Personal Habits

The Six Personal Habits of Successful College Students

Please do NOT assume that you know all about any of these areas or that you’re doing just fine. Read at least the information on this page. You can then make an informed decision about reading for further details. Remember you are not just reading for information. You are reading this in order to make important changes in your personal habits.

In pages for further information, they begin with an introductory page which then leads to pages with greater detail.

1. Successful Students  increase  Self Knowledge

People who know their own strengths and weaknesses use their strengths but also find ways to improve in areas where they are weak.

Students who don’t  consider their own values or beliefs often do things they later regret. They say “I should have known better. I just wasn’t thinking.

Students who don’t understand their own feelings and emotions often have  poor self-control

Interests, hopes and dreams are especially important during your college years. Students won’t get very far saying, “I don’t know what I want to do. I’m really not interested in much of anything. I just want to get a good job.”  You might not be ready to choose a major yet, or know what careers are right for you, but you should use your  college years to explore many interests and begin thinking seriously about your hopes and dreams for the future. What you really want is to Find Your Passion, something important you want to do with your life.

Students may have some idea of their Learning Styles. Frequently they use this to explain why they do poorly in class. “I can’t help it. I’m a Kinesthetic Learner.” You cannot expect professors to teach according to your learning styles. You can, however, use study strategies that match your learning style. It is also important to increase your strengths in all learning styles.

2. Successful Students understand the importance of  Healthy Habits

Healthy Habits includes eating, drinking, sleeping, exercise, and avoiding addictive substances. It isn’t just that you learn better when you have eaten properly, drunk water, gotten enough sleep and exercise. It’s more than that. Recent research shows these habits can actually change your brain and increase your intelligence.

A recent news article said students who  ate breakfast including whole grains and lean protein scored five points higher in IQ. Another study says we should begin each meal with protein. It is also important to avoid saturated fat and trans fat. They interfere with the brain’s ability to use healthy fats.Unhealthy fats are found in fried food, fatty meat, and pastries.

The brain needs water to keep tissues moist, remove wastes, and cool the brain. When your brain is dehydrated (doesn’t have enough water) you experience mental fatigue, then confusion, and eventually death.

Exercise keeps blood pumping faster, bringing much-needed nutrients and oxygen to the brain. As a result the neurons develop more connections, changing the brain and making us  more intelligent. Exercise helps you learn more and helps relieve stress or anxiety.

We all realize that poor sleep habits make it hard for us to think clearly and makes it harder to remember. It affects our moods leading to poor decisions. What we don’t often think about is how poor sleep habits has long-term effects including poor mental and physical health..

3. Successful Students  develop  Self Control

Many college students have no problem with Self Control. They never lose their temper. They never suffer from stress or anxiety. They would never waste time playing video games, gambling, playing cards hour after hour, surfing the internet endlessly, or looking at pornography.

There’s nothing wrong with playing an occasional video game or playing Bridge or Poker once in a while….. but you are setting yourself up for failure if you let any of these take over your life.

If you do feel stressed or anxious,  if you suffer from test anxiety,  if you lose your temper, if you do get carried away with some activity for hours at a time, you need to look at this section…. and if your problem is serious, you might need to see a counselor for help.

4. They Make Wise Choices

Students often make impulsive choices. Without the supervision of parents, they feel free to do whatever seems like fun. But they often regret their behavior later. I use the term “decisions” for those choices made after considering goals, what people who matter to them would say about it, or judging alternatives by their personal ethics or values.  Wise students   think about all the alternatives and  consider the possible consequences of your actions. They also Avoid Addictive Behaviors including the  use of  alcohol, drugs and unprotected sex.

5. Successful Students learn Insightful Social Skills

In college and throughout our lives, Social Skills are important for success. It is important that students relate well with their parents and other family members. It is important that they relate well with professors, classmates, and others they meet or work with. To do this they need to respect others and be good listeners.  They need to know how to meet and get to know people. Students with good social skills will build strong and lasting friendships, participate in campus organizations, learn to work well as part of a team, and begin developing leadership skills.

Social Skills are often much more important than grades in getting a job and in earning promotions.

6. Successful Students display Positive Attitudes.

We all realize that students who are more confident, more self-motivated, and more determined to succeed are likely to do well. But many students seem to believe that if they lack confidence, motivation or determination, they can’t do much about it.  Early studies of four-year-olds with marshmallows seemed to support this view. The children were given a choice of one marshmallow now or two later. They all wanted two but many couldn’t wait. Those who waited as four-year-olds did better on SAT scores, made higher grades, were more likely to graduate, had better jobs and better marriages.

These results were discouraging. But recent experiments showed ways that people can improve their willpower (determination). The further pages lists ways you can improve in all these areas and become more open-minded.