• Vernon C. Lindsay, PhD

Subject: Your Habits


Dear Student,

How are you? We are four weeks into the semester, and you've taken two exams. I am writing to you today to get you to reevaluate your habits.

I am reading James Clear’s book Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones. No, I am not reading this book to fulfill an academic research project. It's in my library because I am interested in personal development.

Making time to read is a critical discipline for anyone looking to experience growth in their life.

You should have a habit of reading books that enrich your mind, body, and spirit. James Clear’s book is an incredible resource that can facilitate more awareness of your productive and less productive activities.

I understand your primary goal is to do well this semester. To perform better on tests and develop comprehension, you need to have a consistent schedule that includes time dedicated to studying the material. Reading academic texts, reviewing your professor’s PowerPoint slides, watching videos, and quizzing yourself with multiple-choice questions should happen on every day of every week.

You will not be able to dedicate the same amount of time to your studies each day, but you should make some measurable progress in comprehension. This intense approach to school is not easy. Read on to learn how you can make it a bit more feasible.

In Clear’s book, one of the suggestions he makes with regards to creating positive habits includes the idea of stacking. By stacking, James Clear insists we should add the desired action to something we already do every day.

Let me explain further.

For example, if you enjoy drinking coffee in the morning, think about how you can use the coffee as a trigger to review lecture notes. Instead of waiting by the coffee maker for the coffee to brew, grab your notebook or electronic device, and place it where you will sit. Once the coffee is in your mug, grab it, and sit in your favorite seat.

Now, begin PUTTING IN THE WORK!

That process of getting your morning coffee is your signal to review. If you can discipline yourself to do this every day, studying in the morning can become automatic behavior.

Maybe, you don’t drink coffee. I want you to think about something you do regularly without much thought or effort. After, you've identified that activity, begin to think about how you can incorporate actions aligned with academic progress.

When I see you again later this week, we can talk more about this in person. For the sake of time and brevity, I want you to create a list of your daily habits. From this list, think about how you can use these actions to serve as indicators to invest more of your time in your studies.

If you're finding that you are spending more time on social media, than you would like, avoid it as much as possible. Delete all social media apps from your phone. Focus your attention on identifying your habits and the methods that can help you improve as a student. Pick up James Clear’s book by clicking here.

Learn more about personal development by enrolling in my self-paced online course by clicking here.

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