Bad habits, we all have them and we all wish we had better ones. I have a tendency to procrastinate and at times it affects my time management on catastrophic levels. All nighters only days before my assessments are due. I actually got a good start on it weeks before so what happened?. Sigh! I’m sure you’ve been there too. so what goes wrong?
Recently whilst studying (procrastinating 🙂 I decided to look up some helpful tips on “Time Management”. Well…that’s my problem right?
My problem is the bad habits I have ingrained into my life that cause me to procrastinate. My Journey led me to explore habits and how to kick the bad ones and replace them with good “I’m so rocking this study thing right now”ones.
I’ve tried introducing new habits into other areas of my life also. I did the “I will exercise everyday habit”. I’ve tried the “I won’t eat bread anymore habit”. It lasts about a week. It’s easy to introduce a new habit but harder to make it stick.
I’m going to explain from my research one effective method that will bring lasting positive change to your study habits and you can use it in all areas of your life that need a little polishing. You will see how easy it can be to kick those bad habits and introduce new awesome effortless habits and keep them. I’m a full-time stay at home mum, part-time student and part-time worker. I use this method and it seriously works.
Why Some Habits Aren’t as Bad as You Think
Just the word HABIT will conjure up all the things we do that are bad for us. First step here is to understand that a habit is something we do repeatedly and they can be good or bad. We need to flip our view of habits. We know the ones that are bad. The consequences of them are hard to avoid. Let us focus on the ones that feel good and make us proud. So let us swap a bad habit for a good one.
Entrepreneur James Clear states “what you repeatedly do/think about/doing each day ultimately forms the person you are”(Clear, J, 2015) He explains that most people will focus on the ultimate goal, an event, a transformation and ignore their habits and routines.
“How in shape, out of shape are you? Result of your habits
How happy, unhappy are you? Result of your habits
How successful, unsuccessful are you? Result of your habits”,(Clear, J , 2015)
The idea is to not put a spotlight on that one defining goal like I want/need to study 15/20 hours a week. It’s better to develop better decisions on a daily basis that will lead you to your desired goal and study time without even thinking about it.
Create a New Habit in Your Routine and Make it Stick
To develop a new habit it is best done by attaching it to an old behaviour(Clear, J, 2015).Think of something you do every single day.
For myself I wanted to add a new habit of studying a couple of hours a night EVERY NIGHT. I had plenty of hit and misses with this one let me tell you. Then I discovered that if I move my study room next to my sons room, every night after I put him to bed (a behaviour I do EVERY NIGHT), I’ll walk the 3 steps into my study room open my laptop and off I go. I found the transition easy and effortless and haven’t looked back since.
Now studying nightly is a new habit and a behaviour that I have also attached another habit to. Daily yoga!
After I put my son to bed every night and walk to my study room I’m also in the habit of laying my yoga mat out before I hit the books. This initially was for my 5 min break. I would stretch and process my thoughts or just go blank. I found that it felt so good and once I repeated the habit a few times attaching it to my study habit was easy. Now this kind of time frame may not work for everybody. However, as a mother I don’t get to choose the time frame. 🙂
It is crucial to remember that small steps to developing a new habit are the key to solidifying it into your daily routine(Entrepreneurismbible.com,2003).
What behaviours do you have that you can attach a little study time to ?
To explain it further Clear(2015) sites the work of Charles Duhiggs author of” The power of Habit” and describes the science of how habits work. Duhiggs 3 R’s in the “Habit Loop” are as follows.
1. Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behaviour).
For me it was putting my son to bed and making the next habitual move to step out of his room and into my study room lay my yoga mat down, open my laptop and begin studying.
2. Routine(the behaviour itself, the action you take)
I now study every night its as natural as brushing my teeth before bed.
3. Reward Yourself (praising yourself can have a positive effect on you and increase the chances of you repeating the same behaviour).
I don’t physically pat myself on the back or say out loud well done!(this may do the trick for you) I do feel pretty chuffed with myself though and I like that feeling of achieving my goals so I always go back for more.
you can check out a pdf of Charles Duhiggs work here http://charlesduhigg.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/A-guide-to-changing-habits.pdf to further your study on habits.
I could go on for hours giving examples of how to initiate a new habit on the tail end of a regular behaviour. However, you are the best expert on your own life patterns and which behaviours and habits will go hand in hand to make them a success. Remember, Habit is not a bad word it’s just something we do repeatedly throughout our daily routine and they can be good or bad. The goal here is to create new good and healthy habits by using a behaviour in your routine that you do every day regardless. If you have a cup of tea in the morning n stretching is the new habit you want to introduce, do three stretches as soon as you finish. Get the idea? Whatever your goal is just mould it in with your daily routine and it will stick.
If your new habit is just an extension of your regular routine then it won’t disrupt your balance to work, study and home life it will only enhance it. Good luck and remember repetition is the key.
“We are what we repeatedly do, Exellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”. Aristotle