A new skill or an academic goal can only be mastered by being consistent. How does one stay motivated throughout the entire semester and earn an A? The 20-second rule was proposed Shawn Achor, in his book, The Happiness Advantage. He says “lowering the barrier to change by just 20 seconds was all it took to help me form a new habit.”
The 20-second rule is based on a technique in psychology called the activation energy. It refers to the time, energy, effort or willpower required to start doing something. As humans, we aren’t easily motivated to do difficult things. That’s why it’s so hard to go outside and ride a bicycle; we would often prefer playing Candy Crush on our phone. The 20-second rule is all about making it easy to practice good habits and banish the bad ones. 20 second isn’t a scientifically derived number. It’s more like a marker to illustrate the main point. Implement the 20-second rule in your daily life by following the below points.
You need to modify the environment for doing something consistently to minimize resistance. Take a quick look at the place where you spend your time. How’s that set-up? If the room’s full of distractions like the TV or a Playstation, you are unlikely to build resistance. Replace distractions with a book or an instrument so that you end up reading or playing the instrument, thereby developing a new skill.
If you don’t want to procrastinate, try increasing your activation energy, thereby making it less convenient for you to get distracted easily. Instead of blocking websites, try using Crackbook. This is a Chrome extension that essentially delays loading time of select websites. Increase your activation energy by simply installing a plugin that limits the usage of social media sites. By doing this, you aren’t really blocking yourself from these distraction websites, but delaying the distraction.
How do you motivate yourself to remain consistent? Simple! Create an action plan making a detailed list of how you intend to get things done. Analyze the tools required to practice them daily. By understanding this concept, you can easily replace your negative behavior with better ones. All you need is just a 20 seconds of willpower to practice better learning techniques and achieving your academic goals.
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