Routines v Bad Habits

Over the last few years, I’ve discovered just how important making and keeping a routine can be. But this is a bit more tricky than planning a study day – you have to experiment with different routines to find the things that suit you (and I don’t mean getting up at midday).

I’m a morning person, so I take advantage of my early-rising body clock to get extra work done. For example, yesterday I gave myself time to have a sleep in after a big week, scheduling myself to start at 9am, instead of the usual 8am. Since I woke up at 7:30am, I played around with my other blog, adding/changing pictures to my colour and banner posts. (That blog is actually for assessment.)

But that’s just me, and like I said, you need to experiment with your routine to tailor it to yourself. Personally, if I don’t get up and start working before 10am, I won’t fit much in that day because I’ll be overtired and unmotivated from staying in bed too long. If I have a late night from skating and really need to start work at a certain time the next morning, I will set myself an alarm. Yes, an alarm.

But aren’t alarms for when you have important things to do, like getting to work on time?

Oh, but university work is important work. Achieving the highest grade you possibly can instead of aiming to scrape through is important to me (and should be important to every student). It also takes dedication – a flippant attitude won’t cut it. (Stay tuned for a very passionate post about attitude.)

My point is that you need to find a routine that you feel comfortable with and that fits with your life. If you have swimming training early in the morning, you might come home and have to rest or wind down before studying. And some days you might have to start straight away because you need to cram some work in for that assessment that’s due soon. (Not with the right time management, you won’t.)

More important than making a routine is sticking to it, which is essentially what makes a routine routine. Giving yourself a smidge of unnecessary leeway once opens the door to the eventuality of ditching your routine all together.

But breaking bad habits is hard. Luck for you, I’ve found a useful five-step model for getting rid of bad habits: How to Kick your Bad Habit for Good on the Less Ordinary Living website. But since you’re so dedicated to my blog and won’t leave this page for a second (ha), I will summarise for you.

Step 1: Contemplation
Understand the benefits of change. Ask yourself: “What is my motivation for change?”

Step 2: Preparation
Plan to successfully introduce the new habit: find someone to hold you accountable, research your bad habit, and create a clear plan for change.

Step 3: Taking action
This can take months, so make sure you reward your successes, no matter how small.

Step 4: Maintenance
The important thing is to avoid the temptation of reverting back to the bad habit that you’re breaking.

Step 5: Relapse
Don’t feel bad – this is normal. The important thing at this stage is to understand the reason why and to work out the best way to avoid repeating it.

So now that you’re all clued in on how to break that bad habit you’ve been trying to ditch for ages, it’s time to put the above plan into action. (I’d love to know if any of you attempt this and how you go with it.)

 

Couple your newly-broken bad habit with a great routine and you will be unstoppable.

 

Until next time

 

Five-step model information sourced from:

Phil. 2010. “How to Kick your Bad Habit for Good.” Accessed September 6, 2014. http://www.lessordinaryliving.com/blog/how-to-kick-your-bad-habit-for-good/.

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