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Med School Sticky Habits = Conquered Goals

Goals.You know all about goals.

You’ve hit some big ones: passing the MCAT, getting into med school, surviving that day a few months back when you drank 13 cups of coffee in one sitting (#humblebrag).

Now you’re looking to make this year your best yet with sensational goals in addition to dominating Step 1. Think you have to get on a whole new level of awesome to do it? It’s really much simpler than that.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle

If ole Ari is right, it may be time to evaluate which great habits got you to where you are and what new habits you need to adopt for continued — and elevated — success. Never fear, great tips for building habit are near:

Know Your WHY.

  • Give your new habit a foundation — figure out why you want to implement it. With all the other shiny objects in life vying for your attention, you need to be emotionally invested in this habit to make it stick. Want to make it a habit to work out every day? Be very clear on what you’ll gain from that habit and why you want those results. On the days when you’d rather face a firing squad than a treadmill, your true why (such as being able to run that marathon with Team in Training in your Grandma’s honor) will have you lacing up your running shoes.
  • Med school is no different. Why are you driven to become a doctor? Who are you going to help? What is going to be changed in this world as a result of you being a doctor? You will make a difference – picture that difference when the going gets tough.


Make ONE SMALL HABIT at a Time.

  • Instead of stretching yourself too thin by learning five new habits at once, pick one each month, master it, and move on to the next. Small changes are sustainable, says Matt Cutts.
  • If you’re going to take on about 12 new habits this year, it’s important to pick the ones that will have the biggest impact. Whether your goals are academic or outside of med school (there’s life outside of med school?!), pick habits that support your most important dreams and ambitions.

Do it on the DAILY.

  • Experts squabble about how long it takes set a new habit, and this study shows it could vary for every individual, but the key is doing it daily. Consistency is king.
  • You may miss one day, but never let yourself miss two days in a row.



Tell your friends and family about your goals and how they can support you. Be specific. If you know you you feel like abandoning studying every Football Sunday, have your friends tape the game for you and make sure you stay off social media. Maybe you can even talk friends or family into watching the taped game with you, so you can get the Sunday crowd experience without sacrificing your study goals that day.

Ron Robertson

Ron Robertson, Co-founder & CEO, Picmonic Inc.

Ron Robertson founded Picmonic as a 3rd-year medical student at the University of Arizona. He’s at the helm of Picmonic’s mission to lead and inspire a new era of learning through innovative and effective educational solutions. Ron holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of San Diego with a focus on memory science, is the product visionary behind Picmonic, and is involved in every aspect of the company.

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