The Ever-Going Debate: Motivation vs. Habits
What Works As You Prepare For The Most Difficult Examination UPSC-CSE?
We will end this debate right here right now
“We do not want you to be motivated. We want you to get habituated.”
To a process and a system that works.
To routines which makes you most productive.
To thoughts that are engineered towards success.
To scores that will outlast your ego.
To transformation within 3 months.
Why are we not favor of just being motivated?
Rohan was just nearing his final term examinations. A brilliant student who always used to ace his exams, his dream was to become an IPS officer. While his peers were preparing for interviews, he would do research on everything he would require and things he would need to do in order to succeed. Read toppers’ interviews, read their to-do-lists, strategies and blogs. One day, highly motivated, he finally decided that now he knows the starting point’s at least and should begin.
Day 1 went by in a jiffy. He loved the whole process and experienced a good night sleep that day.
On day 2, he woke up excited and went through 3 chapters in a single day. Such amazing energy!
Day 3 was a little less productive for him as he decided to take a longer break. A break that ended up with 3 hours of Netflix.
When he woke up on Day 5, a part of his mind wanted to so badly complete the series. But the other part pushed him to sit down to study. But the anticipation of watching the climax ruined his study hours. Concentration went for a toss. He finally closed his books and got the ultimate satisfaction of watching the show end. While sleeping he was consumed with guilt. Browsed through a topper’s video and went back to sleep with the decision to start afresh.
But day 6 became all the more difficult for him. The link was broken. His mind was anxious. Opened the books but no information was getting registered. He felt pressured suddenly. Nothing could go through this barrier and he ended up procrastinating. He decided to take a break.
But when did that ‘few hours’ break’ turned into 3 days full break and an addiction to a show that had nothing to do with his future, he just couldn’t understand. Only when he realized how unsustainable his methods were of not having a wake-up time, studying for 8 hours straight with no break, randomly starting off with his studies and then a show, being extremely easygoing due to tiredness and fatigue, he understood why exactly everyone gives so much importance to systems and processes to be followed on this journey.
What are these systems and processes every topper talks about?
Firstly, there’s no set system and process that works uniformly well for each of the aspirant. For some a particular timing works, and for some a particular method works. To each his/her own.
But everything starts off with one thing – the path where you get to explore what works for you. And the starting point is “habits”.
Habits along with these three notes –
- Focus on small improvements: Small habits matter. Small changes will lead up to bigger things. Remarkable results. They have the power to compound to a rank under 100!
- Every day we need to get 1% better: These changes cannot be achieved overnight. And so we start small. We focus on becoming just 1% better. So, how does it really look like in simple terms –
- On day 1, wake up at 8:30 am.
- On day 2, wake up at 8:15 am.
- On day 3, don’t push hard – keep at 8:15 am.
- On day 4, push for waking up at 8 am.
…this is how you reach your desired waking up time of say 6:30 am.
- Set systems, not goals: Your system needs an overhaul. See, goals are the end results. But you need to focus on what exactly help you arrive at the end goal. It is your processes, your systems, in short, the habits that you follow on a daily basis.
Goals = To secure AIR 1 in UPSC-CSE
Systems to be Set:
System 1: Having a set timetable.
System 2: Having a set schedule of study with tests, study time and revision time.
System 3: Eating healthy home-made food.
System 4: Having dedicated time for recreation and getting the right amount of sleep.
…and so on…
You have the power to create these systems. And these systems, will help you get the rank you are working hard towards.
How to create good habits to succeed in UPSC-CSE?
(Lessons Applied from the book ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear)
Surprised? Well, we love doing all the research for you, so that you focus on staying steadfast and succeed.
The 1st law (Cue): Make it obvious.
Do you brush your teeth after waking up? Does it require remembering? Don’t you do it on autopilot right? Yes, this is what happens when you get into a habit. All cues become invisible.
For example, Rohan enrolled into the ILP Programme and the way his preparation strategy has shaped up – it has become a natural way of being for him. He just doesn’t study on the basis of sudden moments of motivational energy but goes as per the process.
Right from his routines to his habits have undergone a massive change. And the changes that is witnessing is making is pretty obvious to him that they are working very well for him.
The 2nd law (Craving): Make it attractive.
What would happen when you know that you will be performing really well in the upcoming test?
You become happier. Your energy changes. The way you hold your pen change. The frowns disappear. Your shoulders are more relaxed. You concentrate much better.
When you know these results you create and follow these habits with happiness. Because this rewarding experience is addictive. And your brain would keep wanting more from it.
For example, with being a part of the ILP system and its detailed schedule break-up and set test schedules, Rohan could focus on micro-planning.
Also, every day, his progress started getting measured. For example,
If he completed 2 answers for that day = 20% complete
If he finished the quiz – another 20% complete
…just like that there are specific tasks given to be completed on a particular day, and you are shown your progress on a per-day basis.
(How cool is that! Who wouldn’t want to keep seeing 100% in their progress chart?!)
This led him to become more consistent, putting guesswork at complete rest and being assured that this level of detailed planning and preparation will only work towards making his dreams a reality.
The 3rd law (Response): Make it easy.
Most of the aspirants tend to schedule the harder part of the portion or the hardest action towards the end. They think that they will dedicate more time and energy to it. In the end, they end up procrastinating and hours become days. The idea is to take action. Consistent action, consistently.
Do not continue focusing on just staying in motion. Set an intention and take action. Do not delay failure. Put an end to it.
When Rohan had started practising answer writing under ILP, he wanted to write perfect answers. He could only focus on writing a max of 2 answers daily. His mentor noticed. During the scheduled mentorship call, Rohan’s mentor made a very valid point – Repetition > Perfection.
Start your habits with repetition and not perfection. Once repetition leads to auto-pilot, perfection will arrive on its own. That’s the way it works.
The 4th law (Reward): Make it satisfying.
It is basic human psychology – to do things more that you get rewarded for. That satisfaction of becoming better than 1% after every test, becoming better at writing answers each passing day, fellow aspirants looking forward to interacting with you and your mentors appreciating your efforts and progress – it is literally a game-changer.
With ILP, life has changed for Rohan.
“When you finally break through the Plateau of Latent Potential, people will call it an overnight success.”
Fellow aspirants think the same about Rohan. But it has been a steep learning curve for him. While ILP provided him with a platform to make it all possible for him, his own discipline and commitment to creating a system to achieve his goals have led him to this point.
This just means that ‘you’ have the potential within you. That potential requires the missing piece of the puzzle i.e., discipline. ILP will add that for you, we are sure.
As we conclude this blog, we would just want you to know and remember always –
Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery =>
Systems + Consistent Action = AIR TOP 100 (in the world of an UPSC-CSE aspirant)
About ILP 2023
An effort towards assisting an aspirant sitting at the remotest part of the country to crack UPSC with a ‘single-digit rank’.
By becoming consistent. Becoming disciplined. By being happy and relaxed about his/her process. By not letting feelings of fear, not being good enough affect you. By creating habits and writing your own success story. By getting a rank in the top 100, and beyond that, becoming a successful person in life – ILP will set you up for success!
As Rohan added fuel of discipline to his aspiration by joining ILP, YOU still have the chance to do so!
If you wish results like Rohan, you may join here: