It doesn’t matter whether you’re a student or not. Learning something new every day is a great way to work out your brain muscles and keep yourself mentally agile all through life.
But this is easier said than done, especially if you’re someone who didn’t enjoy studying much in school. This post discusses five steps you can implement right now to build a daily study habit.
1. Use a current habit as an anchor
Pick any current habit you have and use it as an anchor to start studying. For example, if you’re a passionate gardener and spend twenty minutes every day in the garden, you can plan your day such that after every gardening session, you’ll sit down to study for at least one hour.
You can also tie it up to simpler habits like scrolling through social media, going for a run, or even feeding your pet.
What habit you choose as an anchor depends upon you. It’s a personal choice based on how you structure your day. But the core idea is the same: your need to use your current habits as an anchor so that every time you do that, you’ll be compelled to start studying too.
Be very specific about your trigger. Don’t think of it as a precursor to your studying habit. Instead, think of these two as mutually exclusive. If you don’t study today, you’ll not be allowed to perform your other daily habits. If you have that clarity in your head, it will be easier for you to stick to your studying habit without feeling like giving up in the middle.
2. Start small
Don’t aim for lofty goals and plan to complete one book in a day. Starting a new habit is always tough, but if you start small and keep pushing on, you can do it and make it a part of your routine.
Instead, make micro goals first and stick to them continuously for a while before going for bigger goals. These micro-habits can be simple:
- Complete homework for school/office/college today.
- Read at least one page of a new book today.
- Watch ten minutes of educational content on YouTube.
- Talk to a friend about what you learned and discuss your progress.
3. Monitor your progress and act accordingly
Keep pursuing your goals for a fixed period of time, say ten days. Monitor your progress during that time and keep track of how far you have come in this time.
If you feel that your way of going about the daily studying goal is not working, you can mix up your triggers and find a different anchor. If the goal of studying daily is important to you, you need to find a way to keep yourself on track. If it somehow messes up your ability to keep pushing yourself daily, you need to change or adjust your goal accordingly to fit in with your schedule.
4. Remove obstacles
When you carry out your periodic monitoring sessions, keep track of what stops you and how often. Then, based on your understanding of your habits, remove the obstacles that stand in your way.
“To an astonishing degree, we’re influenced by the amount of effort, time, or decision making required by an action. The more convenient, the more likely we are to do it; the more inconvenient, the less likely we are to do it.” — Gretchen Rubin
Don’t make this new habit of studying daily super inconvenient for you. Find a middle ground that serves your purpose and gives you the motivation enough to keep pursuing your dreams. That way, you’ll be able to build a habit of studying daily without stretching yourself thin.
Bonus: Have a partner
Having someone else do it with you can make building any new habit easier. If you can’t find a friend who’s also learning to study every day at the same time as you are, you can hire an accountability coach to help keep you on track. These are trained individuals who will hold you accountable and help you get back on track if you ever fall off the wagon.
You can also turn to technology and download a free habit tracker. This is a great way to mark your progress on the calendar and use it to motivate yourself to keep pushing on.