We’ve all felt it before. You scroll through Netflix for half an hour, only to find you aren’t in the mood to watch anything. You stare in your fridge and decide there is nothing to eat, only to come back and stare at it again. You load up video game after video game but can’t seem to get any of them. You’re bored!
Most of us don’t view boredom as a dream-killer. We see it more like a thing that just happens and eventually goes away. However, boredom is a symptom of a greater problem. When you feel bored, there is a lack of passion and purpose in your life. It shows a need to find motivation and build up the mental strength to get excited about your life and the goals you are working towards. Boredom sucks on your passive energy, so to beat it, we need to be active. Here are five ways to crush your boredom and keep your dreams alive and well!
1) MOVE! It is difficult to feel bored if your heart rate is up. Whenever you feel bored, get up and start exercising. Don’t wait and think about what type of exercise to do or where to do it, or you will continue to sit in place and feel bored. Have go-to exercises that you enjoy doing so you can spring to action right away.
2) Vision Board – Visuals are very effective in centering our mind and regaining focus. Create a vision board that displays the goals you have and accomplishments you hope to achieve. When you feel bored, look at it and remember the vision you have for your future. Still feeling bored? Add a few more pictures to your display.
3) Infuse Passion – When you are not bored, write down a list of things that you are passionate about and why you are passionate about them. It could be school subjects, hobbies, sports, extra-curriculars, religious beliefs, philosophies, family, friends, or anything else that makes you tick. Then, when you are feeling bored, review your list. Add a few more reasons. Realizing what makes you feel passionate will help you spring into action and out of boredom.
4) Serve – When you are bored, you are typically stuck in your own head. The best way out is to help someone else out! Go serve your family, your friends, your community… Being helpful is productive on many levels and will kick your boredom in a way that will make you proud. It will even create some lasting memories.
5) Have a feel good box/folder – Boredom causes you to forget the best qualities you possess and the great, positive influence you can have on the world. In those moments, keep either a physical folder or a digital file filled with praise you’ve received. Letters / texts from people special to you saying what you mean to them, tests with high scores on them, trophies/medals, and any other memory that shows your value should all be kept in one place. Any time you feel bored, pull that box out, look through what other people have said about you, and kick your boredom so you can continue living up to the best qualities that people see in you!
Boredom is a slow and silent dream-killer. It feasts on inaction and laziness. Kill it with energy and liveliness, and continue to live out the life you have always dreamed of!
Wayne Gretzky famously said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." One of the biggest dream-killers is a fear of shooting your shot. When we talk about the phrase "shooting your shot," we are describing moments where you go for something that seems or feels unachievable. Whether in sports or in life, most people fail because they refuse to start. We see it every day in every aspect of life: A person doesn't have the courage to ask their crush on a date, a job has too many qualifications listed so people decide not to apply, or a student decides not to sign up for honors classes / a difficult exam because they assume they will fail it. Unfortunately, we can only improve by pushing our limits, not by living within them. Let's dive into the root of this dream-killer, see why people don't shoot their shot, and determine ways to overcome those obstacles.
Why it's difficult to shoot your shot:
1) High expectations - "The job requires more years of experience than you have. The test includes subjects you haven't studied before. A scholarship requires a competitive, difficult to write essay." High expectations of a position lead many to fail to try. It can be overwhelming to attempt something that seems impossible for you to get.
How to go for it: If you reach beyond your limit, you begin to create a new limit. By attempting something that has expectations higher than you feel like you can reach, you allow yourself the opportunity to go for it. You will either get the position and raise your level quickly, or you will not get it and receive a valuable experience. For example, interviewing for jobs above your qualifications will get you used to high pressure interviews and will help you become more persuasive in convincing employers to hire you. That valuable experience is lost when you don't make an attempt.
2) Competition - "Other people are more qualified. Other people are better looking than me. Someone else deserves it more or worked harder for it." Whatever the excuse, many fail to shoot their shot due to a feeling that someone else is better than them. A typical thought that leads this failure is "why would they pick me when they have better choices."
How to go for it: When you compare yourself to others, you willingly give up your right to see what you can achieve at your own best. It doesn't help that it is easy for you to spot your own flaws, while recognizing only the excellence of other people. It's time to play lawyer! You need to make the most convincing arguments for why YOU deserve the success you are hoping for. Ignore the competition and focus on your own excellence. Write it down so you can see that you are worth taking the shot.
3) Excuses are easier - "I don't have time to put in the extra work. I would need to learn this extra skill. I would have to pay for another book." When a huge, difficult goal is looming, it is so much easier to make an excuse than it is to go for it wholeheartedly. Even if you convince yourself that a shot is worth shooting, an excuse can suddenly hamper your progress and allow you to just forget about it.
How to go for it: Accountability can do wonders to reducing your excuses. You should employ self-accountability and accountability from trusted friends, family members, and/or mentors. Be clear in what you need to do daily to accomplish your big goals, and ensure that you have a punishment/reward system in place for meeting your daily expectations. Check in regularly with trusted friends and ask them to be on your case in doing those daily tasks. Remember, it's not about focusing on the end result so don't look for accountability on whether your shot is successful, just that you are making progress towards taking the shot.
4) Unmotivated - "I'll give it a shot next week. It's not really that important to me. I'll see if I can fit it into my schedule." The hardest part of shooting a shot is getting started. Once you get momentum, obstacles can be overcome much easier. Overcoming the initial feeling of being overwhelmed and having so much to do can end a dream before you get a chance to explore it.
How to go for it: Break the big goal into very small tasks. Start with the smallest and easiest task and accomplish it. Don't look at the goal as one big project, as then you will always feel overwhelmed. A checklist can be very handy for assuring that you have broken the tasks down and can make consistent progress without adding weight to your own shoulders.
5) Lack of self-belief / limitations - "I just can't do it. It's too difficult. I've never done something like this before. I've already tried it once and it didn't work." The last and most effective barrier to shooting your shot is not believing in yourself. When you decide that you can't do something, your thought becomes truth. It is difficult to believe that you can accomplish something that you've never seen yourself do before. This is the largest wall standing in the way of an exceptional life.
How to go for it: A lack of belief in yourself shows a focus on results mixed with high levels of nerves and anxiety. You only don't believe in yourself when you care about the results and nothing else. If you think it's all about getting the test score you want, and you put no thought into getting better and improving, you will crush yourself before you even start. It's time to switch your thinking to the process and forget about the result! Spend time attempting to get better. Mark your improvement somewhere so you can see that you are getting better. Monitor your progress and do not allow the results to change what you feel about the progress you've made. Replace the nerves you feel over the results, with excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to grow!
Every great accomplishment I've had throughout my life started with me attempting something I had no business achieving. Instead of dwelling on the idea of not being good enough, I became curious with how good I could potentially be. Drop the fear and go find out what you are actually capable of when you go for it!
In this blog series, we will be discussing the biggest dream-killers - mindset issues that limit your performance and actively hold you back from achieving your maximum potential. Our first dream killer to discuss is anxiety. Did you know: whether in middle school, high school, or college, around 20% of students suffer from high level testing anxiety that impacts their test scores by 6-12%? (McDonald, 2010; Ergene, 2003). Some estimates go as high as 40% of students, and other research shows that of the students who don't have high level anxiety, a majority of them have at least a moderate level of testing anxiety that keeps them from their best test scores.
Anxiety kills dreams slowly and silently. While some cases of anxiety can be entirely crippling, for the average student, it is much more subtle. It creeps up before or during tests, making you shake and sweat as it turns your stomach upside-down. The problem with testing anxiety is that it doesn't usually stop you from performing, but it does stop you from doing your best. Many students believe that they don't have a problem because they show up and get it done regardless of how they feel. That toughness is great, but without addressing anxiety, they will never see their best possible test scores.
Let's look at some ways mindset training can help you overcome testing anxiety and achieve your highest possible scores on EVERY test.
1) Preparedness - Cram studying and anxiety go hand-in-hand. It's natural to feel nervous for something you are not prepared for. Regular, consistent study habits can help to reduce your feelings of anxiety. Know that you are prepared and allow that to give you confidence as you go into the test.
2) Routines - Have you ever had trouble falling asleep the night before a test? If you go to sleep at different times every night and have not trained your body to sleep during certain hours, adding anxiety over a test will keep you up all night long. Being consistent with your routine will allow your body to relax when it is supposed to. Eat and sleep at the same times, keep your routine the same every day, and watch as testing days become much more relaxed and calm.
3) Important, but not Special - We have a tendency to build tests up to be bigger than they are. Often, students will change up everything about their approach for the big exam. In their head, they give the test too much respect and build it up to be a mountain that is impossible to climb. You should believe that every test is important, but that does not mean it is special. Each test is just another day in your life and another of many opportunities you will have to display and show off your knowledge. Making it any more than a regular day will set off your anxiety quickly.
4) Visualization - It is easy to visualize worst-case scenarios. We want to think positive but those thoughts don't always come naturally. Most people tend to get caught up in negative thoughts like failing the test, missing the passing grade by one point, feeling the panic of not knowing a question, etc. It is important that you actively seek out positive thoughts. Force yourself to imagine what it will feel like to get the high score, know all of the answers, and have confidence throughout the test. The more you actively think about positive scenarios, the more naturally they will come and the less anxious you will feel.
5) Process, not Results - Anxiety hits hardest when you worry about the results. If you find yourself in the middle of a test trying to judge how many questions you need to get right to get the grade you want, you are already performing worse than your best. The more your focus goes to the grade, the more anxiety will rest on your shoulders. Start saying this in your head during tests: "I will score as many points as possible." Fight for every point, work to answer every question to the best of your ability. Don't think for one second about what the results might be. If you stay focused on the process of trying to answer every part of every question, you will be more in control and less anxious.
6) Get a mindset coach - We can improve every day with our own initiative, but a mindset coach will get you to your goals faster with more impact! If you want to achieve at your highest levels, you need guidance and mentoring. The knowledge, wisdom, and experience that a coach can provide will be invaluable to your success. Sign up now for a FREE coaching session and see how the mental edge can make the difference in your life!
For many, Monday is the most difficult day of the week. After a relaxing weekend, you are suddenly back into the grind of your school week. You feel more tired and groggy, perhaps even cranky. What's worse is that Monday sets the tone for the rest of your week. If you have a bad day on Monday, it can be challenging to recover as you play catch up until the weekend. Here are five ways to kick those bad Mondays and start conquering the toughest day of the week!
1) Natural Energy - Loading up on coffee and sugar is not the answer to staying energized on a Monday. Produce natural energy to get your day started off right. A morning walk/jog is great, as is an exercise program! Eat a healthy breakfast with fresh fruits. It is better to wake up earlier and have time to get your energy up, rather than waiting until the last possible minute to wake up and rush out of the door haphazardly. Make a morning meal and exercise a non-negotiable!
2) Monitor your goals - You probably have some big goals that you are striving towards. Every Monday, evaluate your progress towards reaching them. Decide on a plan of action that will allow you to move at least one step closer to reaching your goal. If you start your week with a clear vision, you will have a more productive week!
3) Accountability - Have a friend group that will keep you in check. Let them know what you plan on accomplishing this week and make sure they check in and hold you accountable to following through. Mondays are great days for study groups, as you can start the week by getting ahead on your work!
4) Self-motivate - Dedicate at least 10 minutes every Monday on motivating yourself. Look at inspirational quotes, save Youtube videos or Ted talks that encourage you, send messages of gratitude to your friends, family, and teachers. There are many ways to increase your motivation, so find what works for you and intentionally practice working on your motivation.
5) Make weekends consistent - Mondays are incredibly difficult if you had a completely different weekend schedule. If you wake up at 5:00 A.M. every school day, and sleep in until noon all weekend long, of course Monday will be a struggle! While it's okay to take a breather on the weekend and be more relaxed, you want your habits and routines to be as consistent as possible. The more consistent you are, the easier your transition to the school week will be.
Now go out and crush it this Monday, and every Monday that follows!!!
There are many different traits that help amazing students excel in the classroom. If you want to improve as a student, it is a good idea to watch the must successful students and apply those same traits to your studies. Here are the 10 most common traits that the most accomplished academics have:
1) Balance: They place a huge importance on school, but they don't make school their entire life. They participate in activities, hobbies, athletics, and other extra-curriculars. They spend quality time with family and friends. They focus a great deal of their energy on staying healthy and active.
2) Motivation: They don't just hope for motivation. They actively seek out ways to stay motivated and increase their motivation.
3) Humility: They pursue their best but don't act like the best. They are willing to learn from anyone and help anyone.
4) Confidence: They always believe that they can succeed. No challenge is off-limits.
5) Joy: Great students are happy students! They fall in love with the learning process and find genuine enjoyment out of learning new things, trying new skills, and mastering subjects that once gave them trouble.
6) Patience: They understand that learning is a process. They don't pressure themselves to learn complicated concepts in one night. They set a pace and stick to it.
7) Mental Toughness: If you sit in class with a great student, you won't know when they broke up with their significant other, when they couldn't sleep the night before, or when they received more homework than they could deal with. Outstanding students don't complain and don't show signs of weakness, they push through quietly.
8) Calm: No assignment or test phases them. Great students take every test, assignment, and homework in stride, knowing that they will do their best and be satisfied with the results.
9) Discomfort: They sign up for more difficult classes, challenge themselves to learn more complicated subjects, and push to learn outside of the classroom. They never get comfortable just coasting, getting A's in easy classes. They are always striving to reach the next level.
10) Visualization: They think positive thoughts about themselves constantly. They picture an A on the test, a perfect speech, a study session where they get every practice question right. They force negative thoughts out of their head and intentionally picture themselves in positive situations.
Many people have a mystical view on motivation. It comes and goes, appearing at random and disappearing when it's time is up. The truth is, motivation is intentional. Not only that, it is a skill that can be practiced! Here are five ways you can increase your motivation regularly through practice.
1) Write out your "why." There is a reason why you have set your goals and a purpose for you to pursue them. Write down the why: why you want to reach your goals. What does it mean to you? Then, place it somewhere that you will see it every day.
2) Identify and follow positive role models. Find people who are doing what you want to do. Learn how they reached their success. Watch them set and complete goals and allow that to inspire you to reach yours.
3) Visualize your success. Take time every morning to visualize what a successful day will look like. Picture yourself answering all the questions right, getting an A on the test, telling the joke that makes all your friends laugh, and anything else that you would define as a winning day. Let that visualization lead your day into a better path.
4) Write down the expectations you have of yourself. What are you trying to live up to? What standards have you set? This will help you stay motivated to live in a way that you will be constantly proud of.
5) Look up inspiring / motivating quotes or images. Don't just do this randomly. Set 5-10 minutes aside every day to look at things that inspire you. How often do we look at things that distract us, bring our mood down, or that have negative images? If you want to build motivation, you must evaluate what you look at and put more inspiring messages in front of you. Be intentional and set a time every day for your "inspiration time."
There are many other ways to practice motivation. When you find sources of inspiration that keep you driving forward with your full effort, make it a part of your habits and continue motivating yourself. Don't rely on motivation to just naturally come. Practice it!
Check out our new podcast! For our first episode, we tackle one of the most talked about issues: Standardized exams. Listen now to learn how to conquer test days with confidence! Make sure you subscribe to our podcast on your favorite music program!
Sometimes, studying can feel like banging your head against your wall. You put in hours of time and effort yet feel like nothing is sticking. If you've ever gotten to the test, only to realize that studying did not have you as prepared as you hoped, it's time to make your study sessions more efficient. Try these 5 tips and make your study sessions worth your time, every time!
1) Pace yourself. Cram studying rarely ever works. You need less study time if you break your studying up into many days. Find your sweet spot. Some people can only study for half an hour before feeling distracted and others can push through for an hour. Whatever your sweet spot is, a week of studying in a small time length is more impactful than a full day of studying non-stop.
2) Quit memorizing! Unless your test is to literally recite a memorized poem, stop trying to memorize information. Instead, learn concepts. Understand the foundation of those concepts and why they work. If you don't understand enough about the concepts you are studying, google is your friend.
3) Teach others. The highest level of understanding a concept comes from teaching that concept to others. Don't be afraid to study in a group and become a leader. As you teach your friends, you'll realize that the topics become ingrained in your own mind.
4) Keep yourself accountable. If you plan on studying consistently, you need to have ways to be accountable to your daily study plan. Allow yourself a reward for staying on track, like video game time, watching a movie, etc. Withhold something fun until your studying is done if you are avoiding it (make sure it is a WANT, not a NEED like food, sleep, etc.).
5) Be humble. Don't shy away from help. Ask your teacher questions and see if they have office hours or extra time to help you. Get tutoring or assistance from friends who are excelling at the topic you are struggling with. Look up videos that explain concepts in different ways. Don't try to do it all yourself. Take every advantage you can when it comes to learning.
Don't let studying become a waste of your time. Be efficient and effective in your methods so your studying gets the best result possible.
I was a terror in high school. Teachers would wait with eyes rolled in anticipation of the excuses I would make when work was due. I was horribly inconsistent with attendance, classwork, tests, or any other academic task. I had no motivation to try my best or excel in any area, so I decided to coast. My family expected me to go to college, even with my low G.P.A. It wasn't easy, but I managed to get on to a wait-list -- and eventually into a four year university.
I "tried" to make a change in college, but quickly reverted to my old habits of calling in sick often, doing the bare minimum, and worrying only about passing. I clung to hope for two years, before dropping out in anticipation of a failing semester. To keep my pride, I transferred to a different four year college. Again, I decided to make a change with no follow through, leading to a short stay. After 1 year, I failed out.
It took plenty of begging, pleading, and beautifully written personal narratives, but I eventually was accepted to my third college on academic probation. Thankfully, the year it took for me to convince any college to give me a third chance also gave me time to reflect on my mindset. It was clear that I had been taking the wrong approach to academics. This was the beginning of my mindset training.
The difference between my first two unsuccessful college attempts and my third, very successful attempt, was in the actions! Where previously I had simply said that I wanted to improve, at my third college, I took action to improve. I learned that mindsets do not change overnight, no matter how much hope or motivation one has. The only way to genuinely improve was to put in the time, energy, and practice! Becoming the student that I always wanted to be meant that I had to dedicate real practice to transforming into that person.
I decided in my third college to make a determined, practical effort each day in improving myself (not just studying to improve in a content area). Some examples of my "practice" included daily journaling to document successes and opportunities for success, setting lengths of time to look up and reflect on motivational quotes, writing and re-writing my priorities and setting up calendars to match the priorities I listed, and displaying/reading my goals many times daily to reinforce the big things I was striving for. These are just some examples of the activities that made up my daily mindset training.
The results came because I did not focus on the results. Each day, I focused on the process of improving and noticed, wrote down, and reflected on the progress that I made. Soon enough, I was moved off of academic probation and onto the dean's list, where I remained until graduation.
Mindset training taught me that it was not okay to settle for average anymore. I demanded the best effort of myself daily and expected to make something special out of my life. That expectation led me to graduate school, where I achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA and graduation in 1 1/2 years, while working full time. It led me to a selective Ph.D. program (where old me would probably have been too scared to apply to). I have successfully navigated all classwork, passed exams, had work published in a textbook, and am on the way to completing my dissertation and graduating.
Moral of the story: your intelligence does not determine your success in school. Mindset is what makes the difference. If you are struggling in school or even if you are having amazing success, but feel like there's another level you can get to, mindset training will get you there.
If you're ready for mindset training, make the wise move of signing up for our 1 on 1 coaching. It took me years of learning the hard way to develop the tools and resources to train my mind to perform at the highest levels consistently. The lessons that have taken me a lifetime of energy and effort, can be taught to you much more quickly with a coach who has been there and reached the highest levels of academics. Click on the contact us page, fill out the info, and treat yourself to a FREE 1 on 1 mindset session so you can see what the #Mentaledge can do for you!
In the world of education, there are hundreds of terms and concepts related to mindset. It makes sense, because your mindset determines the level of success you will have in school more than anything else! We want to start the year by breaking down the major concepts and showing where we fit in to the conversation.
Mindfulness is the ability to focus on the present moment. When you hear about mindfulness in the classroom, it refers to your ability to shut out distractions and stay engaged and "in the moment." Mindfulness techniques are varied and designed to help you stay focused, like deep breathing and meditation. Academic Mindset incorporates some mindfulness techniques and will help you stay focused in the present moment. However, we are NOT mindfulness.
Growth Mindset is a popular term in education, referring to your ability to spin any situation into a positive. Someone who practices growth mindset believes that success can be used to create more success and failure can be used as a learning experience for future success. They call it growth mindset because it shows a willingness to grow and learn from every situation and experience without a fear of failing or making mistakes. Academic Mindset training will certainly help you develop a growth mindset. However, we are NOT growth mindset.
Academic Mindset training is a systematic, intentional program designed to get your best performance out of everything you do in school and life. Like it is with high-level athletes, we work to get your maximum effort & results out of each class day, every study session, and all tests that you engage in. Our program evaluates, practices, and strengthens all aspects of your mindset in order to reach that potential that you don't even know that you have yet. In our curriculum and coaching, we use research-based practices that have helped countless students to increase motivation, confidence, and reduce testing anxiety, boredom, and apathy. The results of our programs show across the board, from higher GPA's and test scores, to better attendance and participation in class, to the joy and satisfaction you get from sitting in class.
Often, we are confused with other educational concepts out there because we draw our practices from many experiences and areas of research. If focusing in class and boredom is your biggest weakness, we will employ mindfulness techniques. If you quit often when failing at something and have trouble pushing through, growth mindset techniques will be practiced often until you are used to the positive spin. At Academic Mindset, we love these concepts and any others that increase your performance. However, we stand alone as the leaders in bringing out the best achievement of the students who we work with. Our systematic program is one-of-a-kind and has shown incredible results time and time again. We are excited to partner with you in making 2019 your best year yet in school and life!