Study Smart And Control Your Study Habits

Study Smart

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!

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