Why studying is like going to gym

gym vs studying

Expectation?

We sign up for studies for very similar reasons as the gym contract. We want to improve ourselves and our lives.

We FULLY intend to stick to our commitment. THIS will be the year that we get ourselves healthy, and pass those exams. THIS is it. Everything changes and we’ll be better than last year.

Reality?

We buy the accessories, pay the fees, research the best ways to do it. We start off strong. Newly committed, a sense of purpose. Pretty soon however, life gets in the way. Work, family, crises, exhaustion, things we feel we ‘need’ to do. We procrastinate, find ‘reasons’ not to put in the time, and pretty soon it’s moved way down the priority list, if not shoved off the list for ‘later”, when we’ll have more ‘time’ than we do now. The ‘future’ will somehow be easier than it is now!

Sound familiar!?

Reasons become Excuses

Why do we stop?

Honestly, in a world where there are so many demands on our time, we do the most ‘important’ things. We unconsciously weigh up the cost vs benefit of doing it. If we FEEL like it, we’ll find a reason to stick to that. If we DON’T feel like it, we’ll shift it lower on the priority list, mostly for ‘valid reasons’.

Short-term benefits. 
Shortcuts, life ‘hacks’, ‘quick fixes’. (How many times have we clicked on those articles that promise ‘How to get a six-pack in two weeks’!?) This is because if we feel instant results, we’re more likely to do it. It must be quick, easy, with guaranteed results. If the exam is still a few months away, then there’s no ‘short term’ benefit to studying tonight.

Life gets in the way. 
Work, family, social obligations, exhaustion are some of the most common reasons students don’t study consistently. These are all a reality of life. They’re valid demands on our time. But should we study in the time ‘left’ after all these?! (That’s like saying you’ll ‘save’ the money you have left at the end of the month!) Is there EVER a ‘better’ time to fit it in?

We really believe in ‘later’
Somehow, we honestly believe that tomorrow, next week, next month, will be different to today. We’ll have more time, more energy and it will be easier to study. As a lecturer, this is the message I get EVERY time I ask students how their studies are going. “I’m on a busy audit this week. Once it’s finished…”, “I’ve been working some overtime, but won’t next week”, “I’ve scheduled study leave”; “There are Public Holidays coming up” etc. They NEVER write it off completely. It’s always pushed out to later. They TOTALLY plan to do it. But ‘later’. (Mostly, this comes down to ‘cramming’ the week before the exam, when they suddenly find time to squeeze it all in!

Accountability helps. A LOT.

I’ve been lecturing for over a decade. I’ve found ways to explain topics simply and quickly. I’ve found loads of ways to make student’s study time way more effective. Does it really work?
Not so much. Why? Because until the student has DONE the attempt themselves, it’s only ever going to be a hypothetical knowledge. Sure, it LOOKS easy when I do it, I’ve done it for years. You’ll only know what you’re doing (or whether you can do it!) once you’ve tried it yourself. And THAT requires you to do questions. Which you don’t make time for!

Honestly, what works the most, is accountability. When students have to be in a class at a certain time. When they HAVE to submit an assignment for their yearmark. When they have a call with me. When they know I’m waiting for them to submit something to me. These things push the studying up the priority list in the short term. All of a sudden, the exam date isn’t the deadline. It’s the next two days. The ‘cost’ of not studying is now getting a nagging email from their lecturer, or not getting exam entry.

This is why I’ve started Study Coaching for students. I KNOW they can get through the content. In all the years I’ve lectured, I’ve found very few students who have genuinely not been able to get it right. It’s the consistency, habits, time limits, life challenges, mindsets, fears. THESE are the things that students struggle with the most.

Study Coaching is like having a personal trainer

Having a personal trainer WAITING for you at the gym at a specific time means you’re WAY more likely to squeeze the time into your schedule. (It was the only thing that worked for me!)

This is why I do study coaching. On top of the mindset, exam technique and study habits, my students have to send me lists of what they’ve done. EVERY DAY!

Email me: yvonne@yvonneventer.com

2 comments on “Why studying is like going to gym

  1. MG

    CTA at Unisa struggling with tax and Mac I’m panicking. Any advice

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