Study Smart And Control Your Study Habits
Study Smart And Control Your Study Habits
Did you know that your habits can actually ruin your entire life if you don’t control and direct them correctly? Did you know that your habits are actually more influential over your entire personality and behavior than anything else? Well, they are! And that’s why you need to understand your own habits and start using them to your advantage.
Are you aware of the fact that the actions and behaviors you engage in every day are merely a result of your established habits? You may believe that (for example) how you interact with your family and friends, how often you exercise, how much television you watch, what you eat every day, what activities you enjoy, and virtually everything you do are a result of a conscious decision you are making – but they’re not! They are all a result of your habits. Consequently, it would be fair to say that your habits are dictating your life – for better or for worse!
A habit is an action or behavior you engage in that has taken place without conscious thought – it’s automatic behavior. Your brain constantly creates these automatic behaviors so that it doesn’t have to make decisions about each action constantly. This is known as creating “routines”. Examples of routines are things like driving a car, riding a bike, using a knife and fork, running, jumping, eating a banana, brushing your hair, doing your makeup, and so on and so forth (this list is literally endless). You don’t have to learn how to do these things every day – they just happen on auto pilot (we hope!)
There are three elements required to create a routine that creates a habit. They are: cue (such as “I’m hungry”), routine (such as “I’ll eat a cookie”) and reward (“I’m full and content”). When anyone passes through this sequence enough times (cue, routine and reward) they will create a habit. This sequence is called the habit loop.
The problem with habit loops is that habits don’t always help you. In fact they regularly make things harder for you! You see, your brain understands the cue, the routine and the reward, but it doesn’t know whether the habit you are creating is good or bad for you. To the brain it’s merely a cue, a routine and a reward – and the response is always automatic.
But unfortunately the bad news doesn’t end there. Habits are actually powerful enough to overrule everything – including your common sense and your conscious thought. So, if you have a smoking addiction and want to quit but “can’t” stop, it’s because your habits are overriding your desire to quit. The cue keeps coming up (in this case it could be “I am stressed out or I need a cigarette or I need a nicotine hit”) and a routine and reward must always follow the cue. The habit loop must be closed or the cue will get stronger and stronger.
The good news is that now that you understand habit loops and how habits emerge you can use that information to your advantage! If you can identify your routines and loops you can also easily identify the solution. You see, the golden rule of habits is that by changing only the routine (thereby leaving the cue and reward the same) you can forever transform the habit.
In order to change a habit you must address the craving you have by inserting a new behavior. All else must remain constant. In practice, changing habit loops work like this: you have a cue (I’m hungry), then you have a routine (eat a cookie), and then you have a reward (I’m full). But remember, when changing the loop, the cue and reward always stays constant but the routine changes. So, you simply change the routine. Cue (I’m hungry), routine (eat an apple – not a cookie), and gain your reward (I’m full).
In this case we have used a simple example of eating an apple instead of a cookie. This is obviously simplifying the habit. But the process is the same. The loop is always the same. There is a cue, a routine and a reward. Focus on changing your routine and you will transform your habit. It truly is that simple – and that difficult!
Now that you understand habits and how to transform them it is up to you to do something about yours. If you want more time, change your routines. If you want better results, change your routines. If you want to get fit, change your routines. If you want more money, change your routines. You have now been shown that you have total control over your actions and it’s up to you to get to work on those habits that aren’t helping you. Don’t forget that your habits will undoubtedly determine your success. So what are you going to do about it? Good luck!
Study Smart And Control Your Study Habits
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The ability to remember a vast amount of data and information is vital to students and can truly be the difference between passing and failing a subject. So it’s no wonder that there is so much focus on maximizing our memory ability!
But how does our memory actually work? How come we can remember some information without any effort at all (often useless information like the names and theme songs of the cartoons we watched when we were children) yet often we when really want to remember certain things for tests or assignments we draw a blank?
The truth is, our memory works in precisely the manner that it is supposed to work. The real issue is that we have very little understanding (or no understanding at all) of the way it operates and how we can manipulate it to our advantage.
The approach that most students take to memorization (re-reading information or repeating information many times over) is not consistent with the way that the mind creates memory recall. Nonetheless, we just keep on using this technique desperately hoping that something will stick! Unfortunately, while you may retain some small amounts of data this way, it’s a really silly approach when you understand how your memory really works.
Accessing the amazing power of your memory is about understanding how it works and then using that information to ensure you can remember whatever you want to remember.
There are many techniques you can use to improve your memory recall but today’s lesson is about just one of them – the “What’s in it for me” method. This method states that the more you can make something relate to you personally, the more about it you will be able to remember.
When it comes to memory, your brain always wants to know “How does this relate to me?” or put even more simply “Why should I even bother storing this as a memory?”
The fact is, if something seems important to you personally, you will be more likely to remember it – and you’ll also remember it more vividly and in far greater detail.
Don’t believe me? Think about it. What things do you remember? Those things that have some direct impact on your life (like what time you need to meet your friends at the movies this weekend) or those things that have zero impact on your life (like your mom’s favorite ice cream flavor?) You remember those things, people, places, prices, products and details of anything that is going to impact your life in some way.
I’m not suggesting this happens because you want it to happen. It’s just a natural part of being human – it’s on autopilot. When something is significant to you, the memory of it sticks. But it’s not enough to understand this rule. You also need to apply it to your studies don’t you? So let’s see how this can help you improve your recall.
If you are learning about something like economic trends (yawn!), imagine how those may impact on your ability to go and buy a new pair of jeans (i.e. your personal buying power as a consumer – yawn again!) Or perhaps think about how it may impact on your ability to get a high paying job after school.
If you are learning about other cultures (for example) you can simply compare their culture to your own. In what ways does the culture differ from your own? In what ways does it match? In what ways is it kind of similar but not really? Asking yourself these questions may seem silly but the more questions you can ask that are actually about you, the more you will remember.
If you are trying to remember names and dates just focus on how do these names and dates relate to you. Ask yourself, “Do I know anyone by those or similar names? Do I like the name for some reason or do I think it’s a weird name? Why is that? Did the people or dates that I have to remember ever impact my life in any way? Did anything happen on those dates that relates to me personally?”
The point is, take what you need to learn and make it about you. Most people enjoy being self-centered anyway so just extend on your natural inclination! The more you make it all about you and relate it back to yourself the more easily you will build memory traces and improve your memory recall. Give it a try, it really works. Good luck.
How To Study Effectively: Why Being Self-Centered Will Make Your Memory Soar
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