked a few questions such as: which pet / some external characteristics / the nature of the animal and in which language do you want the name. Then you will receive a name list with some explanation why the name suits your pet.  

The tool Namelix is great if you're looking for a new name for your business. You just enter a few keywords and a description of your company and you get suggestions for names and logos. I tested it out for the blog butterfly effects and I liked the suggested name 'DropsOfInsight'.

Tool 4. Make your meme

In Supermeme, choose 'start for free' and then you get an input field where you can type in about which you want a meme. I went for "when I try AI tools" and got this meme. You can still adjust the text (translations in this meme: The whole group eagerly awaiting the results of my AI experiment).

Gratis tool: Meme 'als ik AI-tools uitprobeer'

In the tool Imagetomeme you can upload your own pictures to make a meme. Also nice; I made this meme.

Gratis tool Meme boek 'Hoe was je dag'

Tool 5. Have your presentation made

De Gamma-app is echt een geweldige tool als je regelmatig powerpointpresentaties maakt en ook deze is gratis. Je geeft gewoon een onderwerp waarover je een presentatie wil maken en klaar is kees. De tool geeft je dan de keuze voor een sjabloon en een voorstel voor inhoudsopgave. Je kan daar nog iets aan wijzigen of het zo gewoon goedkeuren. En hopsa, je krijgt een mooie powerpointpresentatie, die je kan downloaden en die je dan eventueel nog verder kan aanpassen.  Ik vroeg bijvoorbeeld om een presentatie te maken voor ‘ChatGPT voor beginners’ en dit was de powerpoint.

You can also have a document or web page made with the same app.

Tool 6. Extract informations from a pdf

Let's say you need to read a large PDF to get some information out of it. Or maybe you just want to have your PDF summarized. That is possible with Chatpdf: you download your pdf in it and then you get an input box in which you can ask questions about the pdf. In the free version you are limited to PDFs of a maximum of 120 pages or 10MB per PDF and 3 PDFs per day and 50 questions per day. But that has already helped you a lot if you don't feel like reading everything yourself.

Tool 7. Find an original gift

One of the many tools to help you find a gift is Coolgiftideas. You only need to describe the person you want to surprise with your gift. You then get many ideas.

In Conclusion

Don't forget ChatGPT is also an amazing tool as I explained in an earlier post about Artificial Intelligence. And also keep in mind that the AI ​​world is constantly changing, what is free today can be paid tomorrow. But don't let it stop you from testing one of these fun or handy tools right away. Which tool appeals to you the most?


7 Ways to create a positive ripple effect

Many small ones make a big one (expression)

When you throw a small pebble into the water, ripple patterns are created that spread far out. A small action can have big consequences.

These 7 ways will help you create a positive ripple effect, for yourself or those around you. The 7 techniques all start from small efforts but have a big effect, a 'ripple effect'.

1. The 20-second rule

Why don't you get around to hitting the gym or starting a new habit? According to Shawn Achor - a happiness expert at Harvard University - you lack 'activation energy', that is the energy that sets you in motion. And in his book 'The Happiness Advantage' he explains how you can remedy that with the '20-second rule'. This means that you have to make the threshold to start as small as possible by making sure that you have started within 20 seconds. For example, prepare your sports bag so that you can leave immediately. But you can also use it to break bad habits: put your sweets on a higher shelf so that you always have to take a step to get to them.   

2. The Pareto-principle

Dit werd uitgevonden door de Italiaanse econoom, Vilfredo Pareto die vaststelde dat 80% van de rijkdom bij 20% van de Italiaanse bevolking zat in het begin van de 20th eeuw. Maar deze 80/20 verhouding zag hij ook nog in andere terreinen: wist je dat 20% van al je inspanningen zorgen voor  80% van je resultaten? Door te identificeren welke 20% van je inspanning de grootste resultaten opleveren, kun je je tijd en energie effectiever gebruiken en zo tijd overhouden voor de leuke zaken. Bekijk je to-do lijstje dus voortaan vanuit het Pareto-principe en kies eerst voor de taken met impact. Dat geeft ook een voldaan gevoel zodat de overblijvende taakjes peanuts zullen lijken.

3. The Hawthorne-effect

Dit effect stelt dat mensen zich anders gedragen wanneer ze weten dat ze in de gaten worden gehouden. Het was Elton Mayo die dat in de jaren ’20 van de vorige eeuw ontdekte toen hij in de Hawthorne-fabrieken van general Electric een experiment deed. Hij wilde nagaan of de arbeiders beter zouden presteren wanneer hun omgeving verbeterd werd. Maar wat bleek: zowel de arbeiders in de verbeterde fabriek als de anderen gingen erop vooruit. Het was de aandacht van de  onderzoekers die beiden groepen aanzette tot betere prestaties. Misschien kan je daar eens aan denken als je wil dat je kinderen hun huiswerk maken of als je je partner wil aanmoedigen om huishoudelijke taken te doen.

4. The Zeigarnik-effect

Bluma Zeigarnik was een Russische psychologe (1900-1988), die geheugenexperimenten deed om een veronderstelling van haar promotor -Kurt Lewin- te testen.  Kurt Lewin had op een terras in Berlijn gemerkt dat de obers nog goed wisten wat er geconsumeerd was aan tafeltjes die nog niet hadden afgerekend, maar vrijwel niets meer wisten van de klanten die al wel hun rekening hadden betaald. Zeigarniks experimenten toonden aan dat je beter onthoudt wat nog niet is afgewerkt. Dat klinkt ook heel logisch. Waarom zou je nog onthouden wat al gedaan is?  Dat kan je gemakkelijk gebruiken om piekeren en uitstelgedrag aan te pakken of je motivatie op te krikken. In dit post I will list some tips about this effect.

5. The power of meditation

Often different thoughts and concerns are running through your brain. That makes you stressed and anxious. When you meditate, you become aware of that storm of thoughts and emotions but you only observe them and do nothing with them. By starting every day with a meditation, you relax. You reduce your stress and thus increase your emotional resilience. Moreover, it also has a positive effect on your brain, giving you more focus. When you start each day with a short meditation, you already have a head start to make your day a success.

6. The Law of Parkinson

Northcote Parkinson described how a task can sometimes take much longer simply because more time was allotted. For example, he describes how a woman with a lot of free time spends almost an entire day writing a postcard to her cousin. An hour goes into finding the map, then she has to search for her glasses for an hour, after which she spends another half hour finding her cousin's address. Then she needs an hour and a quarter to think of what to write on the card. Another half hour is lost to decide if she will bring her umbrella to post the card. Finally, there is also a half hour walk to the mailbox.

Dezelfde taak zou een drukbezette vrouw slechts enkele minuten kosten.  De wet van Parkinson stelt dus dat de hoeveelheid werk zich uitbreidt in evenredigheid met de tijd die je ervoor beschikbaar hebt.

You may have experienced this yourself when you started working less and discovered that your household chores now seem to take longer. When you know you have more time, you do things differently, you procrastinate more or you allow yourself to work a little slower. The same applies to your finances: the larger your budget becomes, the more you spend. That explains why saving is sometimes difficult.

So make sure you set a realistic deadline for your tasks and decide in advance how much money you want to save. That way you can outsmart Parkinson's law.

7. Mirror work

What do you say to yourself in the mirror in the morning? Did you see another wrinkle or did you count more gray hairs? Or do you tell yourself you look great? What you say to yourself has a huge impact on your well-being. We are always our own biggest critic, but things can also be different.

Lisa Nichols, een wereldbekende spreker, gebruikte de spiegeloefening om haar depressie te boven te komen nadat ze een destructieve relatie eindigde. De oefening gaat als volgt:  Praat tegen jezelf in de spiegel alsof je tegen je beste vriend praat en zeg de volgende 3 zinnen:

  • ‘state your name’, I am proud of you because… and then list 7 items that you are proud of.
  • 'state your name’, I forgive you for…and list 7 items for which you forgive yourself.
  • “State your name,” I commit myself to you to… and make a bold promise to yourself.

Lisa did this exercise for 30 days and was then able to prove to her doctor that she no longer needed Prozac, but had healed herself. You can watch Lisa's story and her mirror exercise in this. short video .

Welke van deze 7 methoden ga jij deze week eens uitproberen?