Productivity Arata! First of all, why do we need to develop the habit of studying every day? This is especially important for those who want to study but who feel it is very hard to keep to a study schedule. SO, maybe you need to study on a daily basis, but you end up forgetting. Or sometimes you are such in a rush that suddenly it is time to go to sleep, and you did not find a moment to study. Maybe you feel lazy, or someone invites you to an event, and you figure you can study when you return home (and you don’t!). If these scenarios describe your study life, then you are already in the group of people who need to develop the habit of daily study. And the reason? Habit is necessary because willpower is limited.
1. Willpower is a scarce resource.
People who get all hyped up for a short period of time and then give up and go on to search for the next shiny object already know this. The problem is not about having initial enthusiasm—the problem is maintaining that enthusiasm over time. Our hectic lifestyles make us postpone our desired task for later. (In this case, we think we will study later, but that never happens.)
In addition to busy-ness, there are also moments when we just cannot conjure up the energy to get things done, and we procrastinate. Some days we experience some sort of frustration, a stressful episode that depletes us emotionally. These things also deplete our motivation to study.
The bottom line is that different external factors (rush, laziness, stress) end up consuming our willpower. There is research study that reports the following: scientists called some participants to solve logical reasoning exercises. The experimental room had that delicious smell of cookies that had just come out of the oven, and a jar of those cookies sat on the table. Half of the participants were allowed to eat the cookies in the jar, and the other half were told not to eat them. They were given radish to nibble instead.
And the result? The group that had to expend willpower not to eat the cookies had no willpower to participate in the exam for a long time. On average they gave up problem-solving after only eight minutes. They could not concentrate.
But those who were allowed to eat the cookies spent about 19 minutes on the problem before giving up. That is, perseverance was higher in the group that did not waste willpower on having to hold off eating the cookies in front of them. You may remember from episode 39, that perseverance is a key element for those who want to study and learn.
2. When you spend your willpower elsewhere, it is more difficult to study.
For teaching purposes, you can imagine that every day you wake up with a little bucket full of willpower. The events of your day will determine how quickly this little bucket empties. Sometimes you just go to sleep, and the next day the bucket has refilled, but sometimes days or weeks can go by and the bucket will remain empty.
That’s why you see people who diet and manage to lose weight because of willpower, but if it some accident happens in the family, if they go through a breakup or experience some professional frustration, what happens? The person loses self-control and may go back to bad eating habits, and he or she will get fat again. Willpower has been exhausted. The little bucket was empty.
3. When you create habits, you will not need to spend willpower.
To really form a habit, you need to download and read the free eBook that I wrote for you. Just visit the link here.
Take note: The most important tip of all is to prioritize.
Do you eat every day? Do you sleep every day? Do you brush your teeth every day? These are not optional. They are things that you always do, regardless of the weather, of being busy, of being happy or sad. You have to elevate your study to this priority level. No matter what happens, you will study and that is it, period. This is non-negotiable.
Listen: If you do not prioritize, you will always have some excuse for not studying. There will always be a change of plans. Someone will ask you to do something. There will be some unexpected event. Isn’t it funny? That unexpected events are to be expected? That is it!
Pay attention: without prioritizing, you will always be distracted by “unexpected” events.
How can we protect ourselves against the unexpected? By prioritizing.
During study time, you are making the study your top priority. If the phone rings, you do not answer. It may be that sexy date calling you. Irrelevant. It may be a TV show calling to give you free money. You are not interested. By the way, turn off the phone. Nothing else matters because you are in your precious study session. People will wait. If someone in your house says something to you, or calls you to see something interesting on television, you do not answer. In fact, you tell everybody in advance that you will be studying, and you close the door. Or better yet, you leave home and go to a library.
If you choose to study with your mobile phone on, with Facebook open, if you study in the middle of the room with your entire family around and with the television on—oh, come on! Don’t you see that you’re basically ASKING to be interrupted? The unexpected is totally to be expected in this situation.
Remember to download the eBook, How to Create and Change Habits, which is freely available for you to download here.
Extra tip: If a particular day is really complicated and you cannot study, do not skip it because you cannot do it perfectly. If you do not have those 90 minutes you always dedicate to your study, don’t choose to do nothing at all. Instead, find a way to squeeze in at least 30 minutes, which is better than nothing. Or ten minutes. Or five minutes.
But NEVER, EVER let the day pass without performing the ritual of doing the activity. Remember the calendar that we taught in last week’s episode? What was rule number one? Do not let the chain break. Rule number two? Do not let the chain break. Rule three: do not let the chain break.
You have to mark your X every day, without exception. Visit now this link and download now the complete eBook with details for you to build the habit of studying every day.