Academic Self-Efficacy: Upgrading Your NeckTop Computer

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Did you know that you are walking around with one of the most amazing computers right on top of your shoulders!?!

Yes, your NeckTop Computer! Even this wonderful organic machine needs software upgrades now and then. Teach it how to learn, remember and adapt. By consistently learning, you upgrade your software, which makes your life so much easier because you can understand information at a quicker pace, store that information longer and be able to show off just how much you have learned by being able to handle those pesky quizzes, tests or exams 😉

BrainComputer.pngBrain Facts

  • About 100 billion neurons make up the human brain.
  • Each neuron connects approximately 10,000 neutrons together.
  • The human brain weighs about 3 pounds.
  • The cerebral cortex grows thicker the more it is used. That means you have more neural networks to process information and more memory capacity. The more you learn, the better your brain gets.
  • For all of you environmentalists…your NeckTop computer is powered bio-electrically! Just eat things that are healthy for you…feed and power this computer!

Learning How to Learn

Learning how to learn starts with developing your Academic-Self Efficacy; the belief that you have the skills necessary to successfully complete your courses and that you have the ability to improve, when necessary. For example…


  • Knowing how to schedule time to accomplish tasks.
  • Knowing how to take notes.
  • I knowing how to study to perform well on tests.
  • Knowing that you are good at research and writing papers.
  • Knowing and feeling that you are a very good student.
  • Having the experience of usually doing very well in school and at academic tasks.
  • Consistently finding ways to make your academic work interesting and absorbing (even when it is not at first).
  • Knowing that, despite obstacles, you are very capable of succeeding in your post-secondary program.

4 Ways to Develop Academic Self-Efficacy Beliefs

  • Performance accomplishments: The experience of mastery influences your perspective on your abilities. Successful experiences lead to greater feelings of self-efficacy. However, failing to deal with a task or challenge can also undermine and weaken self-efficacy.
    • If you avoid doing class presentations because you feel anxious or nervous, you never have the opportunity to improve, adapt, develop skills and believe that you can do this. Yes, despite how anxious you are, you can learn to at least survive presentations. I did.
  • Vicarious experience: Observing someone else perform a task or handle a situation
    can help you to perform the same task by imitation, and if you succeed in performing a task, you are likely to think that you will succeed as well, if the task is not too difficult. Observing people who are similar to yourself succeed will increase your beliefs that you can master a similar activity

    • Look around your classroom and your life. Who seems to “have it all together” or seems to know how to write papers, to study or to write tests. Ask them about their process. Observe, try and improve based on the experience of others.
  • Verbal persuasion: When other people encourage and convince you to perform a task, you tend to believe that you are more capable of performing the task. Constructive feedback is important in maintaining a sense of efficacy as it may help overcome self-doubt.
    • Ask for feedback from friends, classmates, professors/instructors or tutors. Learn from the constructive; learn from the encouragement.
  • Physiological states: Moods, emotions, physical reactions, and stress levels may influence how you feel about your personal abilities. If you are extremely nervous, you may begin to doubt and develop a weak sense of self-efficacy. If you are confident and feel no anxiety or nervousness at all, you may experience a sense of excitement that fosters a great sense of self-efficacy. It is the way people interpret and evaluate emotional states that is important for how they develop self-efficacy beliefs. For this reason, being able to diminish or control anxiety may have positive impact on self-efficacy beliefs.
    • Learn about YOUR brain. Learn more about this awesome computer. I have written extensively on emotion regulation, stress management, anxiety, check out some of my other posts to learn more about managing, understanding and improving your own NeckTop computer.

Adapted from the following source: Click Here


Step-by-Step Process


  • Academic Self-Efficacy Mindset: Start with building your Academic Self-efficacy mindset (above). This prepares your mind for the software upgrade process
  • Study Skills Questionnaire: Start with an assessment of your study skills tool kit. What you have; what you need.
  • Study Skill Toolbox: Make a list of skills that you already have. Make a plan for the areas you would like to improve (upgrade the software).
  • Software Upgrade: Start searching online or in human interactions, for tips, strategies to learn different ways of improving in the following areas:
    • Project Managing Your Academic Experience: Organization & Time Management
    • Note-Taking Strategies: Capturing the Knowledge
    • Leaning into Your Studies: Attitude, Learning Style, Active Learning and Memory Enhancement.
    • Being Tested: Strategies for Writing Quizzes, Tests and Exams.
    • Learning to Communicate: Research and Writing Skills
    • Presentations: Learning the Tips & Tricks
    • Working in Groups: Strategies for Making the Process Smooth and Effective.
*I used to have a 1969 VW Beetle that I painted red foot prints running from the back, over the top to the front. I could totally post rationalize that it was because I so strongly believed in the step-by-step human growth and change process, but really it was because I loved bare feet, I was very poor and the red paint was free 😉 I have grown 😉

Lets Get Started.png


Study Skills Questionnaire


Small Steps 1.png

Let me know what you think, what topics you would like me to cover or ideas you have. I would really LOVE to hear from you 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


Stressed?!!? Well Let’s Start With ‘Feelings are NOT Facts’

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Feelings are Not Facts.png

Drowning in your feelings? Feeling overwhelmed?

I was going to write about study strategies today; however, I have been completely overwhelmed by the emotional pain my students have been experiencing lately. So, I thought that maybe study strategies would be a wee bit too lame of a topic under the circumstances. I have decided to share the perspective, the strategies and the experience of others (you are definitely not alone in this) that happen every day in my counselling office. Why should all this great information stay in a counselling box?!?! …me thinks…

So…Here I go…

Emotions, Emotions, Emotions

Blah, blah, blah…what are these feelings you speak of?!? Well…let’s start here:

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 8.50.03 AM.png

Emotional State

Yes, emotions can be VERY scary. I am not saying that they are not or that you shouldn’t “feel” a certain way. What I am doing is challenging you with the following questions: How do you want to react to the emotions? How do you want to live your life? What emotional house do you want to live in?

Yes, you have a choice.

A choice that requires a bunch of commitment and work. It is not easy, but I assure you the hard and scary change/growth work is well worth the struggle to get there. I do this every day in my own life. It gets so much easer with practice, so much so it has become a habit for me. I get it, it’s hard, but come on! Give it a go. What do you really have to lose? Oh, yeah, you may lose the constant suffering version of yourself. It all seriousness, this can be a hard shift. But still, let’s imagine a different life experience.

Let’s start with a seemingly simple formula that I will base the rest of this post on:

Emotional State + Emotion Regulation =

Pretty Awesome State of Personal Empowermenttemper-tantrum-girl

I love this graphic! This little cutie pretty much says it all.
This is often the look I get when I am talking about the possibility of change with my students.

Yup, Getting PsychNerdy on Y’all Again!

Brain Nerd

Just sharing the “FACTS” about emotion regulation, just to let you know that it is really possible 😉 Science says so!

There is some pretty great recent research looking at a bunch of different findings combined all together in a beautiful Regulatory Flexibility model. Ok, that is psychnerdy speak for taking all the best stuff and mushing it together in a way that people can understand and use easily in research and in their lives.

People respond to stressful events in different ways, depending on the event and on the regulatory strategies they choose. Coping and emotion regulation theorists have proposed dynamic models in which these two factors, the person and the situation, interact over time to inform adaptation. Source: Regulatory Flexibility: An Individual Differences Perspective on Coping and Emotion Regulation by George A. Bonanno & Charles L. Burton


Translation of Fig.1: So you have a stressful event in your life, you look at what it will take to work through it and decide if you can handle it, you then start using your coping skills, then decide if the strategy solved your problem or not. The flexibility part comes in as you keep on persevering and/or trying different strategies to cope. This is how you build resilience and adapt beautifully in life.

So now what? You ask!?!


Here are some coping skills to throw into this Regulatory Flexibility model 🙂

Emotion Regulation Strategiesemotion-surfing

Let’s build some…

Mindfulness Practice

Distress Tolerance Skills

Emotion Regulation Strategies

“We are not responsible for what breaks us, but we can be responsible for what puts us back together again. Naming the hurt is how we begin to repair our broken parts.” – Desmond Tutu, The book of Forgiving


Balanced Approach to Examining Information

*Don’t rely on how you feel alone. Feelings are great, but on their own, they may not be completely accurate in terms of the message being sent. Just because you feel it does NOT make it true. Look for the evidence.

Recipe for Writing a New Chapter in Your Life Story

Start with taking responsibility for your life.

“If you couldToday.jpg kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”― Theodore Roosevelt

…Then start writing a new story.

“If you own this story you get to write the ending.” ― Brené Brown

Writing prompts…

“I am a person who feels lots of things but they don’t define me. I am a person who takes responsibility for my own life and experience. I am a person who will work hard to create a life I love. I am….”

Here are some tools to get you started on creating a new life story:

Your life is your story. Write it well and edit often!

My Advice On …


Take a deep breath, and then another one, foster a self-compassionate mindset, examine those feelings and don’t assume they are facts.

Please don’t ever feel that I don’t want to hear your thoughts…I do! Send ’em along 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


Stress! Seriously, You Still Around??!?

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Post #2 of the Stress Management Series

Ok, I am going to get briefly serious on y’all, [insert apology in advance ;)] because out-of-control stress can be dangerous to your mental, physical health and self-esteem. The upside, before you start to think this post is a complete bummer, is that stress is very manageable.

Back to bummer time [with a happy ending]…

There was a time in my early twenties that I thought that I was not going to make it through. Literally, done. I won’t give all the boring details, but imagine feeling like you were in the midst of the worst time in your life. I was wildly overwhelmed and any rational thought ability had abandoned me. It seemed that no matter what I tried, the outcome felt predetermined to fail, always. I felt as though something was “stacked against me, that I wasn’t meant to feel happy, that is just not who I was, nor the life I had. I was seriously not in a good place. The reason that I am telling you this, is because this was a point in my life that I really understood the importance of “being present”, noticing and listening to the encouraging signs around me. Still have you with me?!? Maybe not such a bummer?!?

I was getting home from one of my 3 jobs, that made up a full time job so that I could pay my tuition. I was tired, feeling very despondent and so poor that I barely had enough food for supper that night. It had just snowed, and for anyonDarkest before Dawn.jpge from a cold climate, you know that this can make the world look surreal, calm and beautiful. In a tree, next to my apartment, was a extremely tiny, calm and very brave little white owl. This is an unusual and unexpected sight in the city. This little guy looked at me as I spoke, he was unfazed and his presence just calmed and filled me with foreign feeling of hope. This was so weird. So weird that it affected me viscerally (my whole body felt calm for hours). Two days later, my life seemed to shift in very profound ways, leading me on very welcomed path. My hard work, and pain, was actually worth it.

It was the inexplicable sense of calm I experienced in the presence of that cute little owl, that compelled me to look up the meaning of owls showing up. What I found was that owls cam be seen as messengers appearing to provide guidance in confusing times, they can be a  blessing (or a bad omen…I chose to ignored that!) and are often associated with the  Greek Goddess Athena, sympbolizng wisdom and prophecy. Since that moment in my life, I have kept that calming image as one of my “happy place” moments to remind me that it is important for me to “see like an owl” in my dark times, knowing that this dificult moment will pass like all others have. I have the ability to move through.

Ok, enough seriousness…I leave you with this advice…

Be present your life, be in the present moment fully, looking for signs, gathering the “happy place moments” to pull out later as mood altering tools. Ask yourself, in the moment, what is going well in my life?

Post #2 of the Stress Management Series

This is the second post in my stress management series. If you found this one first, check out last weeks so that you understand my “5 Areas of Stress Management”. I will be offering tips in all five areas over the next few weeks.


Stress 101: Stress Knowledge

Distress vs Eustress

They both sound the same right?!? All bad.

Well, eustress and distress are related, like brothers, both affect our behaviour and quality of life, one in a good way and one, not so much.


Eustress is the good stress that motivates you to get stuff done …what what ?!?! you ask? Yes, there is good stress. Stress can be a motivator and provide incentive to get the job done. This stress is so good that some people really enjoy when they feel this way. I definitely do, and when I am in this “zone” I ride that wave, enjoy the state of “flow” and creativity shot that I get. Everyone needs a little bit of stress in their life in order to continue to be happy, motivated, challenged and productive. Stress is only bad when it gets into the zone makes you feel anxious, depressed and burned out because it becomes intolerable and feels unmanageable. This is the kind of stress most of us are familiar with and this is the kind of stress that leads to poor decision-making. So feeling motivated to keep on moving thought my five areas of stress resilience building?!?!


Emotional Self-Awareness is the ability to recognize your feelings and to differentiate between them, to know what you are feeling, and why, and to know what caused the feelings.

Emotional Self-Awareness Tip Sheet


Receptive Mental State

Sound Therapyheadphones.jpg

Seeing music as more than just a way to entertain and move our emotions, Jonathan recounts his own struggles with stress and anxiety, and explores the potential of sound as a healing force.

Attitude: Mindset

There is a new podcast series that I found that I absolutely love, “The Hidden Brain”.

It is described as “helping curious people understand the world, and themselves”. The one I recently listened to called “Embrace the Chaos” fits so well in the stress management area of Attitude, particularly setting a mindset that allows you to adjust, adapt and flourish even when you think things will be awful.

Check it out!


Embrace the Chaos: Episode 53

Coping Skills


Stress Relief Skill of the Day: Brain Dump

Collect all of those “worst-case-scenarios” that you have running free around your head. I know you have them, because you are human. You don’t want let those little pieces of illogical information running free around your mind and controlling your mood, so find them, label them, list them and then challenge them. Ask yourself the following:

  • Is what I am thinking really true?
  • What are the chances of this actually happening?
  • Have I made it through difficult times before?
  • What is a realistic way of thinking about this? (“I am really worried that I will fail” – don’t stop here! “but I know that I have 55% of the course still to do and I have been passing everything so far”).


Yes, there will be difficult times in your life. It is important to accept that and start developing the knowledge, mental state, attitude and skills to navigate this extraordinary journey that you are on. I often tell my students/clients that I would never give advice that I have not done or are not currently applying in my life.

Go out and enjoy this extraordinary journey armed with skills!



Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


Mission Possible: Got Vision for Your Mission?

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What is Your Mission.png

It is really hard to get anywhere in life if you don’t have some sort of map, a guide or even a sherpa (now that would be an awesome asset in life!). Yet, most of us just float through our lives, fingers crossed, clinging to hope, without a fully formed idea of direction. Don’t feel bad! You are in good company 😉

Interested in taking back a little more control over your destiny and enjoying a life with a little less uncertainty and stress?

I thought so!

Well, let’s start with developing a personal mission statement. Mission statements themselves are fairly simple statements that clarify what you are all about and what you want to do in life. Believe me, this is a way better approach to life that having to answer, “so what do you want to be when you grow up?” Instead, work on answering “who do I want to be in this life and what do I want my life to be like?” Careers can change but a well lived life, that fits you, evolves and sticks around. Careers are only a part of that life.

The following are some questions designed to get your brain in gear for this mission:


  • What do you get up each and every morning wanting to do?
  • What directs your actions and decisions, especially the impulsive ones?
  • What comes easily for you?
  • What gives you a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day?
  • What do you value in life?
  • What skills and talents do you have that you would love to use and build upon in your life?
  • What characteristics do you admire in others?

Mission Statement Writing 

I just tested out the Personal Mission Statement Builder from Franklin Covey and it is pretty awesome! You are guided through a series of questions that get you thinking. At the end of the guided process you are given a page that describes the following:

  • I am at my best when…
  • I will try to prevent times when…
  • I will enjoy my work by…
  • I will find enjoyment in my personal life through…
  • I will find opportunities to use my natural talents and gifts such as…
  • I can do anything I set my mind to. I will…
  • My life’s journey is…
  • I will be a person who people remember as…
  • My most important future contribution to others will be…
  • I will stop procrastinating and start working on…
  • I will strive to incorporate the following attributes into my life…
  • I will constantly renew myself by focusing on the four dimensions of my life…

Mission.jpgTry it Yourself! It is pretty cool 🙂


Extra Resources


advice.pngMy advice to you is take the time to reflect and write your personal mission statement. Know that this is something that will change throughout your life and through various experiences. Try to live your mission each day by choosing to do things that support your mission, that help you grow as a person, even if you “don’t feel like it”.  Our lives are filled with a constant stream of choices, so make the best ones possible for your development.



Choose to be the kind of person who is able to say, at the end of this wild ride called life, that “I left no stone unturned”. LIVE BIG…LIVE DEEP. You are capable!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success



Emotions: The Mystery Explained Well by Pixar

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Oh yes, that confusing built in language that we have, where sometimes trying to understand the message can even seem overwhelming!

Flying from Toronto to Calgary this week, I was able to watch a film as I was held captive gloriously without access to the constant expectations that connected technology can bring. Yes, even I need a break from social media to allow creativity and inspiration to manifest 😉 I was able to have the time to sit and enjoy a inflight film; a film that I am really impressed with. So today I wanted to write about the Pixar film, Inside Out, because it is a wonderful depiction of the emotional experience of human beings.

What I prescribe to you, today, is the following:

…carve out some time, put on something comfy, grab a bevy of your choosing and hunker down and watch this film. It is an experience wrapped up in an education distilled down to a level that removes part of the mystery of emotions.


So, I haven’t sold you yet??!

Check out the trailer…

Aside from the awesome dialogue, this film is filled with fantastic explanations as to why new learning, counselling, human connection and understanding the language of emotions is so empowering.

“All right! We did not die today, I call that an unqualified success!” — Fear

Here are some of my highlights:

  • Feeling better may involve allowing “Joy” to drag you around your long term memory (positive experience recall).
  • “When Riley doesn’t care about a memory it fades”. The importance of fostering and taking care of our positive experience and not succumbing to the negative filter (CBT Blog Post).
  • “Sadness” having a purpose and function; bringing friends and family closer for support in a difficult time.
  • “Anger” has a function: opening the glass to the control centre to let joy back in. Sometimes we need to be angry as a protection until we are ready to deal with more difficult emotional experiences or face change/challenge.
  • You have to see the puberty clips at the end of this film! Hilarious! “what are we mad about?”, “Do you think they can see through us?”, “I feel like a fraud”.
  • “Islands” as facets of identity: Honesty Island, Family Island, Boyband Island, Imagination Land (Imaginary Boyfriend is from Canada!), etc.


Seriously, watch it! At least it is 90 minutes of entertainment, self-care and stress management 🙂


Brain Nerd

I wasn’t going to get all PsychNerdy on you today, but I have a serious addiction to sharing all the cool psychology stuff that can help enhance your life 😉

This will be quick. Did you know that depressive symptoms have an evolutionary function, intended to help you? Sounds weird, I know, but researchers, Keller and Nesse (2006), wrote a pretty great article about this topic.


The Evolutionary Significance of Depressive Symptoms: Different Adverse Situations Lead to Different Depressive Symptom Patterns (Click Here for full article you wonderful PsychNerds!)


  • Rumination, or the obsessive replaying of negative events, feelings, and implications of those feelings, is a common experience with depression. The researchers, hypothesize that rumination aids in understanding the causes and consequences of the adverse situations to avoid such situations in the future and to reconsider strategies and goals themselves.
  • Anxiety is a painful state of uneasiness or nervousness about possible future losses. Anxiety promotes wariness and hyper-vigilance, particularly toward potential threats, and so should be adaptive in threatening situations.
  • Crying, like many emotional signals, is expressed via configurations of facial musculature and vocal behaviors, and it elicits specific reactions in others, in this case, empathy and comforting behaviors. It seems likely therefore that crying requests and secures aid. Crying appears to strengthen social bonds.

Inside Out


Your emotions are communicating to you, learn the language, figure out their functions and you just may find that you are able to manage your own stress levels much better. It is okay to be sad, the work is in not letting it derail your whole life. Joy

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


Inner Strength.jpg






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