Seven Strategies Of Successful Students
Creating and adhering to beneficial study habits can help students excel in school. Below are seven easy-to-adopt strategies of highly successful students.
By Lynell Ross, Certified Health and Wellness Coach
Our brains are wired for immediate gratification. So, it is no wonder that we can be so easily distracted by our friends, phone calls, texts, or the latest youtube video. Brain experts report that scrolling through our e-mail has a similar effect as pulling the handle on slot machine. When we see an interesting diversion, or link to a juicy gossip site, it’s like getting three sevens, the payoff to something more interesting than studying geography or chemistry. When we don’t feel like studying, and a friend asks us to go out for coffee or an ice cream, we are off without a second thought. How can you counter act such compelling temptations? If you want to succeed in your studies, follow the advice of the top experts.
Success trainer, Brian Tracy has been studying the habits of successful people for decades. He teaches people how to succeed in the areas of business, finance, relationships and life. Tracy believes in goal setting and knowing why it matters to you to reach your goals. When you know why you want to accomplish something, your reasons will pull you toward your goal and help you avoid temptation. As you grow and mature, you learn to reduce the tendency to make impulsive and self-destructive behaviors, while acquiring strategies to help you reach your long-term goals and dreams. Once you determine your goals, and know your “why” for reaching them, the next step is to find out how to reach your destination. It takes about 28 days to develop a habit, and the benefits of creating good study habits will last a lifetime. Following are top strategies and habits of successful students:
Have a Study Space
Creating a study space that works for you is crucial. Having a place in your home that is quiet, where you can close the door is best. Set up a desk or table where you can keep your supplies and materials. Turn off the television, videos and other distractions. If you don’t have a quiet place at home, find a place in the library so you can develop a learning mindset.
Organization is the foundation of most successful people. Keep an academic calendar so you can keep track of papers, projects, tests and other deadlines. Create a plan that works for you and follow your schedule. Take breaks often to refresh your eyes and your brain. Break up your work into small manageable tasks. Students who get their work done throughout the semester retain more information and do a more thorough job on projects than those who cram for exams at the last minute.
Be Willing to Ask for Help
People often have a hard time asking for help because they view it as being weak, or leaves them feeling vulnerable. Asking for help is a sign of courage. It means you think enough of yourself to speak up and get the support you need. Getting someone else’s perspective can open up a new insight for us, so we can see things differently. “Being self-sufficient gives us strength, and teaches us to take responsibility, …and yet too much self-sufficiency can be a block to success. Success requires both self-determination and letting yourself be aided and inspired by others,” writes Dr. Robert Holden, in his book, Success Intelligence. Don’t be too proud to reach out to your teacher, professor or counselor.
Take Care of Your Health
Nutrition matters when it comes to learning. Your brain needs vitamins, minerals, glucose and other nutrients to function. Omega-3 fatty acids help build and repair brain cells, while antioxidants reduce cellular stress. Getting exercise will help you burn off nervous energy so you can concentrate, and increases blood flow to your brain so you can think more clearly. Exercise also stimulates growth of new connections between brains cells. Exercise boosts mood by triggering the feel-good hormones like endorphins that improve brain health.
Find Positive Peer Groups
Social support is a critical factor in human development and happiness. Working with a study group can help you prepare for a test or sort out confusing concepts. Helping others can also help you learn and it can make studying a lot more fun. Experts agree that we become like the five people we hang around the most. Be selective about you socialize and study with because they will influence you either negatively or positively. It’s your choice.
Avoiding time wasters and distractions is one of the strongest links to being a successful student. We are bombarded with outside messages from the time we wake up on our smart phones, tablets, notifications on our computer, multiple e-mails, television and radio, not to mention the people we live with. Our nervous systems are on high alert. What’s more, multi-tasking doesn’t work. A 2013 study shows that high cognitive load severely impairs performance, while other studies reveal that increasing the number of things that your brain pays attention to prevents you from learning and disrupts your ability to make decisions. According to a University of California Irvine study, “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to concentrating after a distraction.”
Get 7-10 Hours of Sleep Per Night
Studies have shown that kids who regularly get enough sleep have improved attention, learning, better behavior, memory and mental and physical health. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, Children 6-12 years old require 9-12 hours of sleep, while teens need between 8-10 hours. The National Sleep Foundation reports that youth and teens who do not get sufficient sleep suffer the consequences such as: Limited ability to learn, listen, concentrate, and solve problems. Poor sleep may be the cause of forgetting simple information such as names, numbers and due dates for homework. It can lead to aggressive or inappropriate behavior. The solution is to make sleep a priority by making your bedroom the best place for rest. Keep it clean and organized. Stick to a bedtime routine and sleep schedule that works with your biological clock.