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How to create Good Study Habits in High school

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We all intrinsically know what the good habits of successful students are. To do well in high school and online school we should finish assignments on time, study, do practice problems - blah blah blah.



But how do you actually build these good study habits - and stick to them? I recently read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear and I wanted to give you that information!

P.S.I highly recommend that you read the entirety of Atomic Habits, because I’ve only mentioned bits and pieces of the book!

1. Assess your current habits

Assess your bad study habits by writing down your "habits scorecard" in a journal.


Before you actually start creating new habits, create a list of habits that you ALREADY do. Clear calls this a “habits scorecard”.

Ex:
  • Wake up at 8:00 (-)
  • Check phone for 20 minutes (-)
  • Brush teeth and make the bed (+)
  • Make breakfast (=)
  • Online school (=)
  • Go on Tik Tok for an hour (-)
  • Homework (+)
  • Etc.

Keep writing all your daily habits until you reach the time when you actually go back to bed at night. The point of this is to get a birds-eye view of all the good student habits you already have and the bad habits you would like to change.

So to assess your current schedule, ask yourself these questions:

Which habits are positive? (Put a + symbol next to them)

Which habits do I need to get rid of? (Put a - symbol next to them)

Which habits are neutral? (Put a = symbol next to them)

What new habits do I want to add in?


2. Create a new schedule 



Now you can create a NEW schedule that you would ideally follow.

Ex:
  • Wake up at 6:00
  • Study before school starts
  • Brush teeth and make the bed
  • Shower
  • Make a healthy breakfast
  • Online school
  • Check phone for a FEW minutes
  • Take a break from assignments. Can take a walk or call a friend
  • THEN start homework
  • And so on.

3. Track these Habits

To implement your ideal schedule, you can use google calendar to implement exact time blocks.

But if you don’t want a perfectly structured day, and want to just start 3-10 new habits, here’s what you can do:

Create a habit tracker, with the habits on the y-axis and the dates on the x-axis as columns, as depicted here. Then color them in each time you complete them and you can make a new one every month!

OR

Download this FREE Habit Tracker, and just print it out!

4. Strategies for implementing these Good habits

You now know exactly what habits you want to have, but how do you actually start these effective student habits - and stick to them? The main principle in the book is to make good habits easy, attractive, obvious, and satisfying.

Use Habit Stacking

To implement habit stacking, create action statements on a piece of paper.

In Clear’s book, habit stacking means doing a new habit with a habit you already do daily. So using the example schedule above, if I already check my phone in the morning, I might use that time to do Quizlet flashcards on my phone. 

Write an action statement like these:

When I make my morning coffee, I'll write down the 3 main assignments/goals I want to get done.

OR

When I check my phone in the morning, I’m going to do 10 minutes of Quizlet flashcards.

OR

As soon as I come home from school, I’ll write down all my due assignments in a digital/online planner.

Pair the habit with something you’re looking forward to

Pair the high school habits you would like to have with something to look forward to - like a podcast.

In his book, James Clear writes about a man who loved watching shows and movies, but he wanted to start exercising more. So, he connected his stationary bike to a computer that would only play Netflix if he was cycling at a certain speed.

You can replicate something similar for your own habits (but without the engineering skills). For example, if you already really enjoy a music album, or listening to a podcast you can pair these things with doing (easier) homework. So every time you want to listen to a specific podcast or album, tell yourself that you can only do it while doing homework.


Some interesting podcasts to listen to:

Supernatural: Scary stories, conspiracy theories, and wild government scandals! The best and most believable episodes are the ones about government scandals, such as the episode “MK-Ultra”.

How I Built this: If you're interested in starting a business or are curious about how large companies like Airbnb, Lush Cosmetics, Lululemon, and others, this is the podcast for you!

Or Immediately reward yourself

Reward yourself immediately after you do a good habit, so you’ll be more likely to continue doing it. Obviously, try making reasonable rewards. So if you do 15 minutes of homework don’t reward yourself with 45 minutes of Netflix.

So to apply this in terms of academic success this is what you can do:

Good Habit 1: Study or use flashcards for 15 minutes each day

Reward: Do something fun at the end of the week!

Good Habit 2: Wake up an hour earlier than class.

Reward: Have time to go outside in the morning.

These are just some examples, so if you have better or more reward ideas comment them down below!

Prime your Environment

Prime your environment to help you stick to your good study habits during online school.

Clear states that if he wants to go on a run the next morning, he makes his environment match this. For example, he might put out his workout clothes, running shoes, headphones, and a water bottle out to make him more likely to go on a run.

How can you apply this to straight As? Well, if you want to study for tests more often, you might place your planner out on your desk so you’ll remember to glance at it. Additionally, if you pull up the Quizlet website on your laptop at night, you’ll be more likely to see it and do it in the morning.

Surround yourself with the people you want to be like

Surround yourself with the people who have the effective habits that you want.


Ever heard of the idea that you’re the 5 people you hang out with the most? Well, that may very well apply to your habits as well - so choose whom you spend your time with wisely.

Obviously, don’t choose your friends 100% based off on their grades - because that’s just weird. What are you, a college admissions office? No, but in all seriousness, having 1 or 2 friends who have good habits or whom you aspire to be, will make keeping your own good habits more attractive and easy.



Ready to create some new student habits? Create a habit tracker and get going!



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How to create effective study habits



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