More than the theory of our subjects, and the technical details, ineffective study habits can keep students from succeeding. A lot of students need to change their study habits.
I wrote an article recently on how studying is like going to gym. SO many students sent me messages saying how much they relate to it. Why? Because they know that their ‘plans’ don’t match their ‘actuals’.
Procrastination, constantly revising our study plans, spending too much time on theory (even though you fully intend to do more questions!), and finding that time seems to ‘slip away’ without us getting as much done. No matter how many classes you go to, these types of challenges will impact your results.
I might feel this way as a lecturer, but do students feel that they need to change their study habits?
Survey: Do you think you need to change your study habits?
I include a survey in my free Study Coaching mailers (you can sign up for the mailers here)
Of 72 students who’ve responded so far, here are the results:
'Simple' isn't always 'easy'
You can see from the survey above that most students aren’t happy with their study habits. Everyone I speak to feels they should be studying more effectively, doing more questions, spending more time at their desk. I come across hundreds of students who are trying to be ‘better’ with their habits. (I just can’t get all of them to complete a survey!)
So? Just change then! Most of us have some idea of the types of changes we’d like to make. So WHY CAN’T WE DO IT!? Week after week, promise after promise, personal goal after personal goal, and we still seem to be hanging to the same old habits, looking back at the week wondering why we didn’t do things ‘better’.
This is embarrassing. We don’t want to admit how ‘weak’ we are. This is also why students won’t ask for help. They don’t want to admit that these seemingly obvious changes are beyond them. Often, they focus more and more on the subject contents and detail, feeling that this is the logical decision.
We should just ‘decide’ to change, and then do it! Why do we struggle, and keep failing at our intended changes?
Changing habits - Make small changes
I chatted to Daniël Maree about ‘micro habits’. We underestimate the value of making small changes, and the compound effect of them.
In this part of the chat, he gave us some practical advice on tracking small changes, and the value of small changes.
Study Coaching - How can I help you?
A big part of what I do with my study coaching students is to help them change their habits.
The ‘theory’ of the habits
Very importantly, I explain WHY and WHAT changes need to be made, in line with your study objective (ie: Passing the exams!). Students often cling to habits, without consciously asking if these are going to get them to their goal. The habits may have been created when pursuing different goals, are they still valid for your new goals?
It’s one thing to know what to change, but we generally need someone following up with us, we need accountability. This is where I help. My students are happy to have someone ‘chasing’ them, waiting for them to give feedback (eg: what they studied, how long, whether it was according to plan) and intervene when they feel like they’re falling apart. (It’s like having a personal trainer waiting for you at the gym!)
What about how much time this takes?
I follow the approach of micro habits. I want you to change and improve your very next study session. Bit by bit. We can’t make ALL the changes at once. It accumulates. Other than a video or two on the theory of the habit (from my online course), you include the next change in your next study session, and give me feedback tomorrow.
Changing habits is tough. We feel like we should be able to do this alone, but if we really aren’t doing it, ask for help.