New Year? Build Some Badass Positive Habits!

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This is Your Year!

You want to make some changes, take on some new challenges and keep developing into your best self. Whatever your goals are, the most important thing to remember is that this is a messy process, a beautifully messy process.

Don’t expect smooth sailing, or perfection, or the easy way out, if you want to grow. Personal development and change is all about geting out of your comfort zone. If you want your life to be different you need to do things differently.


Doing things differently does not have to be painful! Sustainable change happens at a pace that is manageable for you. Focus on small shifts everyday that lead toward your goal. Accepting setbacks as learning, and not letting them derail you, is an important perspective to foster. It is all about the direction not perfection.

Perspectives, Strategies, Approaches and Ideas to Get You Started

  • Sustainable Progress: Just take it one day at a time. Your goal is to move in the right direction with patience and the acceptance of setbacks as part of the learning. Don’t try to change everything all at once, pick a few areas to work on. Small daily habits lead to long term growth.
  • Write Down Your Goals: Use a goal setting method such as S.M.A.R.T.
  • Make Your Goals Visible: Post them on your wall, create a card that you carry with you or create a vision board to remind you of where you are heading and why. Use this to visualize yourself accomplishing your goals.
  • Personal Wellness Approach: Surround yourself with positive influences. Reward yourself often when you are on the right track. Believe in yourself, and your ability to work through adversity, by consciously remembering the times when you have overcome difficulty in your life (write these down for future reference!). Acknowledge your positive attributes by also making a list of what you do well. Be kind to yourself by avoiding comparison with others (you have no idea what the real situation is for them).
  • Recognize Your Progress: “Feeling” like you are not succeeding is not fact. Feelings are fleeting. Take a moment and capture where you started and where you are now. Look at the facts.

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Feeling Stuck?

Not Sure How to Even Start Building New Habits?

Not Sure How to Get “Doing”?

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and read this!

How to Cultivate the Habits that Matter to You

Need Some Productivity Hacks?

10 Ways to Be More Productive in 2018



One of the most important things that I have learned is that your goals need to be your own, not for someone else, if you want to achieve them. It is going to get tough at times and you need to be clear why you are working toward this goal. At times, you are going to want to quit, but if you can really see yourself achieving this goal and what it will do for you, it makes the hard times easier to work through 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

Still Procrastinating? Oh Yeah! Well Let’s Grow a “Kick Butt” Mindset!

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Have you ever heard, “if you want something done fast, ask a busy person?” Well, there is so much truth to this. Have you ever noticed that once you have some momentum going, getting stuff done, that it is easy to just whip through a few other things on your list? I do! When I am busy, I am amazing, when I am not busy I am glued to Netflix (or some other distraction), lamenting about how much I have to do. Once I get moving, I am always surprised that I procrastinated longer than the task actually took to complete. Seriously, I need to stop that. I have definitely improved over the years with new strategies and self-knowledge 🙂

stop-making-excusesProcrastination is very normal. Stop beating yourself up about it and just learn more about why you do it and what works for you. Get on with it! It is way worse to be stuck in a procrastination spiderweb than to face any fear that is holding you back.

Mindset + GRIT = Motivation

So enough of all this procrastination. Accept it as a part of life (it does NOT define you), learn what leads you down that rabbit hole and develop a Mindset that makes you a “gritty” person and gets back on track. Let’s start with setting the brain mood and kick your thinker into gear with the “power of yet”. We often procrastinate because we fear that we are not capable of doing the task, or have no idea what to do. The whole purpose of being in school is to learn, so adopt this easy little perspective, “I haven’t learned this yet“. The “yet” part changes the game from “I can’t do this” to “I will learn how to do this”. You can grow! Believe me, I am one of those people who thought that I was lousy at most things until I started to take risks and just try. Yes, some things I was horrible at, but there was always some great learning in every loss and in the many wins.

“Well, great I would love to have a mindset that helped me grow, but I have no idea where to start”,  you say.

Well, I say, check out this resource!

25 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset


Brain Nerdand it’s PsychNerdy Time Again!

“Christopher Wolters and Maryam Hussain performed research on the relationship between grit and self-regulated learning and achievement. Self-regulated learning is the process in which students take an active role in managing different aspects of their own learning. Motivation plays a large role in self-regulated learning because it involves substantial cognitive and metacognitive (thinking about your own thinking patterns) resources. The cognitive resources is the way humans learn through experience and senses”. Source.

Their study found…

  • College students who persevered through difficult times, had higher GRIT qualities and were able to self-regulate their learning. This means that they were able to take charge of their own academic experience and work through the discouraging or rough times.
  • College Students, who reported being diligent and hardworking, were not very discouraged by setbacks, and found value in their coursework.
  • The researchers also discovered that gritty students would be less likely to procrastinate because they were involved in less disruptive and time consuming tasks (Wolters & Hussain, 2014). Students with grit have a long-term goal, and they do not want to stride away from them because it is important.”.

So why am I telling you this?!?

GRIT can be learned. You need to decide that you want to stop being defined by your procrastination. You want to adopt the attitude that you are in a learning process so mistakes are inevitable and valuable. Start saying to yourself that you are in a constant state of “yet” not “can’t”. Learn study management strategies that work best for you and that keep you moving.

Here are some things that work for me:

  • I know that the more experience I get with completing tasks only leads to me being more confident that I will get any assigned tasks done. This is so motivational for me. I know that I just need to get started.
  • When I struggle with getting started, I pair rewards with what I am avoiding. I let myself watch one episode of a series on Netflix and then see now much work I can get done in the same amount of time after the episode is done. If it is a 30 minute episode, I watch that, finish it and then set a timer for 30 minutes and race to see how much I can get done before I can watch my next episode.
  • I always do things in smaller chunks. I know the exact size of chunk that I need because the moment the chunk is to big, my inner 4 year old starts screaming “I don’t feel like working!” (said in super whiney, poor me voice). So, reduce the chuck size and say “I will study for 15 minutes”, “I will just get this small part done now” or “I will just get some/all of my work done now so that I can really enjoy pub night without guilt” 🙂

Yes, growth is uncomfortable, but procrastination hell is way worse for your self-concept. So get out there armed with your “kick butt” mindset, know that you are in a state of learning (how cool is that!) and face those fears of failure. Tell your whiney inner 4 year old that you will feel way better when you are done….so grow up ;-P

Take Dr. Angela Duckworth’s 12-item-grit-scale and see where you are at right now.


We learn and grow each time we challenge ourselves just a little bit. See procrastination as a little communication from your brain whispering to you “pssst…this is a learning opportunity, dig in and see what you can become”.

Today is my birthday so I may procrastinate…just a little…as a gift to me 😉

Next Week:

Join me for the beginning of a Study Management Series!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success



Christopher A. Wolters Maryam Hussain (2015) Investigating grit and its relations with college students’ self-regulated learning and academic achievement. Metacognition and Learning, December 2015, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 293–311

Something Cool to Check Out:

12 Uncomfortable Feelings That Tell You’re On The Right Track


Procrastination. Sigh. Nuff Said.

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 “It is a new year, things are going to be better this year, you’ve got this!” This is what I tell myself at the beginning of every school year, both when I was a student and now as an academic professional.

I am pretty good for a while and then…life….gets……..busy…and….I start…..procrastinating……..wildly.


Yes, procrastination happens to even the most adult, self-aware and psych nerdy people like me.

So, if are you interested in working on ways to avoid getting stuck in an

endless cycle of procrastination?


Learning how to get out of the gigantic academic procrastination sinkhole

that you tripped and fell into?

You have stopped by the right place!

I may be a master procrastinator, but I have definitely learned all the “tricks of the trade” that get me out of those sinkholes. I would love to share these strategies with you over the next few weeks.

A Little Video Snack

….to motivate, inspire and create the state of mind needed to combat procrastination.

Waiting to “feel” inspired or motivated?

you will be waiting a very long time….

We rarely “feel like” doing anything that is hard. There are many reasons for procrastinating, such as self-doubt, fear of failure, lack of knowledge, no idea where to start or simply not feeling like it; whatever the reason, procrastination can also take a toll on your mental health and well-being.

Brain NerdYup, you know it, I am getting all PsychNerdy on y’all again! In one 2007 study, Florida State University psychologists Dianne M. Tice, PhD, and Roy F. Baumeister, PhD, examined procrastination among students in a health psychology class. They found that early in the semester, procrastinators reported lower stress and less illness than non-procrastinators, but that late in the term, procrastinators reported higher stress and more illness (Psychological Science, Vol. 8, No. 6). Source: APA GradPsyc2010.

Since procrastination is making you feel crappy, lets start with making you feel better. If we feel better, we can feel more motivated. If we are motivated, we can have the energy to tackle our bad habit of procrastinating. Exercise is the place to start!

Psychological Studies to Convince You to Get Moving!

  • Exercise Boosts School Performance: A new study of 11-year-olds has found that moderate to vigorous exercise was associated with increased academic performance in English, Maths and Science (Booth et al., 2013). These gains from exercise were also seen in exams taken at 16-years-old.
  • Increases Stress Resilience: Studies on mice have shown that exercise reorganises the brain so that it is more resistant to stress (Schoenfeld et al., 2013).
  • Reduces Anxiety: Exercise has a relatively long-lasting protective effect against anxiety (Smith, 2013). Both low and medium intensity exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety. However, those doing high intensity exercise are likely to experience the greatest reduction in anxiety, especially among women (Cox et al., 2004).
  • Gets You Out of a Bad Mood: If you want to raise your energy levels, reduce tension and boost mood, you can talk to your friends or listen to some music. But most agree that for the difficult job of transforming a bad mood into a good one, exercise is the most effective method (Thayer et al., 1994).
  • Fights Depression:  Just as exercise fights anxiety, it also fights its close relation, depression. One review of 39 different studies involving 2,326 people has found that exercise generally provides moderate relief from depression (Cooney et al., 2013).
  • Speeds up Your Mind: Working memory includes what’s in your conscious mind right now and whatever you’re doing with this information. After 30 minutes exercise, people’s working memory improves. There’s some evidence that accuracy drops a bit, but this is more than made up for by increases in speed (McMorris et al., 2011).
  • Encourages Long-Term Memory: The effects of exercise on long-term memory are somewhat controversial. However, at low-intensity, one recent study has found that exercise can benefit long-term memory (Schmidt-Kassow et al., 2013; see: Exercise Can Improve Long-Term Memory).
  • Boosts Self-Control: A review of 24 different studies on the effects of exercise on self-control, found that a short bout provides an immediate boost to self-control (Verburgh et al., 2013).

Source: PsycBlog

If you are having trouble getting motivated to exercise, trick yourself into it! Join the millions of people who have discovered that distraction can make their legs hurt 😉


Join Me Next Week for Procrastination Strategies!

For now, GET MOVING! 

Today’s blog post brought to you by one wildly procrastinating woman who forced herself to stay glued to a cafe chair to finish today’s little piece of electronic wisdom.

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. Thomas A. Edison





Procrastinating? Since You are Already Down That Rabbit Hole

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Check This Out Now!

Before something else grabs your attention 😉

I am going to get straight to the point today, because I really want you to watch this amazing TedTalk about distraction. The less words I use, the better the chance that you won’t fall into a YouTube binge or a Wikipedia rabbit hole.

Check out Tim Urban as he shares his personal understanding of procrastination. It is seriously funny!



Check out his blog: Wait but Why?


He writes posts every Tuesday every Wednesday about his psychological shortcomings. Super funny and very helpful in making you feel human 🙂



Now go get something done so that you can have some guilt free fun!

Dr. Heather Drummond
, EdD

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


Is Anxiety Stopping You from Getting Stuff Done?

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Emotions, emotions, emotions…

Yes, your emotional state can effect your productivity. If you are overwhelmed with a high level of stress, you may put off completing tasks to check Facebook or watch one episode of your favourite Netflix series. This may seem like a small amount time, but this distraction is a powerful emotional coping mechanism, says Dr. Tim Pychyl, professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. If you don’t think you can face the challenge, you may choose to avoid it with activities that are more fun.

Netflix = Fun!

but may not be the best way to get stuff done

I am the BIGGEST advocate of balance, so I am not saying that you should not check Facebook or watch Netflix, just plan for it in your time. Know yourself and what happens when you choose the distraction before the work. I know that if I lie to myself and say, “I will just watch one episode and then get started”, I won’t get anything done. Work first play later, reward yourself after the work is my advice, but still do both 🙂

Oh yeah, it’s that time again.

PsychNerd Time! 

Brain Nerd

Did you know that the simple act of forgiving yourself can help you to move past procrastination? I know! So simple!

Researchers, Wohl et al. (2010), wondered if self-blame may be counter-productive. They studied students preparing for mid-term exams and wondered if there was any truth to the notion of letting ourselves off easy led to even more procrastinations. NOPE! they found the opposite!

“Forgiveness allows the individual to move past their maladaptive behaviour and focus on the upcoming examination without the burden of past acts to hinder studying”

Forgiveness starts with acceptance and understanding. Why are you procrastinating? Are you worried about not knowing what to do? Do you feel that you may not be able to complete the task well? Ask yourself why you are avoiding the work. No, you are not a bad person, you are actually trying hard to cope with a difficult situation. Good work! Let’s learn how to cope in a way that also allows you to get your work done so that you can feel better 🙂

Have You Heard About Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

This therapeutic method could offer you some insight into how your thoughts effect your feelings and your behaviour. Part of the CBT process is to identify unhelpful patterns of thinking. For example, someone might only notice the negative things that happen to them and not notice the positive things. Or, someone might set unrealistic standards for themselves, such as “making mistakes is unacceptable.” Your thoughts can effect your emotions which then can shape your behaviours. It’s important to identify unhelpful behaviours that maintain procrastination, such as avoiding certain situations and withdrawing from others. What are the thoughts that lead to these emotions and behaviours?

Well…here is a guide to help!

10 Unhelpful Thinking Patterns

Here is the list of 10 Common Unhelpful Thinking Patterns that human beings experience. Yes, we all experience one or more of these patterns at some point in our lives. The work is in the ability to recognize the pattern and balance the thought to make it more realistic.

Try This Today!

  1. Read over the “Labelling Your Thoughts” resource.
  2. Highlight the thought patterns that you recognize in yourself.
  3. Try to notice when you are thinking this way (hint: your emotional state can tell you that you are thinking in an unhelpful way).
  4. Ask yourself, “is this true?” or “am I only seeing the negative side?” or “am I using Emotional Reasoning and not checking in with my rational thoughts?
  5. See if this changes how you feel in the moment.

Understanding why you are procrastinating can help you to forgive yourself and move on to more productive ways of coping.

Video Break

Instead of procrastinating with Netflix, try watching this video instead. At least you are learning something new that can help with your procrastination!

Matt Cutts offers this short, lighthearted TedTalk that can offer you new ways to think about setting and achieving goals. Is there something you’ve always meant to do, wanted to do, but just … haven’t? He suggests that you try it for 30 days.

  3 Inspiring Pieces of Advice for Today…

  1. Never stop being curious about what you are made of. Take on those challenges.
  2. Please take risks! If you win you will be happy; if you lose you will be wise. There is no negative outcome when you push yourself 🙂
  3. “What you think you become; what you feel you attract; what you imagine you create” Buddha


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Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success




Procrastination: Dealing with Setbacks

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Setbacks, oh those experiences that make you just want to quit. I have had many. You may feel ashamed, angry, hurt, confused or think that there is something wrong with you. Today, I want to talk a little about ways to avoid getting derailed by setbacks.

Setbacks can lead to procrastination in the form of avoidance. Wanting to avoid repeating that painful experience. First, please know that the process of overcoming procrastination WILL involvThe harder you falle relapses. Since it is impossible to avoid a failure or two, the key is bouncing back and pushing forward. When you do relapse, take time to reflect on the reasons for it and use that insight to improve.

Reflect: What do you want? Is this goal important to you? Why? What would it mean in your life if this goal was achieved? Are you willing to work through this difficult time for this goal?

Sometimes we procrastinate after a failed test, a receiving a grade that is lower that you where hoping for or had a social situation go badly. If we don’t take the time to address this, it hangs around, and not in a good way. You may start seeing yourself in a negative light and make that perception a part of your self-worth. Please don’t! You are not defined by “the failure” (if that’s what you want to call it), you are define by how you bounce back. This is an opportunity to learn. Take it on!

Find the magic in these life experiences.


The Fringe Benefits of Failure with J.K. Rowling

At her Harvard commencement speech, “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling offers some powerful, heartening advice to dreamers and overachievers, including one hard-won lesson that she deems “worth more than any qualification I ever earned.”

If anyone knows something about magic, it is the amazing author of the Harry Potter book and movie series. Check out her Harvard Commencement speech to explore the magic that can come from failure, gain a new perspective, make a plan and confront that procrastination!

PsychNerd! Oh Yeah!

Brain Nerd


Perfectionism and coping with daily failures: positive reframing helps achieve satisfaction at the end of the day. Stoeber & Janssen, 2011

These researchers found some pretty interesting techniques that people successfully used to cope with disappointment and setbacks.

  • Acceptance – well it is what it is….yes, that happened! Ok, so now what?
  • Positive reframing – looking for the positives anywhere you can, perhaps by looking at what has been done rather than what hasn’t. What you did well and where you can go from here.
  • Humour – there is humour, even when it seems hopeless. This one is a tough one, but make an effort to find a funny perspective.


You could choose to feel worse by using these common strategies for feeling like crap: (btw, feeling like crap takes away all of your motivation and ability to persist through difficult).

  • Self-blame – “I am hopeless, stupid, horrible…”
  • Denial – “It was all their fault, they wanted me to fail”.
  • Venting – focusing on the negative experience, ignoring the upside, or what went well. Yes, it was a negative experience, but that is not the whole perspective.
  • Behavioural disengagementin other words: moping, sulking, being a baby…

One of the researchers, Professor Joachim Stoeber, gave some great advice: 

“It’s no use ruminating about small failures and setbacks and drag yourself further down. Instead it is more helpful to try to accept what happened, look for positive aspects and, if it is a small thing, have a laugh about it.”


Rock Bottom JK Rowling


Yes, setbacks are hard. I know this well. You have a choice in how you bounce back. My advice is to accept it, re-frame it (look at some of the positive aspects), make a plan going forward (keep your momentum) and don’t let procrastination get a hold of you in these difficult moments.

This is one of the emotional reasons that can lead to procrastination, the fear of trying again and the shame associated with the setback. You learn so much in these moments, take on the challenge, get moving and see what you are made of 🙂

I am not giving any advice that I am not currently using myself….



Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD


Passionate Advocate for Student Success


Procrastination: Run After that Little Time Thief and Tackle it!

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Thief Procrastination

Scientists define procrastination as the voluntary delay of an action despite foreseeable negative future consequences. It is opting for short-term pleasure or mood at the cost of the long-term outcome. 

Yup, that sounds about right. It’s the “feel good now” philosophy 🙂

We can talk forever about Goal Setting Strategies and still find that something gets in the way of our goals. Sometimes that problem is goal clarity. It is very important to have a pretty clear idea of the direction you are heading and why you even want to achieve that goal. The “why” really helps in the painful times, because really, who EVER “feels like” doing anything that is hard. Not me…EVER!


There is a strong partnership between Time Management skills and Emotional Self Awareness (Emotion Regulation) which seems to be the magical combination in goal attainment.

Emotions…sigh….sometimes a super difficult task to understand those pesky little creatures! I know…oh how I know!

My awesome husband describes the process of doing something extraordinarily difficult as pulling a hat out of a rabbit. That always makes me giggle 😉 In this spirit, to get better at tackling procrastination we need to build strong Time Management and Emotion Regulation strategies. Even though working through difficult things seems so overwhelming, these are the times that define us. It is when I have persevered, when I have moved toward the goal even though I did not feel like doing anything, or thought that it was impossible, that I found out what I was made of.

“We are who we are, in the tough times”

~Me, I say this all the time


When I was younger, procrastination was a very real problem for me that had a very detrimental effect on my self-concept. I would often get most tasks done, in the end, after a complete freak out and panic; but often did not produce the best result in the end. Yes, I handed in crap, embarrassing crap, as a student, at times…ugh…




Psych-Nerd Time AGAIN!

Brain Nerd

Did You Know?

  • Emotion-regulation strategies and visions of the future self are the key ingredients in tackling procrastination (Rosenthal, 2015, Stockholm University).
  • People who procrastinate are  “giving in to feel good,” Dr. Pychyl (Carlton University Procrastination Research Group). Check out his free podcast series!
  • Chronic procrastination isn’t actually linked to perfectionism, but rather to impulsiveness, which is a tendency to act immediately on urges, according to Dr. Piers Steel, an organizational-behavior professor at the University of Calgary.
  • The mental-health effects of procrastination are well-documented: Habitual procrastinators have higher rates of depression and anxiety and poorer well-being. Dr. Fuschia Sirois, a psychology professor at the University of Sheffield, in England.
  • Non-procrastinators better envision and connect with their future selves. Dr. Fuschia Sirois


So, since procrastination is not linked to perfectionism, but rather impulsiveness, use anxiety as a “cue” to get started while combating Temporal Myopia (TM) at the same time!


Seriously, look up what TM is! Super nerdy, but so true, and curable.


Try This Out Today…

Specific Goal Setting: break down long-term goals into smaller, more concrete sub-goals. Instead of saying that you are going to work on a paper on Tuesday, be specific and divide it into manageable sub-goals: “I am going to work on a paper for one hour at 11 a.m”.

Create a Vison: Imagine yourself achieving your goal, how do you feel? Can you “see” yourself in this new accomplished version of yourself? If not, take some time and imagine yourself achieving this goal. If you can’t, maybe this is not the right goal for you. If you can see yourself achieving this goal, expand the vision further by asking the following questions:

  • How will I feel when I complete this task?
  • Does this task help me in the future? If so, how?
  • How do I feel when I break the task down into smaller goals? Less anxious?
  • Is this goal mine or is it someone else’s goal for me?


Career Direction procrastination

Are you are not following your passion?

…here is something to consider…








When I was working on my Bachelor of Science (BSc) at the University of Alberta, I found myself spending so much more time on my Psychology homework than my Chemistry, Physics and Biology. I would read my Psych stuff before going out to the pub with my friends on a Friday night….Hmmmmm….nerdy I know, but I absolutely love this psych-stuff! This may be why you are procrastinating.


light_bulb_clip_art_7801.jpgMy Advice Today

You: “But I don’t feel like doing it!”

Me: “Do what is right, not what is easy”.



Next week, let’s start working on

Emotion Regulation to combat procrastination.

Let’s pull a rabbit out of a hat!

I love hearing about what works for you! 

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD

Counsellor * eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


More Stuff that is Cool

Wall Street Journal (August 2015): Stop Procrastinating, Start by Understanding the Emotions Involved

2013: Procrastination and the Priority of Short-Term Mood Regulation: Consequences for Future Self 

Rozental, A., Forsell, E., Svensson, A., Andersson, G. and Carlbring, P. (2015)  Internet-based cognitive behavior therapy for procrastination: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 83(4), 808-824