Note: I’ve received many emails and messages telling me that that the word “practise” in the title should be spelled as “practice”. But I write in British English, where the verb form of the word really is spelled as “practise”. 🙂
Why are some students more successful than others?
While there are many possible reasons, it often comes down to one thing…
Students with good habits achieve the greatest success. These habits give them the structure they need to reach their goals, both in the short and long term.
So I’ve created a list of 40 good habits for students to practise every day.
As you develop these habits, you’ll become a happier, healthier and more successful student.
1. Write down the three to five most important tasks to accomplish for the day.
Without a written list to help you stay on track, it’s easy to overlook and put off important tasks.
By writing down your three to five most important tasks for the day, you’ll focus on the critical tasks, not just the urgent ones.
2. Update your calendar with key dates and events.
A calendar is a great way to stay on schedule, day after day, while also planning for the future.
You can use a physical calendar or an online one like Google Calendar to record test dates, project submission deadlines, term breaks, etc.
This way, you’ll be on top of things at all times.
3. Work on your most challenging task during your most productive time of day.
Tackle your most challenging task when your mind and body are fresh.
This will ensure that you have the energy to complete the task most efficiently. It’ll make the rest of your day more productive too!
4. Write down at least one thing you’re thankful for.
Are you thankful for your friends? How about your family? What about your education?
It only takes a couple of minutes to write down something you’re thankful for.
But this useful habit will help you find long-term success and happiness.
5. Perform focused deep breathing for two minutes.
Stress can negatively impact academic performance, but there’s a quick solution to this.
Deep breathing is scientifically proven to reduce stress and even increase willpower.
So take just two minutes and perform focused deep breathing every day.
6. Read your favourite inspirational quote.
For a quick boost of motivation, read your favourite inspirational quote.
My personal favourite is this one by Jim Rohn: “Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.” If you don’t have a favourite, here is a list for you to refer to.
7. Perform a random act of kindness.
You’ll feel better about yourself, as well as life in general, when you get into the excellent habit of performing a random act of kindness at least once a day.
It could be something as simple as giving someone a genuine compliment or giving up your seat on the bus.
8. Get five minutes of sun.
There are many benefits of getting some sun every day.
For example, it improves brain function, enhances sleep quality, and reduces the risk of certain cancers.
So don’t spend your entire day cooped up inside!
9. Do something that scares you.
This is the best way to build courage and develop confidence.
Yes, it’s scary to face your fears, so I encourage you to start small. List your fears and decide on a tiny action you can take today to overcome just one of those fears.
10. Spend time with like-minded people whom you want to learn from.
As a student, you come in contact with many people throughout your day.
Spend time with like-minded individuals whom you want to learn from.
These people will change the way you think, while giving you advice about how to improve your life.
11. Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up.
It’s easy to find a reason to skip breakfast, but this is a mistake.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and you should eat it within 30 minutes of rising.
This will give you the energy you need to take on the day.
12. Drink at least eight glasses of water.
The health benefits of drinking water are tremendous. Everyone knows they should drink eight glasses of water a day, but few people actually do this.
Make this a habit and your body will thank you down the road.
13. Exercise for at least 15 minutes.
You may not have time to hit the gym for an hour or two, but everyone can find 15 minutes in their day to exercise.
This can be as simple as going for a brisk walk or doing some callisthenics.
Soon enough, you’ll find that you’re more energetic, and that you fall sick less often too.
14. Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day.
It’s hard to be well rested when your sleep schedule is all over the place.
You might find it hard to go to bed and wake up at exactly the same time every day, but try to stay within a 30-minute window.
15. Get at least eight hours of sleep every night.
Most people need at least eight hours of sleep every night in order to function optimally.
So set your schedule to ensure that you’re working toward this goal.
(Learn how getting eight hours of sleep a night helped me to become a better – and happier – student.)
16. Follow a bedtime routine.
If you lack a bedtime routine, you may find it difficult to wind down and enter “sleep mode”.
Establish a routine that you can follow, night in and night out. This can be as simple as:
- Take a shower
- Dim the lights
- Put on some relaxing music
- Read a few pages of your favourite book
- Journal for a few minutes
- Turn off the lights
17. Set up your phone so that you receive reminders for things you have to do.
With a reminder or task app like Todoist, you can turn your phone into your personal assistant.
Set up your device to remind you of things you have to do, a meeting you have scheduled with your advisor, or a phone call you need to make.
18. If you’re trying to change a bad habit, set up a reward and punishment system.
Bad habits are hard to break. To give yourself an extra incentive, set up a reward and punishment system.
When you make progress, reward yourself. But when you take a step back, enforce a punishment. This holds you accountable, allowing you to change the habit sooner rather than later.
19. If you don’t understand something that was taught in school, clarify your doubts on that same day.
Even the best students don’t understand everything at first.
If you don’t understand a particular concept that your teacher talked about in class, clarify your doubts that same day. This good habit will ensure that you keep up with the material.
20. Create a study plan for any upcoming tests or exams.
Without a study plan, you’ll lack the structure you need to best prepare for an upcoming test or exam.
Make your plan clear and specific, and add in timelines as well.
21. Be at least five minutes early for every appointment.
Arriving late for an appointment is never a good idea.
Make it a habit to arrive five minutes early for every appointment, as this will ease your stress and show the other person how much you care about the appointment.
22. Review your homework list.
There’s nothing worse than finding out you have an assignment due the next day that you haven’t even started on.
Guard against this by keeping your homework list current and combining it with reminders on your phone (see Point #17 above).
23. Before you start work, make sure you have all the materials and resources you need.
Organisation is essential to reaching your goals.
Before you start any task, make sure you have everything you need, e.g., notes, stationery, textbook, calculator. Not only will this keep you organised, it will also help you avoid unnecessary distractions and interruptions.
24. When memorising information, use mnemonic devices whenever possible.
For example, if you’re trying to memorise the electromagnetic spectrum, you might use this mnemonic device:
- Ricky (Radio)
- Martin (Microwaves)
- Is (Infrared)
- Very (Visible)
- Unique (Ultraviolet) and
- eXtremely (X-rays)
- Glamorous (Gamma rays)
Such mnemonic devices help you to learn information faster, while aiding in recall too.
25. Focus on one task at a time; don’t multitask.
Research shows that multitasking negatively affects productivity. If you think you’re more productive by multitasking, you’re just tricking yourself.
So choose one task to work on and stick with it until you’re done. This habit alone will make you a much better student!
26. Before you get down to work, remove all distractions.
There are many things you can do to avoid distractions while studying.
Before you begin your study session, remove as many distractions as possible, e.g., phone, Internet, games, unnecessary notes on your study table.
27. Break down a big task into several smaller ones.
A big task, such as a 10-page report, can be intimidating. But if you break that task down into 10 writing sessions of one page each, you’ll find it much easier to complete the report.
Adopt this approach and you’ll gradually overcome your habit of procrastination.
28. Whenever possible, do your regular homework at the same time and place every day.
Just as you should establish a sleep routine, you should also establish a homework routine.
Have a time and place for completing your regular homework, as this will improve your overall productivity.
29. Check through your homework after you’ve completed it.
As you reach the end of a homework assignment, you’ll probably begin to think about what you’re going to do during your break.
But don’t mark the assignment as “complete” until you’ve checked through it for mistakes.
This little bit of extra effort will pay off in the long run!
30. Take regular breaks – at least one every hour.
Research shows that taking regular breaks improves attention and productivity.
Taking one break an hour will keep you fresh, allowing you to work at your peak concentration for a longer period of time.
31. Give yourself a small reward after you complete each major task.
Reward systems don’t just work for young children.
Students benefit from such systems as well, as it gives you the incentive to work through a task in a timely manner.
32. Organise your notes and assignments.
Being organised is essential to success, so take just 5 to 10 minutes every day to organise your notes and assignments.
When it’s time to prepare for your next test or exam, you won’t find yourself looking all over the place just to find the resources you need.
33. Clear your study table at the end of each day.
When your day comes to an end, clear your study table so that you’ll have a fresh start the following day.
You don’t want your day to start with a desk full of clutter, because this will likely make you feel unmotivated.
34. Read for at least 10 minutes a day.
With so many benefits of reading – from reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease to lowering stress levels – it’s something you should do every day.
I recommend that you include reading as part of your bedtime routine (see Point #16).
35. Whenever you face a problem, ask yourself: “What is one thing I can do right now to make the situation better?”
This is a difficult habit to get into, as many people instinctively shy away from a problem or try to think past it.
Don’t do this. Instead, find the one thing you can do right now to make the situation better.
This may not solve your problem immediately, but it will put you on the road to doing so.
36. Ask for help, if necessary.
This doesn’t mean you should always rely on others for answers, but there’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help when you’re stuck.
Furthermore, research shows that asking for advice makes a good impression on others.
37. Learn something outside the syllabus.
School has a syllabus, but life doesn’t.
Every day, strive to learn something outside the school syllabus. I encourage you to read a book, take an online course, or learn a new skill.
There are so many resources available on the Internet, so the information is really just a click away.
38. Spend a few minutes reflecting on the day gone by.
At the end of each day, take the time to look back and reflect on what happened during the day.
Did you make progress toward your goals? What were your successes and failures? What good (and not-so-good) decisions did you make?
This simple habit of reflection will help you to get better, day by day.
39. Spend at least 15 minutes talking to your family.
You probably already know you should do this.
Family is one of the most important things in the world, so don’t take it for granted.
40. Spend 20 minutes doing something relaxing.
Maybe you enjoy listening to music to relax your mind and body. Or maybe you enjoy reading.
Whatever you prefer, give yourself 20 minutes a day to do something relaxing. This will help you to be a calm, relaxed, and positive person.
As you review this list of good habits for students to practise daily, remember that you’re always in a position to make a change.
It takes 21 days or more to develop a new habit, so there’s no such thing as overnight success.
But the process will be well worth it.
As you develop these habits, you’ll experience a profound change. You’ll become a healthier, more productive, and more successful student.
The best thing?
It doesn’t cost a thing to develop these habits.
So get started today! 🙂
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