Now that it’s nearly March, the freshness of the New Year has worn off. Perhaps those New Year’s resolutions have lost their luster. Students well into the semester may need a renewed sense of purpose and motivation or a nudge along in their consistency and discipline. To build habits that last, consider these four key pieces:
Identify your goal habit.
If your student wants to get straight As this semester, that’s a great goal, but it might be too big. Or it might not be the right goal. Instead of looking at the grades, ask your child what a successful student looks like beyond grades:
Does a successful student finish and turn in all homework, on time and to the best of his ability?
How does a successful student feel about school on Sunday night, with the school week ahead?
How would a successful student improve in the subjects that are most difficult?
While it’s great to keep goals in mind, the habits we focus on are what build character, move us in the right direction, and eventually help us meet goals. Find an attainable habit that is quantifiable and something you wholeheartedly want to be part of your life.
Recognize the challenges.
What has kept you from building this habit already? Play out scenarios that happen regularly that might infringe on your new habit. Do you already have habits in place that will contradict this new one?
For example, if your student wants to finish homework after school as soon as she gets home, what is she currently doing at that time? Are there afterschool activities that will push this time back some days? What about play dates or social happenings that come up; how will she handle that?
If even in the face of challenges, building this new habit seems attainable, go for it! Make a plan and stick to it.
Anchor your new behaviors around current ones.
You will be more likely to stick to a new habit if it’s already associated with something you regularly do. For the homework example, if your student always eats a snack as soon as she gets home from school, she can now make sure she has her planner out, mapping out her homework agenda, while she enjoys her snack.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to replace a current habit with a new one, think through how the new habit can be convenient. If you’d like to swap out junk food for more fruits and vegetables, keep fresh, clean fruit on the counter and the less healthy snacks tucked away in a cupboard (or out of your house entirely).
Visualize yourself already doing it.
If you identify as someone who is already good at the habit you’re trying to build, it will feel more natural to practice it regularly. Even if you haven’t yet been consistent at waking up early, consider yourself a morning person.
Or if you’re trying to eat healthfully, make a list of what foods you need to buy at the grocery store and visualize where they will go in your kitchen and when you will eat them. Even before you start getting hungry, picture yourself eating some of your delicious healthy food.
To build habits that last takes time and consistency. Even once motivation has worn off, the ease of the behavior should kick in because it’s been practiced.
If you’re looking for a school that understands how to build habits that last, you’ve found the place! SDA is recognized as one of the best K-8 charter schools nationwide. We have campuses in Phoenix and Mesa. Find email and phone numbers here. We can’t wait to hear from you!