Create Habits Among Your Learners To Set Them Up For Lifelong Success
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Creating Habits Among Your Learners Leads To Lifelong Learning

I am a true believer that when you get comfortable, you start to die. If you aren’t doing things to make yourself better, then you’re slowly getting worse.

To an extent, this unfaltering outlook makes me a little uncomfortable with process and structure. Chaos was bliss to me and diversity kept my mind sharp, but everything changed once I discovered the power of habits.

What Is A Habit?

Habits are an action that requires minimal motivation or effort to complete. The idea is over time; a habit will slowly build on top of itself and result in something significant.

My middle school gym teacher introduced me to habits in the form of weightlifting. He said, "Imagine weightlifting as stacking up pieces of paper. Every day you lift weights, just pretend like you’re adding a piece of paper to a pile. On the first day, you start with one single piece of paper. After a month of weight lifting, you could have as many as 30 sheets of paper stacked up. After several years of keeping up with weightlifting, you are going to have a serious stack of paper!"

The concept has stuck with me ever since, and I have tried to develop an array of habits. These micro-habits have shaped the way I live and have helped me do things I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.

How I Use Micro-Habits

I’m the kind of person who uses every life hack I can find. You’ll find my Macbook littered with add-on and Chrome extensions to make my life easier. Saving time and being productive is important to me.

Since I have such a particular outlook on time, it's hard for me to allocate big chunks of time every day to form a habit. This is where habits come in.

The first habit I started with was reading. I have never been a big reader but decided I wanted to start reading more to learn new things. Initially, I began reading one page a night before bed. Just one page, that’s it!

Anyone can read a single page of a book. No matter what, I would read before bed every single night. What I found was reading the page of the book wasn’t what was important, but rather forming the habit. It’s nearly impossible to make an excuse not to take a minute for reading a page of a book. Thus, the habit begins to form.

Sometimes it was a struggle (especially after long days), but remember—it’s only one page. Eventually, I was slowly able to increase the volume in 5-minute increments to get to 45 minutes of reading a night.

Another habit I was able to entrench in my life was meditation. I have always had a cluttered mind and wanted to start doing something to clear my thoughts. After some time, I landed on meditation and breathing exercises as my path to a clear mind.

I decided it would be helpful to do this every morning to clear my mind at the beginning of the day, as well as a perfect way to cap off the day when I’m winding down at night.

To kick off the meditation process, I started by meditating for a minute in the morning and at night. Establishing the process helped me to make meditation part of my routine. Now, I meditate for fifteen minutes in the morning and a half an hour at night.

The habit process has also helped me establish the routine of going to bed at 10 pm every night (with exceptions), wake up at 6 am every morning (no exceptions), not use any electronics after 8 pm, and begin to learn French.

All of these things have become baked into my daily routine through micro-habits.

Why Habits Work

At their heart, as James Clear explains, habits are about routines. The beauty of learning through habits is that they’re so simple, you can’t say no to them or make any excuse not to follow through with them. As humans, we often overestimate what we think we can accomplish, but then we give up the moment reality sets in, and life gets complicated.

Habits are all about preventing you from giving up due to something being too ‘hard’.

When practiced consistently, you can do something without even having to think about it. Habits you probably already ingrained into your daily life include brushing your teeth, taking a shower, making a morning cup of coffee, etc.

How You Can Start Using Habits For Training

You can start instilling habits into your online training courses by using the 4 R's:

1. Remind

It's the queue or the trigger that actually kicks off the habit. Think about when you were a kid and your parents used to tell you every day to brush your teeth. Now, you do it in the morning and at night without even thinking about it.

Now, you can do the same thing with your learners.

2. Routine

This 'routine' will become the habit itself.

3. Reward

By rewarding your learners when they do what you want them to do, you begin to create the habit through positive reinforcement.

4. Repeat

Start the process over!

eBook Release: Northpass
Northpass
Northpass powers modern learning programs at some of the worlds fastest-growing businesses, like Lyft and Shopify. Train your people, customers, and partners with our easy-to-use software, and let our team of experts guide you to success.

Originally published at hackernoon.com.

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