Start With You In Mind: Step 1 in Personalized Studying 

Reasons reap results.”-Jim Kwik; Accelerated learning coach and CEO of “Superhero You.”

Two of the main reasons why studying often goes by the wayside are time and motivation—especially with all the other stuff that goes on in our lives. These are the two roadblocks you have faced, or will face, as an aspiring actuary, but you are not alone in this. This lesson, however, will help you get a focus on why you might be having trouble studying when you say you’re going to.

Destination of This Journey 

So what’s this lesson all about? By the end, you’ll be able to: 

1) Define what your end goal is when it comes to the actuarial exams—the “why” of what you’re doing. 

2) Draw from a well of strength for the times when your confidence falters. 

3) Identify the things that are most important to you that will happen during the time leading up to the exam so you won’t have to miss out on them or give them up in any way. 

Begin With You In Mind 

One of the biggest assumptions aspiring actuaries can make is they can just schedule their study time and they’ll do it. But then they end up blowing off the things that really help them be happy, well-rounded human beings, because study time cuts into the things that really matter to them, and suddenly, those people aren’t quite as happy.

So, it’s time to ask some questions of yourself and answer them honestly. 

Jim Kwik, a well-known accelerated learning coach, once said, “Reasons reap results.” This is essentially a good question for anyone to ask, regardless of their goals. So too, should it apply to the actuarial journey, right? Ask yourself the following: 

  • Why are you making the sacrifices you’re making to become an actuary?
  • Why are you pursuing this path? 

Getting clear even on just these questions will help you, if you’re not already sure. But say you have answered these questions and you know precisely why you’re becoming an actuary, and why you want to study and sit for the exams. Let’s move on to how you are going to personalize your study time. 

There are three questions you need to bear in mind as you go through this process.

1) What are your goals for studying, your career/job and your personal life?

It may help to define your goals for one year, five years or even ten years down the road—where you want to be, what you see yourself doing, awards received, celebrations had with family for your accomplishments, etc.

Now, for some, it may be challenging to think in terms of ten years, but take your time to do this anyway, because again, having reasons for doing things can help you better map out what you end up doing in those ten years, which can go by quicker than you think.

Visualizing goals can ultimately be a big help in creating personal drive.

2) What’s at stake for you if you don’t achieve your goals?

Thinking about and answering this question can help you definitively make the choice to go out—or stay in and study.

For instance, you might think, “Oh, wow, if I don’t pass this exam, I’ll have to take it again, and that’s a lot more time I have to spend studying—time I could spend with my loved ones.”

That’s a short-term worry, and yes, not passing the first time around is a real hassle.

But the longer-term things that are at stake if you don’t achieve your goals are often what you really need to consider here. Once you have those things in mind, you’ll know what steps you need to take so your goals and dreams become reality.

3) On a somewhat lighter note, the third question is a fun thing to think about: What are those fun times you want to experience, those key events that you really don’t want to miss out on?

Perhaps it’s a specific date night every week with a significant other, quiz night at the local pub on Thursdays, or perhaps football night with the gang on Saturdays.

Whatever it is that makes you, you, whatever it is that means something to you—those are your non-negotiables. Those are the things that enrich your life. Schedule those in first, and schedule your studying around those events.

You’ve Reached Your Destination 

So, let’s recap the purpose of the destination: 

1) Define the “why” of what you’re doing—what your end goal is concerning exams.

2) Defining your goals can help you draw on that well of strength when your confidence is a bit shaky. Knowing what you’re about, why you’re doing something can help you get back on track.

3) Being able to identify the things that are the most important to you leading up to the time of the exam—your non-negotiables–and scheduling your study time around them will allow you to enjoy what matters most in your life. 

Bear all this in mind as you make your study plans and you’ll find yourself with the time  and motivation that normally might elude you. 

Want more help with your journey?

  1. Actuarial Community: Feeling alone on your journey? Become a part of the Actuarial Journey Community!
  2. Create a study plan you’ll actually stick to!: This free video series will show you the step-by-step process to create you own Personalized Study Roadmap and design your Study Lifestyle
  3. Actuarial Job Course: a completely free full-length course with videos, worksheets, tools, and community all geared to help your get your entry-level actuarial job and start your actuarial career.
  4. Actuarial Journey Podcast: Get more insights and lessons learned each week sent directly to your phone!

Let us know in the comments below – Which one of these principles do you think would be the best for you to focus on for the next month?