The harsh Minnesota winter weather has arrived. It is “that time of the year,” so it should not come as a surprise. It is also the time of the year when -- if they were even made -- 80% of the New Year’s Resolutions will fail or have already failed. That means only about 38 days passed before the individual no longer was willing or able to continue to put forth the necessary effort for change.
Research varies on how long it takes to create a habit. It can be anywhere from 18 days to 254 (almost nine months!) days with an average of 66 days to make the new behavior automatic. The more common belief is that the amount is 21 days, far from the average. This is data that is helpful to me both professionally and personally as it helps me help students, and it provides me with something on which to monitor my own growth and progress.
Habits can be created and make an impact when developed with certain supports. Coming soon in the district’s next edition of The Hive, I wrote about the importance of creating a learning environment that sets one up for success. In the January 11th Principal Blog, I wrote about self-compassion, which my buddy and I talked about in our latest podcast. And now, the framework below can help habits become just a part of who we are, rather than something set each January. Based on Crystal Frommert’s article in edutopia, here are some thoughts to consider:
- Start with your thinking - base the habit on what you want to be. For example, I am a runner. Create the habit around the state of being: what one does as a runner. Runners work out routinely, they eat well, they get quality amounts of sleep, etc.
- Design the habit to achieve the desired result - it is about consistency, not amount. It is the routine that matters. Running five times a week for three miles creates a pattern that is life-altering and beneficial.
- Reflect and monitor the progress - putting forth action and effort have greater value when one evaluates them. There will be highs and lows. The amount of miles could change if training for a marathon. An injury could force the runner to miss a day or two. Positive self-compassion is needed when there are stumbles. In the end, the different challenges are less likely to detract when there is reflection. The reflection helps with understanding, allowing for a recommitment to get back on track.
- Celebrate the accomplishments - when establishing the habit, celebrations for completing the necessary steps reinforce the likelihood that the final outcome occurs. Creating a sense of pride for a job well done or encouragement to keep going because that’s what runners do. Take time to enjoy the process, recognizing one day that it has become who you are.
Now transfer this to the classroom: I am a scholar. I will read and study every night at the kitchen table. If I have questions, I will use my tools and resources to find out the answers or go to the teacher with my Points of Confusion so I can reflect on how it all connects for my learning. I am proud of creating my daily routine, resulting in scores that demonstrate achievement and grades that represent learning because I am a scholar!
Spectrum Middle School is a community of learners, where everyone works together to help students be the best they can be. The habit of collaboration is what we do all of the time, not just in January and not for just 66 days. It is who we are, and February is a great time to celebrate and also recommit for the rest of the year.
Weeks at a Glance
- Monday, February 15: President’s Day - No School
- Tuesday, February 16: Annual Spectrum Lottery for 2021-22 school year