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Why are good habits useful?

1

Habits don’t require motivation to do

As habits are mental shortcuts learned from experience. Even when your motivation is low, you’ve become so used to doing it that you’ll probably end up doing it anyway.

11pink cup with spilled pink drink and words spelling doing my best

2

Habits can create momentum for the rest of the day

Sometimes the most difficult part of getting work done is just to…start. So the easiest actions you can perform, habits, are the easiest source of motivation that can set up the rest of your day!

11bullet journal

3

Habits compound

Even if you only make 1% improvements each time you do complete a habit, you are still guaranteed to improve. Break down big habits into smaller ones and make them very, very easy. As you get better, gradually increase the difficulty, knowing that even if you don’t, you’ll still be on track to building that habit.

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4

Habits are versatile

Want to develop a better studying habit, pick up a new skill or get into the habit of reminding yourself to take time to relax? Developing new habits can help you achieve those goals because they reduce the decision making and motivation you need to do those things.

11neon sign in green displaying phrase habits to be made

How to create habits

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So how do habits actually work? Habits are essentially made up of 4 steps:

  • Cue – signals brain to initiate behaviour, predicts and notices the reward
    • Associated with thought, feelings and emotions
  • Craving – the motivational force behind every habit
    • Desire to change internal state
  • Response – actually perform the habit(thought or action) that occurs
    • Depends on how motivated you are and how much friction is associated with the behaviour

  • Reward – the response and the end goal of every habit
    • Satisfy or teach us what is worth remembering

And therefore, to change your behaviour/create a habit… 

  1. Cue: make it obvious
  2. Craving: make it attractive
  3. Response: make it easy
  4. Reward: make it satisfying

What good habits you can develop in preparation for your HSC

If you don’t have a good idea of what habits you want to develop just yet, here are a few mental health & self care habits. We’ve selected a few that can help you relax with all the stress relating to your busy lifestyle!

1

Make time for things you enjoy e.g., painting

  • Make it obvious
    • Leaving paints out within view and setting time aside for doing whatever you want to that day
  • Make it attractive 
    • Leaving a picture of something you want to paint beside it or other inspiration
  • Make it easy
    • Paints and brushes are conveniently located so that you don’t have to take a long time taking them out and packing them away
  • Make it satisfying
    • Enjoy painting!
11jar holding paintbrushes

2

Stay hydrated e.g., drinking a glass of water every morning

  • Make it obvious
    • Place a glass someone where you’re going to see it every morning
  • Make it attractive
    • Use a glass you like or a nice coaster
    • Mix it up with infused water etc.
  • Make it easy
    • Have it in a easy to reach place
  • Make it satisfying
    • Create a table of days where you tick off each day where you do drink a glass of water to maintain a streak
11bottle full of water and fruit all around it

3

Being active e.g., taking a walk between study sessions

  • Make it obvious
    • Set a reminder on your phone to take a walk outside (if the weather is nice)
  • Make it attractive
    • Listen to music or just enjoy nature
  • Make it easy
    • Don’t demand yourself to walk for very long. Just however long you feel like doing it for after starting
  • Make it satisfying
    • Reward yourself!
11girl on top of mountain

4

Practising mindfulness e.g., meditation

  • Make it obvious
    • Download a meditation app like Smiling Mind or Headspace and place it on the homepage of your phone or bookmark it in your browser
  • Make it attractive
    • Know that you can take a break from your work both mentally and physically
    • Know why you want to start meditation
  • Make it easy
    • Pre-select a few guided meditations you’re interested in or sounds if you prefer un-guided meditations beforehand so you can start meditating straight away and don’t have to fiddle with the apps!
    • Start small, try bite-sized meditation exercises before working up to big ones
  • Make it satisfying
    • Make yourself a nice drink or have a piece of chocolate
11man wearing baseball cap has eyes close and is looking upward to sky

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