So we all know January is a popular time for setting new intentions. Whether small or large, it feels good to set some new goals and build some new habits.

A new year is like the first, fresh page of a brand new notebook. You start thinking about how you could fill it, and you vow to keep it pretty and your handwriting neat.

But what often happens after a few weeks? Those good intentions start to slip and you find these new habits becoming a thing of the past.

Imagine what you could achieve by the end of the year with some new, snazzy study habits you could actually stick to.

In this blog post, you'll discover:

  • 3 ways you can make your new study habits stick
  • How to stay focused on your goals so you don't start chasing every shiny object
  • A simple method for staying on track and recording your progress.

And the great thing is, you can use these tips for any other, non-study goals you have. I’ve been using mine to help me create a morning routine, practice gratitude, and save money.

If you know you want to improve your studying and grades this year but you're not sure what goals to set or habits to create, download my self-reflection guide to help you work out where you are and where you want to be.


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3 Ways to Make Your New Study Habits Stick

Now this is a toughy.

I don’t think I’m alone in admitting that I often get overexcited about new year’s resolutions. I’m the first person to tell myself each year that this is the year I’m going to get my shit together and overhaul my life.

Most years I set myself about 72 goals to:

  • Drink 2 litres of water a day…
  • Quit sugar…
  • Meditate daily…
  • Practice gratitude…
  • Meal prep all my meals…
  • Workout every day…
  • Be nicer to my boyfriend, Dom…
  • See my family more…
  • Read a book a week…
  • Achieve top marks in every essay…
  • Study a little every day…
  • Save a ton of money…
  • Meet new people…
  • Get a promotion…
  • Sleep 8 hours a night…
  • Keep my house tidy…
  • Clean my bathroom every week…
  • Learn Spanish…
  • Holy moley!

    Imagine how ridiculously intimidated I feel every time January 1st rolls around.

    By the 8th I’m exhausted and have achieved nothing but feeling a little more hydrated and a lot more shit about myself.

    So I’m here to give you permission to go easy on the goal setting. If you want to make your new study habits stick (or any habits) you need to set a manageable amount.

    A good way of doing this is by setting quarterly goals instead of yearly.

    Pick a smaller number you can actually dedicate time and energy to for Q1 (January – March). Then you can change them or add to them in Q2, Q3 and Q4. If you’ve set habit goals (e.g. drink 2 litres of water every day) you will hopefully have created a new habit and it won’t feel like a chore any more.

    I’ve set myself 7 goals for this quarter, but your number may be a lot smaller or a bit higher.

    I’ve got goals around fitness (touch my toes!), my business (relaunch my exam revision course), mindset (meditate 10 minutes a day), and studying (study or freewrite every single day).  

    These feel manageable and I know that if I achieve these I will be so happy at the end of March.

    Setting a smaller number of quarterly goals will also help you stay focused and stop chasing squirrels.

    You might get an idea that you want to sign up to run a half marathon. But if you decided your goal for Q1 was to focus on developing a daily yoga practice then adding running may not be achievable, and might overwhelm you, causing you to ditch the yoga altogether.

    Whatever your goals, remember that studying, and life, is a journey. You don’t have to achieve everything all at once.

    Give yourself space to thrive.

    2. Prepare for success

    When you make changes to your daily routine it can take some time to adjust.

    If you want to make your new study habits stick, it’s important to prepare yourself for success.

    So let’s pick two of my goals/habits as an example.

    If I want to practice yoga every morning here are some things I could do to prepare myself for success:

  • Put my yoga mat in the living room each night
  • Set out my workout clothes before I go to bed
  • Put my phone on the other side of the room so I can’t hit snooze
  • Make sure I’m in bed before 22:00 every night.
  • If I want to study or freewrite every day (for my Creative Writing university module) I will:

  • Keep 3 writer’s notebooks – on my bedside table, desk, and in my desk at work – so I have no excuse not to write
  • Keep a list of writing prompts for days when I’m feeling uninspired
  • Take my textbook to work every day so I can study in my lunch break.
  • Have a think about what you could do in advance to make your new study habits stick.

    3. Reflect and don’t be afraid to pivot

    Unfortunately, we can’t just set and forget our goals and habits.

    The act of deciding on a habit or goal doesn’t mean you’ll achieve it.

    You have to reflect on the goal, your progress and whether your method is working.

    I do this using Evernote and a reminder app.

    Evernote screenshot how to make your new study habits stick

    First I create a new note titled with my goal or habit.

    Then I list some of my key motivations for wanting to achieve it.

    Then I complete a table to track my progress on each week. Here I’ve created space to reflect on how well I did and to think of ways I could pivot and change my method to increase my chance of success.

    Finally, I set a reminder in my phone for every Sunday evening to spend 5-10 minutes reviewing my goals and habits to set me up for the week.

    When setting goals and habits the outcome is what’s important so don’t be precious about the method.

    Currently I’m writing everyday in a notebook. But if I decide this method isn’t working for me I could switch to writing in Evernote on my phone.  

    If you want to make your new study habits stick, never be afraid to pivot and change HOW you achieve it.


    How to Actually START Your Essay

    Workbook + video training to take you from procrastination and overwhelm to understanding your question and mapping out your ideas with momentum. Easier, faster essay writing (and higher grades) await.

    Start Your Essay

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