If you've ever wondered how to graduate with dream grades, here’s your roadmap. Are you tired of feeling overwhelmed and stressed out on your academic journey? It's time to break free from that cycle.

We'll explore the powerful concept that results are a product of behaviors, which are rooted in your identity. You’ll learn how to embrace your identity as a dedicated student and lifelong learner and shift your perspective from “studying as a task” to “studying as part of who you are.”

We'll also dive deep into why habits can be so challenging to change. You’ll understand the invisible force that tries to keep you in your comfort zone and how to overcome it. You’ll learn how to accumulate evidence of your capabilities, making it easier to stay on track until, ultimately, it will feel weird not to be the student who consistently works towards their dream grades.

Tune into this episode and start building your evidence bank to become the epic student and learner you aspire to be. Let's ensure you can graduate with dream grades.

This post originated as a podcast episode which you can listen to below or search for episode 153 of the Chloe Made Me Study podcast. Or, if you’re more of a learn-by-reading student, carry on for the rough-and-ready blog version based on the podcast script.

Ways to listen:

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7 principles to follow to graduate with dream grades

1. Results = behaviours = identity

Your current results are a reflection of your current behaviours which are a reflection of your current identity.

For example, let’s say your current studying reality is that you feel frazzled and overwhelmed and it’s taking all your focus just to hang in there which means your grades aren’t that great. These results are a reflection of your current behaviours which are that you don’t plan out your week, deciding on a Sunday or Monday when you’re going to study and what you’re going to focus on. You also study pretty UNintentionally, normally with your phone next to you so you get distracted easily. And you study linearly, following your course outline, doing all the reading and note taking as suggested which leaves you less time than you’d like for your assignments.

These behaviours are a reflection of your current identity which is that you’re an overwhelmed student, a tired student, an OK but not very academic student, a student who doesn’t have enough time for studying. It all aligns.

Therefore, to achieve different results, whether that’s higher grades, a more balanced study life, or more confident studying, your behaviour are going to need to change. And to change your behaviours your identity needs to change.

2. Who do you need to become to graduate with dream grades?

How do you actually achieve what you want?
And how do you live the studying life you want?
How do you graduate with the grades you want?

There are two steps:

1. Decide the type of person who achieves the thing you want.
2. Prove to yourself over and over that you can be that person.

Belief isn’t enough, as I said at the beginning of this episode. You need to follow it up with action. You wouldn’t automatically trust that a new romantic partner is going to be there for you and support you. You need them to back up what they’re saying with ACTION, lots of small and big actions that prove that you can trust them.

The same works for your studying. First, you need to visualise and imagine who you need to become to achieve the results you want and graduate with dream grades. Then you need to prove to yourself that you can be that person by engaging in aligned behaviours.

3. You ARE a student, you’re not just studying 

Rather than seeing studying as a part of your life, or studying as a thing that you do, attach it instead to your identity. It’ll be a lot easier to live the studying reality you want and achieve the grades you want if you step into the identity of BEING a student and BEING a learner. This is a part of who you are. Another one of your multiple identities – child, parent, sibling, friend, partner, coworker, student and learner.

You’re not just studying, you’re a lifelong learner. You’re not just studying, you are a student who graduates. This is why I renamed my email newsletter, Student Who Graduates. It’s all part of feeding into that identity-building that by subscribing to and reading my newsletter you are a student who graduates with dream grades.

4. Why are habits so hard to stick to?

They’re hard to break and hard to build. When we try to build a new habit or a series of habits, like we need to do to study effectively, we encounter resistance. Resistance can be thought of as an invisible inner force that tries to maintain equilibrium. Humans are more than capable of change but it costs a lot less energy to stay the same. And it’s safer to stay the same.

When we lived in caves the best way to guarantee our safety and the ability to pass our genes onto the next generation was to live a small life. Don’t take risks, don’t hunt in unfamiliar places, don’t try those interesting new berries you’ve seen. This inner safety feature hasn’t evolved out of us so when we’re trying to change our lives and grow parts of ourselves, the resistance rears and tries to urge us *not* to do the thing.

This is why we can be so determined to study after dinner every night, but after three days the habit miraculously falls out of existence. The resistance was too strong to change our existing habits.

5. How to make achieving your dream grades easier

Focus on identity rather than the specific outcomes you want makes it way easier to achieve your goals. Here’s why.

1. Focusing on identity gives you a clear framework to follow.
You’ve gotten clear on who you need to become and you’ve worked out the behaviours you need to enact to become that person. This makes it easy to know what the next right step is. The next time you’re feeling stuck or the resistance is trying to keep you stuck like the Tin Man who’s run out of oil, you can remind yourself of who you’re trying to become and that to do so you need to rack up lots of small bits of proof that you can become this person. Suddenly, the path ahead is lit for you.

2. Once you have built up a bank of proof, you’re gonna want to keep it up.
You’re going to want to keep adding to it. Like when you’re a kid with a piggy bank. At first, saving your pocket money sucks. But as you see the amount increasing or you feel the weight when you give it a shake, you start imagining all the possibilities of what you could do with that money, and suddenly it feels that bit easier to put your next few coins in.

This is the same with habit building. When they’re aligned to your identity and you’ve got some evidence built up, the resistance to change won’t be as strong and it’ll take less discipline and willpower to keep going. This is important as an adult learner. You lead a busy life and likely use up your store of willpower on work and family and friends and looking after yourself and your home. So you want to build habits in your studying that mean you don’t have to spend so much willpower.

3. You’ll get to a point where it would feel weirder NOT to do the thing.
It will feel weirder NOT to do some sort of studying or learning activity every day. Just like once you’ve built the identity of being an active person, it feels weird to *not* go for a walk every day.

6. Build that evidence bank for the student who graduates with dream grades

So…the way to build the habits you need to achieve the results you want? Dive in head first and start collecting lots of small wins that align with the identity you’re trying to build.

Here’s an example first of what I’ve done these past few months to build the identity that I am a wild swimmer, a cold water swimmer, a confident swimmer in deep water.

  • Went multiple times in the first week, even though my swims were only 10/15/20 minutes
  • Swam on different days at different times to experiment with how it would fit into my life
  • Read advice online for how to engage in cold water swimming safely
  • Bought a tow float to feel safer
  • Joined a Whatsapp group of other members for accountability to actually go
  • Bought myself some crocs! 

And here are items from the smorgasbord of behaviours you can engage in to build up proof that you are an epic student and learner.

  • Commit to studying little and often, 10-15 minutes each day will do more for building the habit than infrequent longer sessions. Whether you’re reading, working on an assignment, emailing your lecturer with a question – it all counts towards identity-building
  • Listen to a podcast episode to improve your study skills (oh hello, I have a few of those)
  • Read over past work and identify what you’d do differently next time
  • Improve your study skills and learn some new study strategies (which you could do with one of my courses or programmes)
  • Journal on your decision to return to study to reconnect to your ‘why’
  • Do some dreaming and researching into that masters or higher-level course you’d love to do one day (that you maybe aren’t sure you’re capable of)
  • Work on your CV or even go ahead and apply for an awesome new job
  • Order some pretty stationery
  • Find some epic peers to study alongside or chit chat with about the highs and lows of studying

Focus on becoming the person who achieves the results you want. Focus on the identity piece and the results will come.

7. Become the student who graduates with dream grades

I focus on this identity piece in my upcoming Kickbutt Study Camp. In the first workshop, the Proactive Pupil, I’ll go deeper on this topic and you’ll complete some simple exercises to help you connect with this next version of you that’s going to achieve your studying goals.

And, identity is woven through the whole programme because I’ve named all the workshops based on identity not outcomes. Because the outcomes will look after themselves once you decide on the identity you’re trying to build and then start taking action to prove to yourself that you can become that person.

The Proactive Pupil is going to help you become a more focused, productive, motivated student.

The Confident Learner is going to help you become a more resilient, empowered, positive student.

The Strategic Student is going to help you become a more efficient, strategic, balanced student.

And the Efficient Note Taker is going to help you become a more streamlined, effective and skilled student.

So, one of the quickest ways you can gain that proof and build the identity of an epic learner and a successful student is to enrol in my upcoming Kickbutt Study Camp.

Enrolment is open up until the last workshop on the 20th. If you want the opportunity to join the four workshops live and get access to the epic private community, you’ll want to enrol before the first workshop on the 12th. Click here to find out more and enrol. 

As a summary, the two steps to achieve the studying life you want and graduate with dream grades are:

1. Decide the type of person who achieves the thing you want.

2. Prove to yourself over and over that you can be that person.

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