Study Skills

Self-Concept: Yes, How You Feel About Yourself and Your Ability Does Effect Your Success

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Well, since we need to accept that there is a link between how we see ourselves and our ability to realize our goals, we really should pay a little attention to us and be nice 🙂

Good Self-Concept = Success

If you are confident in your ability to tackle what comes into your life and you have compassion for yourself (realistic view of yourself), why wouldn’t you take on the risks associated with goal achievement?

Now, I must admit, there are days where I feel pretty good about my abilities and then there are days where I have almost zero confidence and want to avoid everything. My advice is to continually work on building a positive self-concept by collecting experiences (noticing) when you do well. We are all pretty awesome at collecting all the negative experiences, why not collect the good? Also, acknowledge that you will “feel” great somedays, and maybe not so great other days. ENJOY the good days, lean in and get things done when confidence is high! Use your positive experience collections to help you through the bad days by creating a realistic and compassionate view of yourself.

Collect, take notice,

of the great things that you do.

Oh You Know it! 

It’s PsychNerd Time Again!

Brain Nerd






A Social Psychology research team, led by Dr. Juliana Breines, at the University of California, Berkeley found some pretty awesome things about self-concept and motivation. Over four different experiments, they explored self-criticism vs. self-compassion and the effect on motivation. All four experiments asked participants to think about something that would typically elicit self-criticism. Some participants were put in the experimental group (the ones who were taught self-compassion strategies) and the control group (no self-compassion training…so sad).

Here is what they did: 

  • Experiment 1 and 2: participants were asked to identify what they considered to be their biggest weakness or shortcoming. Super fun! 😉
  • Experiment 3: participants recalled a recent time when they did something they felt was wrong and experienced guilt, remorse, and regret. Ugh…
  • Experiment 4: participants took a very difficult test, designed to create a sense of struggle and frustration. no fun at all…sigh…

*In each experiment, researchers then gave some participants a self-compassion training. For the first three studies, participants wrote for 3 minutes in response to the instructions: “Imagine that you are talking to yourself about this [weakness/action] from a compassionate and understanding perspective. What would you say?”

*For the 4th experiment, the researchers shared a self-compassion message after participants struggled with the test: “If you had difficulty with the test you just took, you’re not alone. It’s common for students to have difficulty with tests like this. If you feel bad about how you did, try not to be too hard on yourself.”

Here is what they found:

  • Participants who practised a self-compassionate mindset showed greater willingness to learn from, and improve on, their self-perceived weakness, mistake or failure.
  • Participants, trained in self-compassion, were more interested in studying to improve performance on the difficult test, and they were more likely to want to take action to reduce the harm of their previous mistakes. They also had greater optimism that their personal weakness could be changed.

Good News!

Self-compassion Supports Self-improvement

Whether you think you can

You have a choice…

Work on shifting from a self-critical mindset to a self-compassionate mindset.


Write for 3 minutes each day. Take a self-criticism and re-write it. Imagine that you are talking to someone else. What advice would you give them?

All of us can take 3 minutes per day to improve our motivation with a little encouragement 🙂

Take 20 Minutes and Learn More About Self-Compassion!


We can choose a self-compassionate point of view, and this will help to recover from setbacks and pursue positive change.


Happy Self-Compassionate Friday!!!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


References & Resources:

Breines J.G., Chen S.  (2012)  Self-Compassion Increases Self-Improvement Motivation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,  38  (9) , pp. 1133-1143. 

The Centre for Mindful Self-Compassion: 

Test How Self-Compassionate You Are:




Part 3: New Years Resolutions: Understanding Your Personality When Setting Achievable Goals

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Welcome Back!

It looks like you are still interested in achieving your New Year’s Resolution Goals. Well done! If you have made it this far, with setbacks and perceived failures, and are still pushing forward, you have made it through the most difficult hurdle of goal completion; realizing that you are human. No one is perfect, you learn so much from setbacks, this is not the time to stop pursuing your goals.

Understanding your personality temperament can be so helpful in designing goals and strategies that work with you rather than against you. The Myers-Briggs Personality Temperament Assessment (MBTI) is a strengths based wonderful tool that helps people to understand more about personal motivation, procrastination, personal decision-making style, the root cause of stress and so much more. I would like to focus on one of the 4 scales on the MBTI that is most relevant to goal setting, the Judging-Perceiving Scale (J-P).

Decide Which One Has the Most Descriptors That Sound Like You…

Judging (J) – I prefer to be…

  1. Scheduled
  2. Organize their lives
  3. Systematic
  4. Methodical
  5. Make short-term and long-term plans
  6. Like to have things decided
  7. Try to avoid last-minute pressures

Perceiving (P)  I prefer to be…

  1. Spontaneous
  2. Flexible
  3. Casual
  4. Open-Ended
  5. Adapt, change course
  6. Like things loose and open to change
  7. Feel energized by last minute pressures

Which One Sounds More Like You?

If you are more of a J, when setting goals, you need to have an organized system, with defined stages of success, a specific timeline that fits your life and you need to use the organization tools available (technical or “old school” paper). When you feel “out of control”, go back to your roots; take the time needed to get organized again and you will likely feel a renewed energy and heightened ability to tackle your goals. The S.M.A.R.T Goal Setting System would work very well for you!

If you are more of a P, when setting goals, you need to have “wiggle room” in your schedule. Don’t plan every minute of your day, allow for spontaneous adventures and experiences. If you allow for it, you feel less guilty when you follow the tangent and you will likely feel more energized having followed it. If you have allowed and “planned” for the unplanned, you can get right back on track without losing your achievement drive. When using the S.M.A.R.T Goal Setting System make sure you don’t over-plan or over-commit.

Free Personality Test

16 offers an EXCELLENT version of the MBTI for free. Check it out and find out more about your personality Click Here


My Results

Contact Me!

I would love to hear more about what you learn about yourself! Please let me know if I can help you to understand your personality temperament better. Mohawk College students can take the MBTI and have a personalized feedback of the results for FREE!

Dr. Heather Drummond, Ed.D. Counselling Psychology 

New Year’s Resolutions – 3 Part Series

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Self-Knowledge is the Key to Success

The new year often brings a sense of a new start, seeing it as at time to change behaviours by setting New Year’s resolutions. Change is hard work and you need to be ready for it! This 3 part blog series will discuss level of readiness for change, how to successfully set goals and gaining the self-knowledge necessary to work with your strengths as you persist toward your goals.

Part #1: Are You Even Ready for Change?

The Transtheoretical Model, by Prochaska et al. (1994), describes change as a “process involving progress through a series of stages”. Before even getting started with your resolutions, you need to evaluate if you are even ready to change at this time. Change is hard work and success is increased if the reasons for change are clear and that they are coming from your own need to change, not outside expectations. Below is a description of the change process. Take a moment to evaluate your readiness to change at this time.

 Stages of Change

Stage 1: Pre-Contemplation (Not Ready For Change)

If you are at this stage, you are not intending to take action in the foreseeable future (within 6 months), and you are, most likely, unaware that your behaviour is problematic.

Stage 2: Contemplation (Getting Ready for Change)

If you are at this stage, you are beginning to recognize that your behaviour is problematic, and you start to look at the pros and cons of continuing on the same path. You recognize that changes in your thoughts and behaviours are important and there is an intention to start the change process within the next 6 months.

Stage 3: Preparation (Ready for Change)

If you are at this stage, you are intending to take action in the immediate future, and may begin taking small steps towards change, within the next 30 days.

Stage 4: Action (In the Process of Change)

If you are at this stage you have made specific modifications to your life style, and positive change has occurred; you are experiencing the rewards of your effort. Behavioural patterns have changed within the last 6 months, and you just need to work hard to keep moving ahead and staying on track.

Stage 5: Maintenance

If you are at this stage you are working to prevent a relapse, this is a stage that can last indefinitely. You have changed your behaviour more than 6 months ago and the rewards of your hard work are evident and motivation is high to maintain your achievement.

Eventually, people who have zero temptation, 100% self-efficacy (belief in self and ability) and are sure they will not return to their old unhealthy habit as a way of coping, can consider their new behaviour as a part of who they are, and how they operate, now.

Where are you at, right now, in the change process?

 change is not pleasant but change is constant copy

Coming Soon!

Part #2: Setting Goals That Fit For You

Part #3: Using Psychology to Increase YOUR Chances of Success

All the Best of this Holiday Season!

Dr. Heather Drummond, Ed.D. (Counselling Psychology)

Success Coach * Professor * Passionate Advocate for the Success of Students

SOURCE: Prochaska, J.O., Velicer, W.F, Rossi, J.S., Goldstein, M.G., Marcus, B.H., Rakowski, W. (1994) Stages of change and decisional balance for 12 problem behaviors. Health Psychology.13, 39-46

Weekly Study Tip: Music & Learning – Baroque Music

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Focus Music

Well, you are one week into school and you may be feeling like it is hard to focus and get your work done with so many new and exciting things happening around you. This is a great time to introduce you to the power of using music to enhance your focus, particularly Baroque music.

There are fascinating studies on music and its effect on concentration and learning that have yielded incredible results.  Baroque music, typified by composers such as Mozart and Bach, is played at approximately 60 beats per minute and activates both sides of the brain, effectively increasing the listener’s learning capacity and the retention of information.

Try it out!!

I swear by the effects on my focus and motivation. It is to the point that all I need to do is start playing my favourite collection and my brain just knows what to do. Remember that you need to give it a chance. Try it out for 14 days consistently. Build the habit and train your brain to focus!


Here is a link to the music I use regularly:


Simply Baroque

More information:

Book: The Mozart Effect

Tip Sheet: Music Can Move Your Brain Waves to Benefit You! 

Research: Music Helps Students Retain Math

Music Study.jpg


Let me know how it works for you!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

Counsellor * eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

Fennell Campus – “The Square” C102/20

You always book an appointment, on campus, with a counsellor by calling 905-575-2211 or booking in The Square (Fennell), for personal, academic and career counselling.

Success Coaching @ Mohawk – Study Tip: Learning Styles

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Welcome Mohawk Students!

This time of year can be so exciting but often students feel very nervous at the same time. In order to be the most effective student this year it is important to understand more about how YOU learn. I have uploaded a Learning Styles Assessment to help you figure out whether you are a Visual, Auditory or Kinaesthetic (“Hands-on”) learner. When you know HOW you learn best, it takes less time to get the information to stick in your head; which means more time for fun 🙂learning-style

Check it out:

Learning Style Inventory – eSuccessCoaching@Mohawk

I look forward to hearing from you!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

Success Coaching @ Mohawk College – Weekly Study Skill Tip #4

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Active Learning Strategies – “Clear as Mud”

This is a really simple and great strategy for creating a list of questions that you can use to help your understanding of a topic. If you do this every class, and keep an ongoing list of questions, you will have a great little study guide to help prepare for mid-terms and final exams.

Next Steps…

At the end of each class as yourself the following questions:

“What was the “muddiest point” in today’s class?” (What you don’t understand)
“What was the “clearest” point” in today’s class?” (What you can explain to someone else)

Write down your quick responses and keep adding to the same list all semester.

Why do this…

Taking a quick moment to think about “what do I really understand and could teach someone else?” and “what I am a bit fuzzy on?” is a great way to check in with your learning. If you can explain it to someone else, then you understand it well. If you would have trouble explaining it to another person, then this is a cue to ask for help or spend a little more time studying this new information.


This will take under 2 minutes and you will have an ongoing list. Also, this is a way of making the new knowledge stick around your brain a little longer. You are enhancing your memory!


You can always book an appointment with a counsellor for more personalized assistance with your study skills and strategies by calling 905-575-2211 or coming down to “The Square – C102” on the Fennell Campus and booking an appointment.

Your Success Coach,

Heather Drummond, M.Ed. (Counselling)

Success Coach & Counsellor @ Mohawk College

Mohawk College – Fennell Campus – “The Square” C102

Success Coaching @ Mohawk College – Weekly Study Skill Tip #3

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Active Learning – “One Minute Paper”

Here is a really quick and easy way to check what you have learned, what you need understand better and what questions you may need to ask your professor or classmates.

Next Steps:

Use a few minutes at the end of class to answer the following questions in writing:

  • What was the most important thing I learned today?
  • What important question(s) remain(s) unanswered?

Why do this…

These questions generate and enhance your learning process and provide you with feedback on your understanding of the subject material. AND it’s really easy!


Keep these “one minute papers” because they make a great little study guide for tests and exams.


You can always book an appointment with a counsellor for more personalized assistance with your study skills and strategies by calling 905-575-2211 or coming down to “The Square – C102” on the Fennell Campus and booking an appointment.

Your Coach,

Heather Drummond, M.Ed. (Counselling)

Success Coach & Counsellor @ Mohawk College

Mohawk College – Fennell Campus – “The Square” C102