Working on your firefighter promotional exam prep can be a hard thing to accomplish, especially when it is seen as a chore. If you follow these steps, however, you can turn that chore into a habit that is just a natural part of your daily routine.
Set Your Goals & Schedule Them
The first step to creating a new habit is to define your goals. Figure out what you need to accomplish. Once you have set your goals, you will need to actually make a schedule so you can reach them. Just having goals is a great start, but to accomplish them you have to take the time to plan. Figure out what materials and supplies you need, figure out the date of your test, and then plan out how much you have to read each day or week to have read and studied all of the material by then.
Once you have a schedule in place, follow it. Use it as motivation to meet all of your goals each week. You can even set alarms for yourself if need be to keep you on schedule. If you schedule your sessions ahead of time, you should have no excuse when the time comes to study.
A great way to form a new habit is to anchor it to another already established habit. This means, you plan your study sessions for every morning after you eat breakfast, or every night before dinner, around any task you do daily no matter what already. You will already be doing the established habit so make studying for your firefighter promotional exam an extension of that. This will help you stay consistent in your studying and it will also make it easier to remember when it is time to do so.
When you are ready to start your new habit it is important that you take a good long look at yourself and figure out why it has been so hard for you to study for your firefighter promotional exam previously. What is causing the procrastination, the mind-wandering, or just plain avoidance because it is boring and so on. Once you have defined your triggers you need to do your best to stop them in their tracks. Oftentimes you may not even realize you are doing these things and self-sabotaging. So go inward and figure out what you need to do, or stop doing, to stay on track and make studying a part of your daily life.
A great way to make something more enjoyable and more likely to become habitual is to reward yourself for keeping up with it. If you have a schedule or weekly goals, at the end of the week you can reward yourself with something like a hike, or going out to eat. Rewarding yourself for completing your study schedule will encourage and motivate you to keep doing so. If you need to, ask someone to hold you accountable for your weekly rewards so you only get them when you actually deserve them.
Just Do It
The hardest part about creating a new habit is just doing it. There are so many reasons not to, it's easy to just say you’ll do it tomorrow, but you have to just do it. No matter how much you don’t want to or how many excuses you have for not doing it, you have to just do it. The more you skip or reschedule your study sessions, the more likely it is to happen again, because it can be so easy to do. You have to just buckle down and study. After several weeks of following through no matter what, it will be so much easier to get motivated to keep going. Consistency is key to this becoming a part of your everyday life and preventing it from becoming something negative.
Studying for your firefighter promotional exam is a job in itself. Making it a part of your everyday life until it becomes a habit will take some of the stress off of studying. It will just start to come naturally to you and be less of a chore the more you do it. With all of the time you are putting into this, it is important to remember why you are doing this in the first place.