The Habit needs very less energy to start study and score good marks in the subjects. Your brain works effortlessly to start and execute the habits. But, you need to develop it through continuous effort and belief systems. In this post, we will guide you to form a good study habit to achieve your goals. In his famous book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg has described the habits in a very efficient way and I suggest that everyone should read this life-changing book.
What is a habit?
When we are able to do our tasks effortlessly, using less brain capacity, those tasks come under habits. Our brain is constantly looking to save efforts during work, hence, habits emerge by doing a task repetitively for many days. Most of the actions we perform each day are not decisions, but a habit. Like brushing teeth, combing hair, eating breakfast, etc.
How does a habit work?
Habit is a three-step loop. Trigger(Cue), Routine, and Reward. For example; when you see your phone (Here phone is a trigger), you automatically open the phone lock and start watching your favorite videos (Here watching videos is your routine), and then you feel joy if the video is entertaining ( Here happiness is your reward).
This loop is continuous and runs the whole day because you have developed the habit of entertaining yourself through videos/movies. Hence whenever you see your phone, it triggers your habits which are related to phones and you automatically start scrolling the phone without even using much brain capacity. Habit is automatic because your brain goes into automatic mode to save effort or energy.
There may be many habits associated with your phone, like scrolling Facebook, Whatsapp, checking emails, etc. You do these tasks with minimal effort of the brain because these are habits and brain goes into automatic mode to perform the task and you do not need much brainpower to perform these tasks. On the other hand, if you see a maths book, it does not trigger to study because you have not developed a proper routine and good reward to study.
Good vs Bad habits
You may differentiate the good and bad habits after properly analyzing the routine. But your brain, when goes to automatic mode during the execution of habits, can’t differentiate between the good and bad habits. So if you have a bad habit, its always be there and you can’t eliminate them until you change your routine to replace bad habits with a good one.
How to create new study habits?
We can create a new habit by putting together all the three components of habit formation: Trigger, routine, and reward. Along with these components, you need a strong belief to form the habit because strong habit formation is not possible until you believe in your routine.
For example: If you want to study mathematics every morning then you need a trigger when you wake up in the morning. A trigger may be a note pasted on the wall near your bed, mirror, bathroom, kitchen, etc. clearly mentioning the topics to study the next morning. When you brush your teeth, you can always see a note on the mirror if you pasted it last night before sleeping, this may work as a trigger to study.
A trigger may also be an alarm along with notes to study maths. You may ask your mother or another family member to wake you up saying its time to study maths. You can keep maths books near your pillow to remind you to study maths the next morning. You can find various other methods to remind you every morning that its time to study mathematics. Now, if you found the trigger to study mathematics every morning, its time to develop a routine to study.
You can easily develop a routine to study if you clearly define the reward along with the strong belief system. If you do not study for many days, you lag behind the syllabus of the subject. This leads to frustration and anxiety, but if you study well and complete the syllabus on time, you will never be frustrated like other students. So, the reward of the study will be accomplishment and happiness.
More reward is waiting in the near future like getting good marks in the subject, clearing competitive exams, and ultimately getting good colleges and excellent job offers. You can define your own reward system like playing games after 3 hours of study, watching movies after completing 1 chapter, eating chocolate every hour of study, etc.
These rewards are always there in the future but you have to believe in yourself. You need to believe that everything is possible. If you study well, you gonna get good marks. You gonna clear the competitive exams. You gonna get the good college and finally grab a good job offer. And ultimately, knowledge never dies, whatever you study will always remain with you and help you in your future. So, the reward of studying hard is limitless.
Belief and Consistency
Now you have trigger, routine, and reward. You also believe in yourself and your routine to get the reward. You will not form habit until you repeat the same step daily for many days. See, your routine becomes habit if you repeat the process daily. You need to tell your brain that study is necessary and it is necessary daily. Believe me, your routine will become a habit and once habit is formed, you will need less power to start your study. It will happen automatically every morning. You need to be consistent in your early days with proper planning.
Changing bad habits
The key to your success is changing your bad habits. And the habit is a three-step loop; the trigger, the routine, and the reward. You cannot change the trigger and reward. For example, if you see your mobile that triggers to open youtube and you start watching your favorite videos to enjoy. Hence, you cannot remove mobile forever (trigger can’t be removed) and you need to be happy/joyful (reward can’t be removed). So, how will you change your habit?. Habit can still be changed by changing the routine.
Do not change a habit, rather, keep the old trigger, and reward, but insert a new routine. So, what can you do if you see your mobile (trigger)?. Do not open youtube or Facebook, etc. Open the notepad in your mobile and see your plans for today and execute the plan. Write the next day’s plan and try to finish your task every day. You will feel joyful (Reward) at the end of the task. You will feel accomplished. You can watch motivational videos instead. Make good use of the internet and the mobile. See, you have changed the routine and still get the joy. This way you can change any of your bad habits. Just replace the old routine with the new one keeping the trigger and reward the same.
In the same manner, an alcoholic person can replace his bad habit by replacing his routine of drinking alcohol by group talking. See the image below for the reference.
If you are addicted to alcohol, you drink(Routine) whenever you feel frustrated (Trigger) and you feel happy (Reward) after drinking alcohol. Now, you can not change the frustration (Trigger) and you need to be happy (Reward can not be changed). But you can change the routine i.e drinking alcohol. Instead of drinking you can organize a social gathering, talk with people, play sports, etc. and in return, you will feel happy. So, here you have inserted a new routine that is being more social to get happiness instead of drinking. Now, your source of happiness is changed.
In the same way, students can always replace their bad habits into the study habits that is more satisfying at the end of the day. This change will not occur within a day. A change needs time, dedication, and belief. So, work hard to become a better version of yourself each and every progressive day by replacing your bad habits into the good one.