Developing your IT training habits is a critical component to your training success. Let’s be honest: training is hard. It takes a lot of diligence and willpower. But if you can develop a habit of training, you remove the need for willpower because it becomes an automatic action.
Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, says that habit is a choice that we deliberately make at some point, and then stop thinking about, but continue doing, often every day. What if you could say that about your IT training experience? Just imagine how your job performance and career could be positively impacted if training became so automatic, so natural, that you simply did it every day!
Here are some practical steps to follow to create a habit of training.
- Create a realistic, achievable training plan.
Consider working with a CBT Nuggets Accountability Coach to help you get started with your training plan. Make sure your plan challenges you, while also being attainable. If your plan is too ambitious, it may become overwhelming. If your plan isn’t ambitious enough, it may become too boring! Aim for a healthy balance!
- Consciously choose a positive frame of mind for your training!
Learning new things is awesome. Learning how to do things more effectively or more efficiently is fantastic. Or, as one learner told us, “I guess if I learn something rad, it’s kind of a reward in and of itself!” If you can go into your training with a positive attitude, you will enjoy it more. Consciously choose to see the great things about training and choose to be grateful for the opportunity to learn cool stuff!
- Choose a time and place for training.
In order to create a true training habit, leverage the Habit Loop to make your training automatic. Choose a time and day(s) when you will train. Choose a specific place where you will go to do your training. (Here’s a pro tip: don’t train at your desk at work! Use a conference room, the server room, or even sit in your car to help you better focus on your training!)
- Create a cue that will trigger your training.
Set up some kind of reminder that it’s time to train! Use your phone, your calendar, or another tool to remind you that this is the moment when you get to train! (Here’s a pro tip: if you’re training at work, put your time on the calendar so no meetings are scheduled over your training.)
- Reward yourself when you achieve a training goal.
Rewards are an important part of creating a new habit. Use a small reward every time you train (maybe something like your favorite coffee drink, candy, taking a break, etc.). And create a plan for a big celebration and reward when you achieve your larger training goal! If you are working toward earning a certification, decide now what you’ll do to celebrate when you pass the exam(s).
- Make your training a routine.
We have a finite amount of willpower that we often use for tasks or responsibilities that we don’t enjoy. Habit is powerful because it removes the need for willpower altogether. Your training habit will get easier and easier the longer you do it because it will become routine. As it becomes routine for you, it will become automatic behavior that requires little-to-no willpower. Consistency is king in building a habit of training!
- Sustain your motivation!
Ralph Marston said, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” If you need help staying on track, create accountability for yourself by making your training goals public. Post your goals on social media, and share them with your friends, colleagues, coworkers, or maybe even your boss. Commit to your training goals, and add a dose of accountability to help ensure that you persevere through challenges and distractions that will inevitably come up.
Creating a habit of training, a process that is so natural and automatic that you don’t even have to consciously think about doing it, sets you up for long-term success. Use the power of habit to train more effectively, working your way into the career of your dreams!
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