Do you often find that you don’t have enough time to study? You are not alone and many students are faced with this. Procrastination is often the cause for the students’ lack of time for studying and one way to address procrastination is to form good habits. In this article, I am going to share the three principles behind the formation of good habits.
1. Make the Habit Visible
In order to form good habits, the first thing we need to be clear what are the current habits that we practise every day. For example, on a daily basis, some of us will follow the habits of brushing our teeth, washing our faces, running on the treadmill, etc. By making the habits explicit and being aware, we can then think of inserting new habits at appropriate junctures in our daily routine. For example, students may want to form a new habit of studying for an hour straight after having their shower which make them refreshed.
2. Make The Habit Enticing and Satisfying
We all need to feel motivated to perform the habit. Getting a reward after completing a new habit makes it enticing and allow us to feel motivated. To do this, one has to link an action you want to do with an action you need to do. For example, after studying for an hour (action that you need to do), you will check on the social media (action that you want to do).
3. Make the Habit Simple
Many of us give up on habits because we find it difficult to do it on a continuous basis. For example, you want to lead a healthy lifestyle and hence have set aside an hour of exercise time each day, 7 times a week. However, as you have never exercised regularly before, trying to exercise 7 times a week will prove too difficult for you and you will probably choose to give up on the habit. Hence in order for one to start on a new habit, it has to easy at the start and then increase the difficulty level as one progresses. One way to do this is to use “The 2 Minute Rule” which is to downscale the version of the habit into two minutes or make it a much simpler action to perform at the start and then progressively increase the difficultly level. For example, if you want to form a habit of studying every day, applying the 2 Minute rule, it will be something like studying one page of your notes (a very light version of forming the habit of studying) everyday progressing into studying 3 pages of your notes every day and then eventually progressing to studying one chapter every day. Another way is to have one-time actions that will make your implementation of your habit easy. For example, setting a recurring alert on your handphone to study is an example of a one-time action.
Remember these 3 simple rules and you are on your way to form good habits!