What habits could help you be a successful student?

People want to succeed in school, and in life.  But what are some key elements that lead to success?  What steps can you take this semester to be highly successful?

Stephen R. Covey(1), the author of the classic bestseller, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People ® , states that there are, you guessed it, 7 important habits that can make you successful (each step is a chapter):

  1. Be Proactive

Your choices are the most important factor in achieving your desired outcomes/goals.  With every choice, try to ask yourself if you are making decisions that move you closer or away from your desired goals. (Example, how does choosing to unhealthy food fit with your goal of better health? Or how does choosing to not get enough sleep fit with your goal of doing well in school? What can you do differently?)

  1. Begin with the End in Mind

Successful people think about goals (Examples: better grades, better health, friendships, etc.) and write them down. They keep them in a place where they can see them regularly (1 or more times per day). This helps your mind stay focused on step 1.

  1. Put First Things First

Successful people do activities each day that are aligned with their goals. (e.g., are you studying effectively, are you eating healthy and exercising regularly? Did you reach out to a friend today? etc.).  This habit involves action steps towards your goal.

  1. Think Win-Win

Successful people think in terms of “win-win” solutions to their own problems and the problems of others.  (In the case above, you could study regularly with a friend or eat healthy/exercise regularly with a friend who also seeks to improve their health).

  1. Seek First to understand, Then to be Understood

Successful people do not jump to their own conclusions without first without first trying to understand others in a non-judgmental way.  When approaching something upsetting or interpersonal problems, a good question to ask might be “Can you help me understand your thought process regarding that decision?” “What are other possible reasons for this situation?”.

  1. Synergize

Effective teams can be more powerful than individuals working alone. For example, studies show that people who exercise with other people tend to have better outcomes than those who do not(2).

  1. Sharpen the Saw

You are your greatest asset.

Regular maintenance and proper fuel with help your car to work efficiently and reliably, even avoid some problems.

Successful people take care of their mind and body, so that they are more likely to achieve success. This means proper stress/emotional management, adequate sleep, healthy eating habits, exercise/yoga/meditation, and avoidance of alcohol/drugs/excessive caffeine, spending time with others.  See previous blog posts regarding proper self-care and maintenance. Other examples include, exercise/nutrition/wellness coaching, study skills coaching, emotional management through counseling, etc.

These are only some of the habits. It may help to start thinking of achieving results as a process, and look for resources that can help you continuously improve.


  1. Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.
  2. Plante TG, et al. International Journal of Stress ManagementVol8No32001 Does Exercising with Another Enhance the Stress-Reducing Benefits of Exercise?

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

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