Time To Create Good Habits

Friday, October 20, 2017 - By: Bud Patel, Head of School

Recently during assembly, I shared with our school the remarkable start to the school year. With 180 new students to the senior school plus another 20 Grade 8s, the seamless transition to Brentwood’s rhythm, while not perfect, has been exceptional. Now we’re in the hard part  - Camp Brentwood has expired. This is not to say that the same kindness and support won’t be there, but expectations have begun to ramp up.

 “Good habits”, I proclaimed, usually leads to a positive outcomes. While the most common notion is that it takes 21-30 days to form a habit (according to Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon from the 1950s), Dr. Phillipa Lally, a professor of health psychology at the University College of London, learned in a 2009 study that it actually takes, on average, 66 days to form a habit. Now that’s the “average”, so easier ones like making your bed every morning may take less time and more difficult ones like getting a six pack across your abdomen may take longer. The bottom line, though, is that it is well within one’s power to create good habits.

I encouraged students to pick one good habit of reasonable size and commit to the 66-day plan. At the time of writing that would take us to December 2nd. For example:

-          Write a to do list every evening before going to bed

-          Take one hour a day for silent study in the Learning Commons

-          During every meal, choose one thing from the salad bar

-          During sport, choose one practice to go above and beyond or,

-          Practice for 30 mins with a musical instrument.

 While these habits are laudable and achievable, they must help support a larger goal. So perhaps the above list should be slightly tweaked.

-          To be more organized, write a to do list every evening before going to bed;

-          To be well prepared for classes, take one hour a day for silent study in the

 Learning Commons;

-          To be healthier, during every meal, choose one thing from the salad bar;

-          To test my limits, during my sport, choose one session per week to go above and beyond or,

-          To improve my play, practice for 30 mins with my musical instrument.

At the end of assembly, I confidentially shared by goal and good habit that I’ve committed to for 66 days. It’s a secret, but perhaps I’ll reveal it on December 2nd.

Bud Patel, Head of School

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