Turning good habits into ritual to aid success – a good start to the new academic year

Now that young people are settling into the new academic year, young people studying GCSE and A-level are familiarising themselves with a new teacher, new peers and perhaps new subjects. They are embarking on another step of an exciting  learning curve of life. One thing that we are all guilty of is sliding into old bad habits – particularly those that will take us further away from where we want to be. Whenever we find ourselves in a new environment, the best thing to do is to use the opportunity to make the drastic change that is necessary.

Habits can be good for you

Habits are generally a good thing, as they have help to make people successful beyond their wildest imagination. When a habit becomes a routine and then turns into a ritual, it can be very powerful in helping people to achieve their goals. When habits that are built at a young age, they can have a profound effect on the future of a young person.

How habits and rituals has helped elite athletes to achieve outstanding success

One very good example of a good habit that has become a ritual is in sport, specifically in tennis. Two or three decades ago, sports psychologists who were researching into the very top tennis players, found that after a lengthy period of observing the top two tennis players in the world, they could not find any difference in their level of fitness or skill. They finally realised that the player who is number one always plays with the strings on his tennis racket between games. This ritual helps him to maintain mental concentration and to keep him away from distraction. It is amazing that such simple things can make all the difference between being astoundingly successful and being almost successful. Many top cricket and football players also have little rituals they carry out before and during a match, which they believe helps them perform to their best.

Habits can help to duplicate success

Traits that have helped many top sports people and others can be easily emulated by young people who want to do well at school and achieve academic success. Having natural talent is one thing but in my own opinion it accounts for less than 50% of the reason why students achieve the top exam grades. I have been so fortunate to have taught A-level Physics at grammar and also in independent schools.

Mediocre exam result is an offspring of habits

Teaching bright young people is such a pleasure. One thing that is not such a pleasure is watching very bright students drifting around and achieving mediocre exam results or in some cases failing altogether to get the grades in subjects that matters at GCSE and A-level. On the other hand, it is pleasing to see a student of average academic ability, working diligently and achieving an excellent set of exam grades. In both of the above situations, I have seen the effect both good and bad habits can have, both in aiding success and also in making young people perform below expectations.

Superstition won’t help you to achieve a  high exam result

A clear distinction must be made between adopting a certain habit, which often becomes a ritual in one’s life or carrying out certain tasks and becoming too superstitious and over reliant on these emotions. Any superstitious belief that does not include doing the work you need to do in order to achieve a particular result is simply a fallacy and it will only lead to disappointment. The believer will end up in a position much further away from where they want to be.

One has to be very careful in being too superstitious as it can lead to all sorts of undesirable results. It is particularly bad at a young age to depend too much on superstition and all that.

The reason why certain habits and rituals help people to achieve success cannot be scientifically proven. However, one can record people’s behaviour and see that certain people who do certain things in a certain way consistently achieve results that are far better that others with the same ability but who do those things differently, perhaps with no rhythm or consistency. It must be noted that each individual is different and the best rituals or habits that become ritual and lead to success are those that are developed by the individual. My own thing is making sure I have my Weetabix in the morning!

Below are some of the links that you may find informative.




Please do leave a  comment and we look forward to seeing you at our open day on 21st and 28th Sept, 2013