It’s generally not a problem to develop a habit. Simple repetition is usually all it takes to embed in our heads a means of doing, a way of acting, a way of thinking. Trouble is, those habits can be both good of bad. If they are good habits, we are hopefully successful and we compliment ourselves on our wisdom. But whatever we think of the habits we have now developed, they will control our behaviors, for good or ill.
When it comes to the field of learning, we’d need to identify what we signify by good study habits – and I would say that they are those habits that enable us to absorb and retain information in the most effective way. Which means that objective of anyone who is thinking about learning efficiently must be to develop a way of learning that works well, and that eventually comes naturally. Does that make sense I hope so.
The definition of bad study habits
In essence, habits that prevent us digesting information efficiently, but that we carry on doing, regardless. And the commonest error in my opinion, is to try to make our minds work in a way that does not fit with how they actually work.
What we end up doing, if we are not careful, is to try to file all our complex information into boxes, classified and labelled accordingly. But the main problem is, that isn’t how our brains want to organize themselves. Result – difficulty.
So what is a better way
It’s well known now that the power of our brains comes from the billions of connections between cells, and by learning we create, alter and develop those connections and pathways. If we can organise our learning in the same way – by making connections between new and old ideas, by relating what is new to what we already know, then we end up working with our brains rather than against them.
And duplicating that procedure until it becomes our natural way of thinking and learning and can then constitute the basis of a new habit. And once it comes naturally – we’ve substituted our bad study habits with good ones.
OK. Where do we go next
There are limited schools that teach this, so finding out about these methods usually falls to you. There’s plenty of information on the internet, but then you are confronted by the usual problem of sorting out the decent information from the bad.
Like other areas, this is one that is home to countless authors who have no direct experience of their subject. A simple search will not let you filter these out.
A better solution is to seek out one of the specialised websites where you can read the up to date views of people who have taken the time to study these courses for you. The various alternatives will be compared and contrasted by an expert, allowing you to decide on the course that most closely fits your needs and style.
You will save yourself a huge amount of time – and much heart ache and aggravation – if you look into this correctly at the start.
But if you do take the time to learn good study habits, I think that the effort will be returned many times over.