The Habit Course Review
Three months ago, I took The Habit Course, a 5-week course on how to build and maintain habits. Thanks Trina for recommending it to me! Overall, the course was fantastic and exceeded my expectations. I learned much more than just how to manage my habits. What did I learn? Read on!
I wanted to write this review right after the course was complete, but I think that it’s actually better that I’m writing it now. We’re talking about habits, so only time will tell if a habit actually sticks.
Three months later, I still read for at least 30 minutes every day.
Every participant in The Habit Course picks a habit to develop. For me, it was to read leisurely for 30 minutes a day. I decided that I would do this right before sleeping: my plan was to shower, hop in bed, and read for 30 minutes every day.
I had many reasons for wanting to develop this habit. One, I simply enjoy reading! I used to be a huge bookworm in elementary school. Once high school started, I stopped reading because I “had no time.” Looking back, I did have time; I just wasted it all. That wasn’t very good for me because I realized that my vocabulary stopped expanding. Currently, I like reading non-fiction books so I can gain more knowledge and perspective on different subjects. Some books I’ve read so far after developing this habit are The Organized Mind, The Physics of Christmas, Lean In and Beautiful Outlaw.
After The Habit Course, I can proudly say that reading every day has actually become a habit! On January 1st, I made it my new year’s resolution to read for 45 minutes instead of 30 minutes. And it’s been quite successful so far!
Of course, there are days when I don’t read, but that’s completely fine. Sometimes, I come home later and am dead tired; of course I won’t force myself to read. I read 5-7 days a week.
Interestingly, building the habit of reading every day has unintentionally helped me build some other great habits too…
I sleep at 11 PM and wake up at 7 AM every day.
Because reading is such a peaceful activity for me, I will doze off if I am sleepy—no, it doesn’t mean the books I read are boring, haha.
In order to focus on reading, I need to be awake and alert. In order to be awake and alert, I need to get enough sleep the previous night. Weirdly, I developed the habit of sleeping for eight hours and having a set bedtime. I looked forward to reading so much that I made sure I got in bed at around 10:30 PM so I could do it. If I got into bed any later than that, I would fall asleep while reading.
I sleep for eight hours a day, 6-7 days a week now. It’s so great because I can feel the difference in my energy levels. I feel so energized during the day and during lectures at school, I no longer have to stop myself from dozing off.
I know that I function best on eight hours of sleep, so I quit procrastinating.
I used to be a huge procrastinator in high school. I would sleep 5-6 hours a night because I had procrastinated with my homework. In university, I got a little better sleeping 6-7 hours a night, but I knew that actually needed eight hours of sleep to be functioning my best. It was so hard to change.
Interestingly, because I knew that I function best on eight hours of sleep, I made sure that I finished all my work ahead of time and I seldom procrastinate anymore. Last term, I never stayed past midnight doing homework, booyah! I also got a lot of other things done, such as setting up this website, catching up with 30 of my good friends over lunch/dinner/snacks (I haven’t seen any of them for seven months because of exchange) and helping my mom move houses.
I no longer spend hours watching YouTube videos, reading random articles online or scrolling on Facebook!
I developed a morning routine that let me train for a half marathon six days a week.
One of my most important takeaways from The Habit Course is the importance of routine. When we build routines—for example, morning routines—we automate parts of our life into routine so that we can spend our precious energy on other crucial things.
I can give you a small example of how a small change in my routine freed up my energy for other things. Before taking The Habit Course, I used to jog in Central Park and change my route every day so I wouldn’t be bored with the same scenery every day. In the course, the instructors encouraged us to experiment with small changes in our routine so that we could save energy—the energy that would otherwise be used to make an unimportant decision such as which route to take during a morning jog.
So, I tried! I designed a route that I would run every single time I went to Central Park. I found that doing this gave me more energy to think about how fast or slow I should be running to train the most effectively for the half marathon.
After the marathon was over, I started using that saved-up energy during my morning runs to plan out my day, brainstorm solutions for problems in my life and think about the future.
Habits are important!
The smallest of habits can make a huge difference when you add them all up. I highly recommend The Habit Course if you want to be more productive, use your time more wisely or just have a better lifestyle overall! The course gave me many things to think about and try out, and I believe that everyone who takes it will find it valuable. If you aren’t in Vancouver, you can read The Power of Habit to start you off! It’s still January so you can get on those new year’s resolutions! You can do it!