The moment you take responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you can change anything in your life – Hal Elnod
It is common knowledge that clearing the Civil Services Examination is not for the faint-hearted. The examination process requires focus and consistency for over a year. Even after spending hours every day poring over books and practicing tests, one can fail the IAS exam at any stage. The UPSC sets comprehensive and tough question papers which test the analytical ability of the candidates every year.
Lifestyle Changes Required To Clear IAS
Clearing the written papers is half the battle won, the other half is the interview, even though the proportion of marks is less, it can make or break your chances at selection. Clearing an examination as comprehensive as the UPSC requires a few lifestyle changes. Read on to know more:
- Be an Early Riser: If you are not in the habit of waking up early, start doing it now. The human brain works best during the early hours of the morning, utilise those for study and to meditate. Rise early and learn to freshen up fast. This habit would stand you in good stead even after clearing the exam as the training at the service academies follow schedules that start at dawn and go till dusk. Afterwards, as a civil servant or a law enforcement officer, this would help you discharge your duties efficiently.
- Avoid Lethargy: Maintain energy levels throughout the day. Avoid lethargy and laziness at all costs. Will yourself to study and analyse the study material, complete activities on time and generally be upbeat and enthusiastic. This can be done by following a proper sleep schedule and eating right, as well as maintaining discipline in your thoughts and actions.
- Stop Procrastination: Procrastination is the enemy of success. If you have a well-planned strategy to clear the examination, it would be of no use if you cannot complete the steps on time. Procrastination will just make you fall behind on important tasks and just make your work harder to complete later. Follow the schedule you have set to the letter and never let laziness creep in. The vast UPSC Syllabus means every day has something important to study.
- Love Reading: If you love what you do and enjoy it, you are already a success. To clear the Civil Services Exam, it is important to study a lot. The preparation process involves a lot of reading, so to be able to prepare efficiently, develop a love for reading. If you are already an avid reader, develop a taste for the kind of subjects that UPSC tests the candidates on.
- No Binges: Avoid bingeing like the plague. Be it food, or series on Netflix or videos on YouTube. Bingeing will take out a lot of time and lead to procrastination. If you want to watch something to take a break from reading and writing, try to stick to best news channels for UPSC aspirants.
- No Late Nights: It is a mistake that most people preparing for an exam fall prey to. Late night studying is not going to be a magical cure for any shortcomings in preparation you may have had during your day. Having a disciplined schedule and completing all parts of your preparation before bedtime is essential.
- Eat right: An occasional snack or eating out is alright from any standpoint, but do not make it a habit to depend on junk food for your needs. If you do not have time to cook for yourself during your UPSC preparation, ask for help from close relatives, or eat from a place that serves healthy food. Include green vegetables, lots of fluids and fruits in your diet. It will shield you from many health problems. Also, it will help you maintain good eyesight as a lot of reading means focussing your sight at short distances for long periods of time. This can lead to myopia if you neglect your diet.
- Exercise Light & Regularly: It is important to maintain a good physique, but during UPSC Preparation, learn to hit the right balance between getting ripped and having the time and energy for studying. Do not give up on exercise altogether if you used to exercise, and those who did not, start a regimen of light exercise for a few minutes during the day. But do not go for long and tiring sessions.Yoga and Tai Chi are good choices if you need a form to concentrate on. If you do not want to do this, then stretches and light jogging are good.
- Meditate: A few minutes of meditation during the morning or evening is a good way to rejuvenate your mind and prepare for the next stage of study. Just a few minutes out of your day to empty your mind and visualise the schedule you would follow during the day would help you concentrate better while preparing for the IAS Exam.
- Be Consistent: All of the above would not help if consistency is not a trait that you develop. UPSC exam is the gateway to a prestigious but gruelling career. Learning to be consistent early on while preparing for the exam will help you not only to ace the exam, but also to ace the career that will follow.
These tips are in no way exhaustive or mandatory. These worked for the author while preparing for the UPSC examination. Readers are welcome to try out what works best for them, but an early morning, a good night’s rest, focus and sincerity are a must just not for UPSC preparation, but also afterwards during your service.
Give preparation for the UPSC all that you have got, and success will follow.