Plan for tomorrow
- Why this works: If Sunday evening you write a plan for Monday, on Monday, you may start working sooner. After getting started, you’ll likely want to continue.
- How to do it: At the end of the day, set a 10-minute timer. Start your day plan as described above in the “Make a Day Plan” strategy. Get as far as you can at a relaxed pace, tolerating any normal anxiety of planning. When the timer goes off, if you haven’t finished it, feel free to do so or just work with the plan you have.
Update your pride list
- Why this works: What gets rewarded gets repeated, and research shows that when people feel proud of a small, positive action they took, they are more likely to persist on difficult tasks.
- How to do it: Keep a notebook or digital document titled “Pride List”. At the end of each day, after thinking about what you could have done better, focus on your many good choices by writing three “prouds” (e.g., “Proud I started the C31A pset!”, “Proud I helped my sister feel better!”, “Proud I made myself exercise for 10 minutes!”)
Take care of yourself
- Why this works: You’ll feel and learn better if you’re nourished, rested, exercised, and positively connected to others.
- How to do it: Write a list of three things you can do each day to promote your well-being (e.g., go for a walk, call a supportive friend, eat fruits and vegetables). Then write three things to do each week (e.g., do the laundry, socialize with friends, take a longer walk). Include them in your Weekly Template and Day Plan. That’s right: schedule them in. Use your accountability partner to keep your follow-through at a reasonable level (perfection not required!).
A note about habit change:
If you are like most people, doing any of these strategies consistently will mean breaking old habits and making new habits. Therefore, you can expect that integrating any one strategy into your learning practice will be challenging and take a couple of weeks or more. If you are not following through with a particular strategy, please don’t get discouraged and think you are the only one. Struggle is normal. Instead, troubleshoot the challenge with someone, or make an appointment with an Academic Coach. It’s our job to help you put the strategies in place to feel good about your learning and progress toward your academic goals!