Father's Time, Calm Class,
But what if you don't believe in yourself and when the time comes to do a study-‐task, like read a chapter of a book, you find yourself reading three paragraphs, and then putting the book down, and checking social media, which gives you an immediate sense of relief.
Firstly, let's just see what everyone already knows: Success comes from the completion of some key tasks - this might be a homework assignment or an essay worth 30% of the marks.
This feeling of relief was good, but the longer you spend on social media, another feeling emerges:
A few hours later, you realise that the day has passed and now that relief has become regret or maybe shame, and you find yourself believing things like, “I’m hopeless’ and so-‐on, which is totally untrue, but only serves to worsen your feelings about study.
What if the problem isn't actually the task, but your feelings about the task? For many students, once they begin and finish a study-task they say things like, ‘That wasn’t so bad after-all.’
Avoidance can make us much more fearful of the task than it really is, so that we become almost phobic towards study. In avoidance, we are temporarily relieved of these feelings, but it’s short-term relief as later on we feel bad.
The solution: Use brain-based study strategies that make you feel more confident about your study-task, as well as having strategies for the feelings, so you catch the avoidance in it’s tracks and return to your study.
Study in short bursts and reward yourself with a treat. The trick is to just get through the intense feelings at the start. You can do this by telling yourself some positive ideas (which we call positive self-talk) about your study, ranging from the modest, ‘I’m going to do some good work right now’, to the determined, ‘I’m not going to give up on myself, these feelings will pass and I’ll have done some good work’ to the totally pumped up, “Fear has the same physiological ingredients as excitement, so I’m gonna get excited about doing some awesome study.”
The main thing is to start, and once you start, whenever you find yourself avoiding, just return to the task. Over time this will become a habit, and in time good habits become success.
Students often spend more energy on their avoidance than doing the study task! It’s important to understand that if you give up, you are giving up on yourself.
Building a new feeling about study
When you complete a study task, celebrate and get pumped up! Put your favourite music on and dance around like a crazy-happy person.
Instead of your brain having an association of stress and boredom with study, we are building a positive, triumphant mindset that will eliminate the need for avoidance.
Get more brain-gain strategies and Get Smarts! in Tim's new book!