by Alice Dobie-Galuska, University Division Academic Advisor
I recently got a text message where the person mistakenly entered “automagically” instead of automatically. I had been thinking about habits and looking at the misspelled word, it occurred to me that habits could seem automatic, done without much thought, but they can also seem magical if they keep us moving towards our goals.
Psychologist Susan David writes, “Making habits out of behaviors we’ve consciously chosen, and that are connected to our values is a key aspect of emotional agility.” (Emotional Agility). The idea is that habits connected to our values will support us through challenges and obstacles.
She goes on to explain that a change of environment can “unhook” us from a “bad” habit. One extreme example of this is when the writer, David Sedaris, moved to Japan to quit smoking (When You are Engulfed in Flames). A more realistic tip from Quit.com is to go outside for a walk to avoid what triggers a craving to smoke. This tip also builds a healthy habit, walking.
College is a change that requires establishing new routines. Take the opportunity of the new environment and the new semester to consider your current habits – ways of thinking, behaving, and studying and ask yourself, “Does this serve me and my goals?”, “Am I becoming the person I want to be?”
Look at habits of mind. Where does your mind automatically go when you enter your Finite Math lecture? Moving past labeling habits as “good” or “bad”, ask what intentional thoughts, behaviors, and study habits will serve you even when times are tough.
IUB is filled with resources to help you answer these questions. Here are a couple to get you started.
- Career Development Center: Career Coaches to help you identify your values and define your career goals.
- Student Academic Center: Academic Coaches to help you develop the habits of heart and mind that lead to academic success.
This is really good food for thought! I’m thinking about the power of habits, and how it really does take self-reflection and focus to retrain our brains when we’re not proud of certain habits. This also makes me think about how subconscious behaviors can be, and it’s interesting that a change of scenery can potentially help us to step out of our comfort zone and change behavior in a positive way. I enjoyed this post!