We’ve officially entered the New Year and you have probably gone ahead and set a few new years resolutions. I do hate to break it to you though… most resolutions don’t make it much further than mum’s Christmas pudding did last week.
There’s a reason for this. Whenever you decide to change something about yourself, you usually do something big like “I’ll study for 2 hours a day” or “I will go to the gym 4 days a week”. Achieving this takes massive reserves of willpower and motivation because it is not a current habit.
The problem is we think that massive results follow massive change when the exact opposite is true. If you think about how people operate day-to-day, most of the stuff is automated. Have you ever thought about why you put your pants on with the right leg first or brush your teeth in a particular pattern?
What your brain has done for these habits is create neural pathways that don’t take motivation to achieve.
Great! But how does this help when I have an essay to write?!?!
Don’t panic, its actually pretty simple.
I’ll give you an example of a habit that I have. After I eat breakfast I log into the admin panels of my websites. I’m not committing to do any work at this point but I am starting the automation process and you know what? When I see that page open I feel compelled to do something.
One of the biggest things to remember when implementing a strategy like this is that you should anchor the activity to an existing habit that you always do. This will help you achieve consistency.
Starting a new habit doesn’t have to be hard. What you are aiming to do is to start the automation process. You already know how to study and what to do at work, the part where most people struggle is in forming the new habit. You don’t need to make the change hard, just often. Something little like “When I walk through my front door I will open my books and put them on the dining room table.”
The repetition of this activity will have you at least doing something study related – which over time will prime you to want to just sit down and study as you build up more momentum.
Forming the right habits is what will be the difference between doing okay in HSC English and really nailing that essay on ‘Belonging’.
Got a great idea for a new habit? Share it with us in the comments below!
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