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Developing Health Habits

Developing new habits is not easy, but as you have returned to school you have seen the importance of needing healthy habits to be successful in your social, physical, emotional, and academic life. Last month we talked about the Habit Loop and how we need to be consistent with a new routine to create a new habit. This month we are focusing on how small changes add up to big results. Let’s look at ways you can start this school year with little steps to build better habits.

10 Good Habits to develop:

1) Turn off your phone and other electronics 30 minutes before going to sleep- The blue light from electronics decreases the production of melatonin, which is a natural chemical in the body that makes us sleepy.

2) Listen to music that makes you happy– Listening to music when you’re feeling sad or upset is a positive coping skill to boost your mood.

3) Be inspired, not jealous– Don’t compare yourself to others- what they have, what they can do, what they look like, rather be motivated to improve yourself by finding your own passions, skills and hobbies.

4) Print papers and projects at least a day before submission– Don’t wait until the last minute and be rushed! Give yourself time to review your paper in print to make corrections.

5) Get Involved– Try new clubs, activities, and sports at your school to meet other students and expand your skills. Not only will you make new friends, but it will help your college application.

6) Celebrate small victories– Be proud of yourself! Set small goals, and celebrate when you reach each one.

7) Write down all your due dates– Stay organized by keeping a planner book so you do not miss turning in a school assignment. Daily assignments are important, so missing just a few homework assignments can bring down your grade.

8) Wake up 1 hour before school starts– Wake up early enough so you are not rushed to get to school. Have time to eat breakfast so you have energy to be focused in your classes.

9) Set goals now at the start of the semester– There is a saying, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” Your performance will improve if you have a goal to focus on.

10) Ask questions– Don’t be afraid to ask questions in school.  Teachers like students who ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to learn more, or to be sure you are understanding correctly.

3 Bad Habits NOT to fall into:

1) Skipping meals or not eating healthy– Being in a new culture can make it difficult to develop healthy, balanced eating habits. Remember to avoid a lot of snack food and soda, and include fresh fruit and vegetables.

2) Not studying for tests– Exams are an important part of your grades. Do not wait until the night before to start studying for a test.

3) Staying up late chatting with friends or playing video games– A teenager needs 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Research has shown that teenagers who get enough sleep have higher grades, better memory, and stronger emotional health.

Focusing on just a few of the small changes above will help you meet your goals this year, whether you are with your homestay family or at home. Your Coordinator would love to hear what you are planning to do this year to be successful in school, as would I! 

Remember last month I said I wanted to focus on putting down the ice cream and getting back to exercising? It’s not been easy…but here are some pictures of me being active. 


Tiffanee M. Wright, MA, MPH | Executive Director

AHLI – International Education and Homestay

Me on the elliptical machine.
My husband Al and I biking the Lititz-Ephrata Rail Trail in Pennsylvania.
Find me on WeChat and tell me how you are doing with the start of this year!