Habits – Establishing and Reestablishing Them

Coming out of lockdown has given us an appreciation for things that might have previously escaped our notice. Even though “connection” has always been at the heart of what we do at Indi-ED, all around us, we see people approaching the subject of connection with new eyes. 

We can count it “gratitude” for being physically in the company of others again. The awareness of the value of connection is one of the blessings to come from the experience.

During the long stay at home, we had many days to get slightly worse at many different things.  That can add up to feeling not-so-great about ourselves or not so very motivated and productive. 

At first, the lockdown was lovely – like a very long weekend interrupted here and there by familiar faces on the computer screen. Enjoying the freedom of not having an in-person interface was novel. 

There was more time to read, play games, call friends, paint, draw, or strum strings. Being in soft, stretchy home wear all day was luxuriant. Then, slowly… it became a matter of combing the front of your hair before the next video call, but maybe not the back. Bedhead in the back was off-camera. Did you brush your teeth? Well… there’s still time. That mustard on your knee from last night’s hotdog won’t show anyway. At some point, you might have found yourself eating straight from the pot because… well, why create another plate to wash, right?

As we revel in the joy of being together again, we are taking stock of habits. Coming out of stay-at-home orders is grander than New Year’s Eve for motivating a whole new you. And we know too well that those “resolutions” often do not have staying power. 

But why? Why is it so easy to slide into less than optimal ways of operating but so challenging to identify, embrace, and maintain the things we aspire to do and be?

Our high school students are exploring Atomic Habits, An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, by James Clear. They are pulling out some key principles and how to apply them to impact the next steps of their lives. They’re also studying behavioral psychology, and the two walk hand-in-hand towards empowerment. Imaginations are ignited by the realization that a daily change of 1% can take you to 37% better in a year or to zero if you’re moving in the other direction.

Becoming the architect of your future is a lovely dance between experience, failure, forgiveness, challenge, surprise, inspiration, and habits. Indi-ED has always measured what we do against our intention to put it into the hands of the students. The learning experience is theirs. We are guides and celebrants. 

This is, after all, a place less focused on what a student knows and more on who they are becoming. Acquired knowledge might stay, fade, stack, or change in the face of new evidence, but who they are when they leave us stays with them for a very long time. We take that responsibility seriously. And it’s glorious to watch it unfold face-to-face.


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