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Honestly, adults often overwhelm students by trying to change too much too soon. Our kids typically know what needs to be changed, they’ve heard the lectures, they’ve gotten more than enough good ideas. Knowledge in and of itself is not enough of a motivator. So the problem is often in changing the actual habit! How do we do that exactly?
Much of my job as a coach is to empower students to change habits so they can minimize or eliminate habits that are counter-productive and build habits that will help. This is not a quick fix, it takes time and persistence, but it works!
To make this more clear, here are some of the common habits my students struggle with:
- Actually knowing how to study (and doing it proactively!)
- Not being distracted by electronics or other temptations
- Using a planner effectively to manage time and responsibilities
- Regularly organizing school papers and materials
- Getting restful sleep consistently
- Building a consistent fitness/exercise routine
- Having a consistent and reliable study routine
- Completing quality homework and turning it in on time
- Cutting out sugar or other foods that cause brain fog
- Eating foods that truly nourish the body
- Learning to stop procrastinating and get started
- Learning to focus when the task isn’t very interesting
- Keeping the study space clean and free of distractions
- Monitoring grades regularly
- Advocating for oneself proactively
As you can see, the number of habits students must manage in this highly distractible world can be overwhelming. And, picking your battles is no easy task especially when emotion comes into play. This video explores how we can start to push the needle and make some progress.
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Everybody except except for early. Com. I’m here today to talk to you about habit changing how in the world do we change our habits? So I should know. I’m an education coach. I work with students elementary school middle school high school college generally middle school and high school student and what I always say to my students is that the hardest thing to do really is to change the Habit so I can teach my students all about all different kinds of ways that they can manage School negotiate School advocate for themselves all these things, but if we don’t change the habits, it doesn’t matter they can hear lectures from their parents let their parents were lecturing you about who knows with a lecture you about that. You’ve heard it a million times lot of time. That doesn’t mean that it changes is a habit even if you know, it’s a habit you want to change you know that you have ineffective study habits homework habits turning things inhabit self care habits, just because you know that you should eat differently or study regularly or have better routine. Doesn’t mean that the Habit changes so changing. The Habit is a really hard thing and changing the Habit has to do really with changing the brain. We have to change the way that the neurons in the brain are connected to each other and communicating with you with each other and we have to build new strong Pathways in order to build a new habit have its do not just come we build them over a long. Of time. So I’m going to rest for a minute and help you out with figuring out. How in the world. Are you actually going to change a habit? There we go. what the most important thing concept when it comes to changing a habit is that It has to be chunk into bite-size pieces. My dad always used to say how do you eat an elephant? And you eat an elephant one bite at a time. It’s the only way you can eat an elephant. So a lot of times changing habit. What we do is we say, I’m going to change all this I’m going to get straight A’s or I’m going to work out 5 days a week and I’m going to do all this stuff. I’m going to meditate every day. Whatever it is. We want to change a habit and we make it this it feels like a giant thing to change and very quickly we can just give up stop changing the Habit. It just becomes overwhelming and unrealistic. So we have to get the pieces chunked. Into bite-size pieces. This is called chunking. Okay. There are only two ways to Chuck only two ways in the world to chunk something. So in order to eat at elephant, we either need to chunk by time or by 10 a.m. We need to junk either by time or buy task in order to chunk something by time. We need to make something to a very manageable amount of time. For example. I have a student who her goal is to study everyday for a test. Right? So she is not in the habit of studying for the test though. So is she thinks that she’s going to study for an hour a day for this test for 5 days. Let’s say that’s very unrealistic and she’s setting yourself up for failure. However, if she starts now and starts to say I will study for 1 minute a day or 5 minutes a day or 3 minutes or 10 minutes a day, whatever it is that feels small enough to her that feels bite-size enough. She has to junk it into pieces of time that feel manageable because a lot of times will chunk it into two larger chunks and just give up and it doesn’t work. Okay in the habit never changes, so you have to get realistic about getting it into small enough amount of time. For example, when I started to meditate I just meditated for 5 minutes a day until I got the Habit then I could say it was very easy to get up to 15 minutes once to have it was their first so You can jump by time. The other way you can shank when you’re trying to build a new habit. Whatever they have. It is in. This could be a fitness Tabata could be the homework habits. Whatever doesn’t matter by task and I’m going to use homework for this one of your Chunky by task. Let’s say you have math homework to do. Let’s say you have 25 problems to do perhaps you junk your task into 5 columns. You say I will do 5 problems at a time where you trying to tasks into 10 problems of the 25 or you chunk your task into just the math homework. I will just do the math homework right now. I don’t care what you trying to tasks into. Let’s say that you have to clean your bedroom chunking it into tasks like doing clothing first and then vacuum the floor and then taking the trash out whatever you can do one task at a time because your whole room might take you a whole weekend to do so realistically chunk it into things that feel manageable or you’re going to set route stop up for failure and I want you to set yourself. Prayer for success to all about how it feels does it feel overwhelming or does it feel doable so you’re going to junk into a by time and by task? No. Is it abstract or is it concrete? You want your you want your tasks to feel as concrete as possible the more abstract than the Habit changing is the less likely you are to do it. So you have to get it concrete. So let’s they were chunking by time. If you use a digital timer to time yourself, that’s very concrete because if you say I’m going to study this for three minutes a day or I’m going to do push-ups for 1 minute a day or whatever it is. And you have ewe time tasks. Can you set that timer? That’s concrete one because you’re holding a concrete timer in your hand too because it makes three because it actually shows how many seconds remain etcetera. So that is very concrete when we imagined. Let’s a writing a paper for a class that’s very abstract. It’s very hard to get started on writing a paper because it’s not chunked you have to junk it into drafting planning the paper drafting revising editing turning it in. Need to junk it into small bite-sized pieces that are concrete if it’s abstract music like I got a paper due next Friday that’s very abstract. It’s very difficult to know where to start. So the more you can get things concrete the better your chunking is going to work. Now when you’re worrying about what habit you want to change you also want to think about one big habitat a Time. Hey, don’t think about changing 50 habits. Cuz again, you will set yourself up for failure and I want you to set yourself up for Success. So you want to pick one thing. Generally you want to pick the thing that’s going to have the biggest impact on your life. And if you can just focus on that for about a month at a time, that’s really the way to change a habit pick one big thing to focus on one month of the time. It takes about a month to build a new habit. Now my experience with my students who start with executive function, if you’re a student who struggles with this type of stuff is it really take 6 to 8 weeks to build a new habit if school starts in September by November you’re going to have it really as sort of a habit where you don’t have to think about it and that’s where you want to get to forget the lectures for Know what you need to do. It’s a matter of you having a useful way to approach changing the habit and actually doing that. It’s got to be chunks and small enough to be bite-size new junk in the two ways to buy timing by task. You have to make it as concrete as humanly possible the more concrete your plan for changing your habit is the more likely you are to change to have it and you just pick one of the things at a time to really focus on for about a month at a time the one that’s going to have the biggest impact on your life with that. I hope you have an awesome day and awesome weekend. I’ll see you soon. Take care.