5 Scientific Ways to Build Habits That Stick “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Sobering words from Aristotle, and an astute reminder that success doesn’t come overnight. On the contrary, it’s discipline that gets you from Point A to the often elusive Point B. In our day-to-day lives, habits can often be tough to build, as there are plenty of distractions that can lead us off the “straight and narrow” and right back to our old ways. To alleviate some of those troubles we can examine some academic research on motivation, discipline, and habit building, and break down their findings into actionable steps that any aspiring habit-builder can put into place. 1. In a fascinating study on motivation, researchers found abstract thinking to be an effective method to help with discipline. The answer is to create what I call “micro quotas” and “macro goals.” 2. Creating sticky habits is far easier when we make use of our current routines, instead of trying to fight them. 3. 4. 5. The solution?
Mindsetsclassroom - home Emotional Habits, by Ajahn Sumedho I’ve been here at Amaravati for fifteen years . We have a nice temple with cloisters now, and somebody has donated funds for a very nice kuti, the nicest kuti I’ve ever had. And one may become attached to Amaravati, or ideas about Amaravati, or the sangha, to monasticism or Buddhism, to being a good Buddhist monk or to the Theravada tradition, to the Thai forest tradition, to establishing Buddhism in the West. All these things are very good and one gets praised for them. I now see the emotional habits that one has as vipaka-kamma (result of kamma). You can see that every moment of your life you have this. This seems to be a time when this kind of teaching is becoming increasingly appreciated. If we contemplate in the terms of just being one human individual at this time, we can see that what we learn through awareness is something very ordinary and unimpressive. This is humbling. The mind is not just some kind of thing in the skull. First published in the August 1999 Buddhism Now
Developing a Growth Mindset in Teachers and Staff An idea that is beginning to gain a lot of favour in educational circles at the moment is the notion of fixed versus growth mindsets, and how they might relate to students and learning. Based on the work of Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck, the idea of mindset is related to our understanding of where ability comes from. It has recently been seized upon by educators as a tool to explore our knowledge of student achievement, and ways that such achievement might be improved. However, in my work, I have found that the notion of developing a growth mindset is as equally applicable to staff and teacher performance as it is to students. This article begins with a brief discussion about the difference between the two mindsets, what that means for education, and concludes with some ideas for how school leaders might seek to develop a growth mindset amongst their staff. According to Dweck: Needless to say, this idea of mindsets has significant implications for education. Modelling
Six Habits of Highly Empathic People Republished from greatergood.berkeley.edu By Roman Krznaric If you think you’re hearing the word “empathy” everywhere, you’re right. It’s now on the lips of scientists and business leaders, education experts and political activists. But what is empathy? The big buzz about empathy stems from a revolutionary shift in the science of how we understand human nature. Over the last decade, neuroscientists have identified a 10-section “empathy circuit” in our brains which, if damaged, can curtail our ability to understand what other people are feeling. But empathy doesn’t stop developing in childhood. Habit 1: Cultivate curiosity about strangers Highly empathic people (HEPs) have an insatiable curiosity about strangers. Curiosity expands our empathy when we talk to people outside our usual social circle, encountering lives and worldviews very different from our own. Cultivating curiosity requires more than having a brief chat about the weather. Habit 3: Try another person’s life
How To Weave Growth Mindset Into School Culture Adilene Rodriguez admits she has always struggled with academics. Especially in middle school she hated getting up early, found her classes boring and didn’t really see where it was all going. When she started her freshman year at Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo, California, just south of Oakland, she was a shy student who rarely spoke up in class and had little confidence in herself as a scholar. Rodriguez is now a senior and her approach to school has changed dramatically over her high school career. She attributes her shift to her freshman science teacher, Jim Clark, who taught the class about growth mindset from the very beginning and backed up the discussion with action. “He would tell me, ‘You need to push yourself, that’s how you’re going to grow. She didn’t believe him at first; she thought she just wasn’t good at science. When Clark suggested Rodriguez take AP biology she resisted, scared she’d be unprepared for the challenge.
The Science of Good Habits and How to Form Them Taking a long term view of success is critical, and it doesn’t take a psychologist to tell you that discipline is how you get from Point A to the sometimes elusive Point B. Or as Aristotle would so aptly put it… We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. Since that’s the case, how can we actually form good habits and make them stick? If you’ve asked yourself the same question, you’re in luck—today I’ll be covering a large selection of research on the psychology of planning and keeping the habits that matter. Let’s dive in! A Big Misconception About Building Habits First things first, I want to address a major misconception that many people have about building habits. One of the big habit myths is this belief that it only takes 21 days to form any habit. Actual academic research on the subject shows us this popular belief just isn’t true at all: how “long” it takes to form a habit depends on the individual, the habit being formed, environmental factors, etc.
Presence, Not Praise: How To Cultivate a Healthy Relationship with Achievement by Maria Popova Why instilling admiration for hard work rather than raw talent is the key to fostering a well-adjusted mind. Despite ample evidence and countless testaments to the opposite, there persists a toxic cultural mythology that creative and intellectual excellence comes from a passive gift bestowed upon the fortunate few by the gods of genius, rather than being the product of the active application and consistent cultivation of skill. So what might the root of that stubborn fallacy be? Childhood and upbringing, it turns out, might have a lot to do. Nowadays, we lavish praise on our children. Grosz cites psychologists Carol Dweck and Claudia Mueller’s famous 1998 study, which divided 128 children ages 10 and 11 into two groups. Ultimately, the thrill created by being told ‘You’re so clever’ gave way to an increase in anxiety and a drop in self-esteem, motivation and performance. I don’t praise a small child for doing what they ought to be able to do,’ she told me. Share on Tumblr
This is Your Brain on Habits Emily vanSonnenberg, MAPP '10, currently operates a private practice called Psych Positive for individuals, couples, and families, especially working on improving complex non-traditional relationships such as those between step-parents and step-children. In the summer of 2012, she starts teaching Positive Psychology again at UCLA Extension. She consults with organizations on employee well-being and leadership strategies. She also lectures to the general public on how to increase happiness and well-being. How many of you admit to having at least one bad habit you’d rather do without? How? What is a Habit? A habit is automatic behavior that occurs without much conscious thought. The term, habit is often thought of as the automatic behavioral engagement in a destructive activity. It will, undoubtedly, require effort to form new and positive habits. The Brain on Habits The basal ganglia play a large role in movement control, emotion, cognition, and reward-based learning. References Thorn, C.
Developing a growth mindset in the classroom | M J Bromley's Blog There’s a free info graphic version of this article. To download it, click here. As a kid I wanted to become a cliché when I grew up so I bought a guitar and grew my hair. I successfully learnt all the chords but struggled to combine them in a meaningful way (perhaps I should’ve joined an experimental jazz band instead of churning out 1980s power ballads). What all these childhood endeavours had in common – apart from their mutual failure – was that I took it for granted that I’d have to work hard at them, I knew I’d have to practise endlessly and that I wouldn’t become expert overnight. I played that old six-string every night after school till my fingers bled, readily accepting that improvement would be incremental. Most of us feel this way about our interests. And yet when it comes to schooling – to mastering English or maths or science – we often forget the importance of hard work and practice. Sir Ken Robinson argues that every child starts out willing to take a chance. Like this:
Habits -- good and bad -- stick when you're stressed When people are stressed out, they return to their fundamental routines -- whether those are good or bad. New research shows we revert to habits -- good or bad -- when stressedWillpower is a finite resource that takes time and sleep to recoverAs tough as it may seem, it is possible to shift bad habits Editor's note: CNN contributor Amanda Enayati ponders the theme of seeking serenity: the quest for well-being and life balance in stressful times. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook. (CNN) -- It is said that in the final, frenzied months of her life, Sylvia Plath continued to maintain her daily routine of writing four to six hours a day -- completing her poetry collection "Ariel." A new study may help explain how Plath was able to continue writing so regularly and prolifically, despite being wracked by anxiety, depression and insomnia. In a word: habit. Amanda Enayati Stress and sickness Getting rid of stress Stress may be causing your cravings Boost your capacity to cope How hope can help you heal
Self-Assessment Questions for a Growth Mindset We recently came across this infographic by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D. that beautifully sums up the process of self-assessment and the 21st Century Fluencies. In a word, it’s all about evaluation. It couples so well with great formative self-assessment tools that we wanted to highlight it here and expand a little on each point. As we consider each question, obviously the best answer is “Yes.” But if it’s “No,” we want to understand why. Did I work as hard as I could have? Was it a lack of energy? Taking care of one’s self is crucial to a well functioning brain. Were you stuck? Was it information that you didn’t have in order to get unstuck? Did I set and maintain high standards for myself? Lack of vision? You have to know where you want to go and how far you want to reach. Drought of worthy examples? What similar great works inspire you? Did you begin the work with, “Oh, this is going to be impossible” or “We’re going to rock this thing!” What motivates you? Perceived there was not enough time?
The Four Habits that Form Habits By Leo Babauta My daughter wants to work out more, but she has a hard time forming the habit (many of you might be familiar with this problem). From having to get dressed to go to the gym, to actually going to the gym, to the thought of a hard workout … our minds tend to put off the habit. The solution is exceedingly simple: just do 3 pushups. Or tell yourself you have to walk/jog for just one minute. Make it so easy you can’t say no. Of course, most people will think that’s too easy, and tell themselves they have to do more than that. Learn the fundamentals of habits before you try to do the advanced skills. Today we’re going to go over the fundamentals of habit — four key habits to form habits. Habit 1: Start Exceedingly Small Another common habit that too few people actually do is flossing daily. Of course, that seems so ridiculous most people laugh. That’s the point. If you can do two weeks of 1-2 minutes of exercise, you have a strong foundation for a habit. One glass of water a day.