Archive for May, 2013

About six weeks ago, I made a decision that may not seem very big to most people… but to me it was huge. I decided to run a 5K. It isn’t a long run by runners’ standards, but I’ve never been a distance runner, so it is pretty big to me! I’ve been using the Couch to 5K app to train and am now running almost 3 miles without stopping. There have been days I’ve struggled to keep going, but one thing I’ve learned is that I can’t allow myself to stop. At the beginning of my training, I gave up a couple of times, but I realized it made completing the run more difficult. Why? Because I had made stopping an option. So, I made a decision– no more stopping. I would keep going, even if it was a very slow jog. Surprisingly, when I did this, it was never as bad as I thought it was going to be– as a matter of fact, I learned that if I kept going, the quitters spirit went away and it got easier. Each time I finished a run, I increased my strength and determination for the next time. I developed a sense of pride and accomplishment, and because I didn’t allow myself to quit, it built my stamina, strengthened my muscles, and increased my confidence. All of this, just because I kept putting one foot in front of the other.dont stop

Are you doing something that doesn’t come easy to you? Are you entertaining the idea of giving up? Don’t let yourself believe any voice that says you can’t do something. Success is always the result of being very intentional and deliberate. I often see students who give up in a class, or even give up on pursuing their degree just because things got a little hard. The unfortunate thing is…. the point where a student begins to really struggle, is often the point where good things are about to happen. It is a moment when the student can quit, or make a decision that will build his or her stamina, strength and confidence.

When I first started my job at the community college, one of the first students I met with was taking a developmental math class for the fourth time. A few of the staff members thought he was a hopeless case…. he obviously wasn’t able to do it, or didn’t really want to do it, they said. But, I saw something different in him. When I talked with him, I learned that he had gone through some tough times and it negatively impacted his schooling. Yet, he had a tenacity most of the students I worked with did not possess. He told me that he was determined to pass the class and that he would do whatever it took to get through it. And he proved it to me by following through with the game plan I put in place for him, by attending math tutoring faithfully, and by not quitting! At the end of the semester, I got goosebumps when I heard the news…. He got an “A” in his math class! He understood that the only way that class would defeat him was if he quit trying.

So remember… don’t stop. Only volumes of hard work will close the gap between your outcome and your ambitions. It will take some time. And you may have to put up a big fight. That’s normal. You just have to keep going.

Don’t stop.

Are you struggling to do something that doesn’t come easy to you?

Last year, my husband died after a 15-month battle with brain cancer.  This year, when I heard that there was going to be a 5K fundraiser for brain tumor research, I knew immeidately that I wanted to do it. I could have signed up to participate as a walker, but I had a strong urge to sign up to RUN the 5K. To some of you, that may not seem like a big deal. However, the thing is…. I am not a runner. I am 47-years old and the last time I ran was in high school. Even at that, I was a sprinter and rarely ran more than a half mile. So, when I went on line and registered as a runner, it was probably kind of ridiculous. Still, I really wanted to do this in memory of my husband and honor his heroic battle with cancer. 

I am now in my 5th week of training and am getting closer and closer to being able to jog the three miles. I hope that by June 30, I can run the whole thing. Do you know what has got me this far?:

I want it. I want it bad.

I work with a lot of failing students whose main problem in college is a lack of motivation. They halfway do things, they give up before they’ve even really tried, and they have not made school a priority. I’ve started asking students, “How bad do you want it?” The answer is often very revealing, and one that can be indicative as to which students will do well and which students will continue to fail or drop out.

I think that question can be applied to a lot of things in life. What are you striving towards right now? How bad do you want it? Please…. Watch this video!!! It is inspiring!

As an English major, finals week usually involved countless hours sitting on my rear, with bleary eyes staring at the computer screen, conducting research and writing lengthy term papers. After a while I would begin getting drowsy or just feel the need to move. Do you relate? While taking a break can be beneficial, the risk is getting distracted and not coming back to it soon enough….. or not at all! 

I always tell my students to time the breaks ! I would suggest setting a timer for 15-30 minutes. And, what should you do? In my experience, taking a quick walk, doing some exercises, or any other physical activity can be especially helpful. It relieves stress, wakes you up, and gives your bum a break from sitting! Also, I’d suggest getting a drink, having a healthy snack, or whatever you need to revive your mind and body. However, as soon as your timer goes off, don’t procrastinate….. get back to studying!

Check out the link below to find a great chart for doing a full body workout in just 7 minutes! It fits perfectly into a study break and is great for your mind and body! 

7-Minute Research-Based Full Body Workout!

Let’s face it, sometimes getting started is half the battle. If you deal with procrastination or tend to lose track of time, there is an inexpensive and simple tool you can use to help you out. Buy a TIMER. In my opinion, it is one of the best and most necessary time management tools. How does it help? Well, let’s say you need to study for a test, but you find yourself playing Farkle, sharpening pencils, cleaning out your backpack, etc. A lot of us tend to “get busy” when we are procratinating because it disguises our procrastination, because we feel like we are doing something. So the first step is to recognize what procrastination looks like in your life!

Once you have your timer, this is what you do. Make a deal with yourself that you will start whatever task it is, and will do that task for fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes is pretty easy to do, right? Sit down with your study materials and set the timer, and go at it! When the timer goes off, you have earned a break. (However, if you feel like you want to continue, set the timer for another fifteen minutes and GO!) If you take a break, be sure to time your break, too! Allow 15 minutes breaks, at least every hour of study.

This really is a great tool and will generally cost you less than $10. Personally, I like the ticking timer, because it helps me to remember to stay focused. But, if you work best in silence, a digital timer is better for you.