The immense power of small habits

Sophia Kritsineli Head of School
October 2, 2023

During the summer break, I read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. The book is a manual on how to make small gradual adjustments to everyday behaviours in order to build a sustained pattern of better habits to improve one’s attitude and ultimately one’s life.

As any parent can affirm, we hardly notice our children growing. And yet, they do! A couple of centimetres every few months go unnoticed until a grandparent or a relative visits after a long time and exclaims at how much the child has grown. It becomes apparent, only when it is cumulative. Habits work the same way, little by little, small choices cause gradual transformations which only become apparent when they eventually cross a threshold and start bearing the fruit of success.

Why is this important in our school life?

Well, simply because working towards success is a slow painstaking process of changing small routines, making smart choices and following through with them, despite the hurdles which temporarily block our vision of our target. Our habits will compound for us: if we are routinely late for school, let’s set up the alarm clock 5 minutes earlier. Waking a little earlier slowly becomes an automated action, we get ready earlier, we commute earlier, we arrive at school earlier, and we eventually become ready and productive earlier in the day. We can follow the same approach with school work: completing one extra task gives us a sense of a small accomplishment. This empowers us to engage in the next task and the task after that. Slowly, we progress. Progress in itself is, indeed, success.

Academic progress cannot be built overnight; on the contrary, it requires patience and commitment. From the moment a young person realises that something needs to change, they may experience spurs of excitement, pitfalls of disappointment and traps of boredom. Success is hardly ever a straight line. Keeping an eye on the result is important, but changing the system that brings the result is crucial. It is the process which brings progress. As James Clear advises: “fix the inputs in order to fix the output”. This does not mean that there will not be any failures. Failure is part of the process, it is an opportunity to recalibrate and keep going. Fail, but fail well, get back up, learn from this misstep and adjust your navigating systems.

Believe in the power of habits if you want to change your life for the better. This intrinsic motivation makes a habit become part of your identity and eventually improves your life, personal, social or academic.


October 10, 2023

Sophia Kritsineli Head of School

Bogaerts International School