How to Be Successful in School – Part 4: Decide

So it’s been fun the last few weeks shooting out these tips and tricks to you and I hope you all found them useful. To conclude this series it is time to discuss the fundamental thing that will determine if any of this will be of any use to you.

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YOU HAVE TO DECIDE! Now I am not saying you should run outside in this freezing cold and shout at the top of your lungs “I’m going to do it”, but it would be an interesting thing to see. No, no you have to decide whether the you ‘now’ is the best you that can be made. If you think not than it’s time to use some of those tips and tricks to make you the best you can be, and it starts with a decision.

So here we go. Behaviour change is the most difficult and trying obstacle to overcome for any individual. Once we get set in our ways it’s hard to break them. In athletes it takes 17x the amount of work to undo a learned habit, which is why it is so important to learn a skill correctly the first time. Behaviour is often determined by three things: our environment, our social groups, and our own opinions. Our environment is made up of society around us and its perception on certain behaviours for instance if you were to walk into a restaurant forty years ago and light a cigarette it wouldn’t have been seen as unusual, but nowadays you would be fined for that behaviour. In certain countries carrying extra weight around is considered a valuable trait in women seeking a husband, but in others in is seen as unhealthy – so which is right? That is where your opinion is important.

Our social groups can be anyone from our friends and family to colleagues at work. If you’re work mates condone sneaking out of work early and you follow suit then it is likely to become a habit even if you leave that current job. Our friends and family can act as hindrances or helping hands in most regards. If you find yourself surrounded with a strong support network that wants you to succeed then you are in the right place…if not you may want to find an external social network or people who share the same values you do.

Your opinion is the most important contributor to behaviour, however it can be the most stubborn or lax to external stimulus. Some people accept a fact at face value and make the assumption it is correct depending on the source it is received from, while others are terminally stubborn in their belief that unless they find it themselves an idea isn’t true. External stimulus is what causes the most immediate change in opinion often from some sort of activity or event, however the effect is transitory. The effect we want to seek is internal change.

Internal behaviour change is one that is sparked by your own hand and this is where deciding can be your best ally. Once you make a decision, live by it and put the methods we have discussed in the last three postings in place.

“Success in anything will always come down to two things: focus and effort. We control both.”

Tune in next week when we start our new series. Hint: Bruno the Bear

Kelly Skidmore

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