Monday, 16 November 2015

Practice Practice Practice = Habit

My husband said about two hours ago that he was going to bed. Instead of thinking, "Yay! I can go to bed early!", I have been moping around my office trying to work out why I felt so at a loose end.

Then I realised.

For the past ten weeks, on a Wednesday, I have been reading and interacting with others on a MOOC. The MOOC was an edX course, How to Survive your PhD. My Wednesday nights have been #survivephd15 nights, where I have been focused on learning, on catching up with all that has gone on since the last time I checked in with this 13,500-strong community, on the edX site, on Twitter, on Fb and in sourcing readings.

But tonight is different.

It is different because the MOOC is over.

I didn't think I would miss it, but I do.

The title of this blog post comes from my old HR lecturer: it was something he would say regularly in class (along with his prescriptive instructions for us taking our notes "Now, take a new line..."!).

What he meant by that was that if we repeated a behaviour enough, we would build it into our psyche. We didn't build habits by not repeating the behaviour we wanted: we built habits by doing the work. Regularly. Often. Ad nauseam.

I built a habit: Wednesday night MOOCing for ten weeks. There is no more MOOC; thus I am suffering #survivephd15 withdrawal.


I am sad, and lost. Two emotions that we didn't cover on the MOOC. Perhaps I should tweet Dr Mewburn and suggest another course...?! instead I went and read all the #HDRblog15 challenge posts. Maybe Debsnet's challenge will become my new Wednesday night treat. Or maybe I should put on my big girl panties and make my own entertainment.

But I want to keep the habit I have built, and keep working on how a PhD works, not just in it :-)




  1. Great idea to make your Wednesday nights blog nights in lieu of #survivephd15. Looking forward to reading more (perhaps weekly!) posts in the future.

  2. I had withdrawal symptoms too!
    I've been trying to keep the momentum going too. But maybe it wasn't a practice long enough to fully imprint my brain....
    Good luck with it all!


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