Psychological Flexibility: Brain Yoga for Enhancing Motivation

Plan A.png

Psychological and emotional flexibility are consistently mentioned in resilience, emotion regulation and stress management research findings. The ability to implement plans B-Z beautifully illustrates the benefits of psychological and emotional flexibility. It is crucial to your physical and mental health. Seriously, this is an important yoga move! Start bending!

Wondering Where Your Motivation Went?!?

Motivation can be completely derailed when you feel/think that you have run out of options. You have tried EVERYTHING and NOTHING works. Well, from my experience there is ALWAYS another way of seeing something, doing something or experiencing something. Curious how to start learning how to be more psychologically and emotionally flexible?!?

Sure your are!

…or you can choose to stay stuck in a painful yoga position that makes your butt numb 😉

Psychological Flexibility is defined as “the ability to contact the present moment more fully as a conscious human being and to change, or persist in, behavior when doing so serves valued ends” (Biglan, Hayes, & Pistorello, 2008). What these researchers mean by ‘contacting the present more fully’ is being aware of, and in, the curegoalsnt moment; what you feel, what is happening, not the past or future, but now. Once you are there, using this awareness, to creatively brainstorm alternate solutions, methods, strategies and shift the plan. You can even persist in the face of adversity along the original planned path if that is working for you.

Emotional flexibility is super important because so many people get stuck in the Emotional Reasoning loop, thinking that “I feel like such a failure, so I must be”. Applying a bit of flexibility here enables people to experience and notice the full range of emotion, like happiness, sadness, shame or anger, but have the ability act on the emotion in a helpful way (challenge the feeling and ask if it is really true) and then leave that emotional experience balanced when it is time to move on.

When you become more flexible, you can start to choose your responses rather than automatically responding to a situation.

Psychological Flexibility + Emotional Flexibility = Flexible Methods


Getting Started:

Be the scientist observing your mind. Be curious.

  • Develop a Curious Mindset: A curious mindset allows you to observe your negative reactions without judgment and see what you can learn from them. Curiosity engages your sense of logic and inhibits emotional “gut” reScientist.jpgactions, allowing you to learn from these situations and identify intelligent next steps that lead you towards your goals.


Feelin’ Crafty?!?


Motivation Activity for the Day

Grab some sticky notes and start gathering moments in your life where you had to push through, dust yourself off and then try again or made it through something really hard. Write Mindset Moments in the middle and start collecting these personal strength events on sticky notes. This create a great visual reminder your power and strength in the face of adversity.

The following are some writing prompts to get you started:

When I learned…

When I did…

When I overcame…

When I developed the skill to…

When I pushed through and….


Fierce but Flexible.jpg

Happy Flexible Friday!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


Make Good Things Happen



Ok, today is the day that I am going to ask you to do some thing RADICAL!


Fun Right?!?!

Well, yes and no, but a super important topic for anyone who wants to grow, heal and move forward in their life.


Wait what?!?! yes, let’s focus on one of the most fundamental parts of emotion regulation, personal empowerment, self compassion and overall life balance.

“acceptance of life as it is, not as it is supposed to be; and the need to change, despite that reality and because of it” – Dr. Marsha Linehan

There are three parts to radical acceptance.

  1. The first part is accepting that reality is what it is.
  2. The second part is accepting that the event or situation causing you pain has a cause.
  3. The third part is accepting life can be worth living even with painful events in it.

Radical Acceptance is a part of a therapeutic approach called Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) designed by the amazing psychologist, Dr. Marsha Linehan. This therapeutic approach was invented to help people, who were suffering terribly, learn to regulate their emotions and live a life worth living. Even though you may not be suffering, most people find themselves, at some point, in a state of wanting a life that is different that they are currently experiencing. Sometimes it is this wanting or wishing that lowers our self esteem and increases sadness or life dissatisfaction. The first step on the path to living a life that you want, is accepting the life that you currently have and then deciding what you are willing to work hard on to change.

I am not saying that this is easy. It is actually a very difficult practice, but from experience I can tell you that the result of your effort is astounding emotional freedom and personal empowerment.

Want to Get Started Radically Accepting?

Start with asking yourself the following questions about a recent difficult situation in your life:

Radical Acceptance: “So that happened…”

  1. What events led up to the distressing situation?Acceptance.jpg
  2. What role did you play in creating this situation?
  3. What role did other people / another person play in creating this situation?
  4. What did you have control of in this situation?
  5. What didn’t you have control of in this situation?
  6. What was your response to this situation?
  7. How did your response affect your own thoughts and feelings?
  8. How did your response affect the thoughts and feelings of other people?
  9. How could you have changed your response to this situation to lead to less suffering for yourself and others?
  10. How could this situation have occurred differently if you had decided to radically accept the situation?

Source: For more information about how to explore these questions: CLICK HEREill-be-fineSo when your not so fine, start working on some mindfulness and self compassion…


To live the best version of a life we first have to accept our life as it is and get out of the rut of wishing it was different, especially with things that are out of our control. Once you accept and acknowledge, we can then decide what WE want to do about it.


Take the time to work hard and design the best possible life for yourself. Be the main character in your story.


I would love to hear the good things that you are making happen in your life. Tweet me @SuccessMohawk and use #MakeGoodThingsHappen. Let’s share and learn from each other 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


SLEEP! Why Have You Abandoned Me?!?!

Need More Sleep?

Does this Sound Like Your Bedtime Wind Down Routine?

  • I love to replay some of the events of the day in my head.
  • I use the time before bed to mull over all the “what ifs” in my life.
  • I practice all the things I want to say to people.
  • I use this time wisely and plan and plan and plan my next day.
  • I sometimes think of all the people I miss terribly and feel sad.
  • I love to run through all the people in my life that I hate and why I hate them.
  • It is fun to act like a detective and ask a LOT of questions in my head.

Do you then wonder…

“Why am I still awake??!?!”

Hmmm…me thinks that you may be revving up your brain and kicking it into high gear conveniently before you want it to calm down and chill out.

Why Sleep is Important to Your Brain Function

As you slip into the grip of lacking proper sleep, your brain starts to conserve energy and start limiting functions by focusing on the areas that help you not die, like breathing. While breathing is good and all, being a human in the world where you have responsibilities like work, school, family, etc. you need to do more than just survive.

A Wee Brain Lesson

….seriously it will be wee 😉

brain-and-sleepThese are areas of your brain that REALLY need you to sleep.  Seriously, they are begging you…pahleeese SLEEEEP!

Here they are:


The Neocortex: Now this big fleshy new part of the human brain is the control center for memory and learning in general. Treat it well or you will learn nothing and forget everything 😉

The Frontal Lobe: When this lobe is lumbering your creativity, imagination and general ability to focus takes a nose dive. You can find yourself completely unable to come up with solutions to your problems or even see any alternatives. You don’t even know where to start on assignments and tasks.

The Temporal Lobe: When you stop sleeping your mouth literally stops working. It has no idea what to say. This lovely lobe helps you organize your language and gives you the ability to even say something like “Help! Please help me to learn how to manage my stress and learn strategies to help me sleeping better”.

Parietal Lobe: You need this logical lobe working so that you can solve problems and have higher functioning thought processes. When this lobe is well rested, life seems manageable because your Thinking/Reasonable Mind is blending well with your Emotional Mind and it allows your Wise Mind to shine through.

The Prefrontal Cortex: This is the last area in the human brain to develop, which explains a great deal about why the adolescent and adult understanding of world often seem to be at odds 😉 This is your “voice of reason”, your judgement center, your ability to visualize, select and create plans of action in your life that lead to beneficial outcomes. Treat this area very well if you want to stop making massive mistakes.


I know this was super PsychNerdy, but I think that it is important to have a basic understanding of how your beautiful brain works. Seriously, all you need to do is just treat it well and you will feel better, function better and do better in everything.

So I feel like I have got your attention! Ready to treat your brain better?!?!

Sleep Strategy

I will distill it down to a simple plan for getting some shuteye. You need a ROUTINE that sends a signal to your brain that you are ready to slip away into dreamland.

Three steps to consider:

  1. Wind Down: Start preparing for sleep a 1/2 hour before you go to bed.
  2. Use Strategies: Try strategies that encourage sleep (see list below)
  3. Manage Your Thoughts: Shut down your thoughts.  Use strategies that help you to manage your anxiety/worry.

Sleep Music.png

*I have given your my favourite sleep music. It works for me EVERY time, even when my thoughts seem to be out of control. Try it out, but remember that it takes at least 14 days to build a habit, so keep trying 🙂

Liquid Mind VIII: Sleep

Want to buy this? iTunes: Liquid Mind VIII: Sleep

Sleep Hacks

Here are 20 strategies to try that are scientifically proven to get you sleeping and make your brain happy and function well. Please give them a try!



Stop reading this and get to bed!!!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

Boo! Scared? #LeanIn


Yes, we are entering the Halloween season and being scared is part of the fun, but being scared or overwhelmed the remainder of the 364 days in the year can really interfere with your life.

Are You Tired of Being Scared?

Do you feel that lack of confidence has hindered you in your life?

I recently read a fantastic book by a person who is really inspirational, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and bestselling author of the book “Lean In”.  In this book she encourages women to focus on what they can do in the workplace rather than what they can’t. After reading this book, I starting thinking that her incredible message reaches further than just workplace leadership. The concept of “leaning in” is a wonderful metaphor for responding to most things in life that scare or overwhelm us. If you have an important wish or goal in your life, but you are finding that fear, or a lack of confidence, may be stopping you, this is the time to decide your next steps. If your goal or wish is important to you, then you have the following two choices: Approach or Avoid. I would suggest that if this is an important life goal then choose to “Approach” it and make a plan, break down the steps and Lean one thing that scares you.jpg


Yes, let’s go there…

Anxiety is a thing. Anxiety is actually your body doing exactly what it is supposed to do to keep you safe. If you about to be hit by a car or find a grizzly bear on your hiking path, you are supposed to be sent into a “fight or flight” state to keep you safe. The problem arises when that bear is in your head (your thoughts) and you can’t seem to escape it. Anxiety then becomes a problem because the bear follows you around takes over your life and stops you from living your life fully.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic approach designed to help people train their brain to respond differently to that bear, to get to know the bear (thought patterns), challenge the bear (new ways of thinking) and understanding where that bear comes from (core beliefs). So since this is an approach that focuses on LEARNING and retraining your brain, and humans are learning beings…you CAN do this!
oneYou first need to calm your Amygdala, this is a tiny part of your brain that is responsible for the huge and important response, the “fight or flight” response. You want to learn to calm Amy, tell her that everything it is okay and to “shut up!” because you need to think.

Try this to calm Amy…


or listen to this…

Scientists have discovered the most relaxing tune ever!

The most relaxing tune, Weightless by founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy , was crafted by using specific rhythms, tones, frequencies and intervals to relax the listener. A continuous rhythm of 60 BPM causes the brainwaves and heart rate to synchronise with the rhythm: a process known as ‘entrainment’. Low underlying bass tones relax the listener and a low whooshing sound with a trance-like quality takes the listener into an even deeper state of calm. Read more!

If you liked that tune, check out the full top 10 most relaxing songs!

1. Marconi Union and Lyz Cooper – Weightless

2. Airstream – Electra

3. DJ Shah – Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix)

4. Enya – Watermark

5. Coldplay – Strawberry Swing

6. Barcelona – Please Don’t Go

7. All Saints – Pure Shores

8. Adele – Someone Like You

9. Mozart – Canzonetta Sull’aria

10. Cafe Del Mar – We Can Fly

two Once your brain is calm, you can now think (using your Prefrontal Cortex…I know TMI! but this PsychNerdy gurl couldn’t help it!). Helpful thinking means many things in this process such as, understanding your thought patterns, challenging problematic patterns or widening the lens you use when viewing your your life, just to mention a few ways. Get started on changing your thinking with the following resources:

  1. CBT Resource Sheet
  2. Widening Your Lens “The Wolf That You Feed” – Read by me! Listen below.


Choose to focus on what is going well in your life. Look at your life as a learning process and take on challenges as learning opportunities. You are not broken or defective, you just haven’t learned something…YET!

Want to be Inspired?

Watch Sheryl Sandberg share her experience in two wonderful TedTalks 🙂


fearIf you are ever overwhelmed, fearful or anxious, please know that you are definitely not crazy. You brain and body are doing EXACTLY what they are designed to do. Sometimes we just learn too much in a direction that is not helpful, we develop a habit, and all we need to do is start learning in a different direction. It is just LEARNING and if fear is getting in the way of your life, then you just haven’t learned how to tune up  the brain that you got…YET. I wish our brains came with a personal manual 😉 Keep on learning; keep on figuring out how your brain works.

I leave you with the thought…

What would you do if you were not afraid?

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

Stress Management: Reading Between the Lines of the Suggested Steps #TheHow


There are loads of great resources on the internet telling you what you need to do to reduce and manage the stress in your life. A quick Google search with the search term “Stress Management” produced a wealth sites, suggestions and ideas such as the following:

  1. Identify the sources of stress in your life
  2. Learn healthier ways to cope with stress
  3. Get moving
  4. Connect to others
  5. Practice the 4 A’s
  6. Make time for fun and relaxation
  7. Maintain balance with a healthy lifestyle

Source: Stress Management: Tips for Getting your Stress Under Control for Good

This source is fantastic, which is why I am using it as an example. Great ideas, it hits the stress management highlights very well and if you know the “how” part of the suggestions then you are off and running! Please take a moment to check it out.


If you are still wondering,

“What are the healthier ways of coping?!?”

Often people can feel very isolated when they are stressed out and find themselves a wee bit sick of the advice. They may think “I have no idea how to even start managing my stress” or they may feel that they are the only one who has not figured it out.


In the academic year, this is when stress ramps up wildly for students. Ah October, the month of papers, assignments, presentations and tests. What I would like to focus on today is the HOW part of finding healthier ways of coping.

Brain NerdThe HOW part can help us to create the much needed “Stress Free Zones” in our life. It is important to create moments in our lives where we actively work toward giving our brain a break so that it works better. If you are not convinced, please check the following article in Scientific American, “Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime“. See! Science says so!


The psychotherapeutic intervention called Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) designed by the wonderful psychologist, Dr. Marsha Lineman, teaches us how to regulate our emotions. This is the underlying premise to any stress management strategy, managing the emotions that lead to stress. Today, I want to share some pretty great resources for two areas of DBT that will help you with the HOW of managing stress: Distress Tolerance and Emotion Regulation. Armed with these two skill set areas, you can start to build stress free zones in your life.

Distress Tolerance: learning how to expand our ability to “cope with”, “live with” and not be sidelined by emotional experiences. Distress tolerance skills address the tendency of some individuals to experience negative emotions as overwhelming and unbearable. People with a low tolerance for distress can become overwhelmed at relatively mild levels of stress, and may react with negative behaviors.

*Check out this resource to get started! Distress Tolerance Skills

Emotion Regulation: learning how to manage negative and overwhelming emotions while increasing positive experiences. This involves the following three goals: learning to understand one’s emotions, learning to reduce emotional vulnerability and decreasing emotional suffering.

*Check out this resource to get started! Emotion Regulation Skills


…except create a stress free zone in my life…

Creating a stress free zone can be a moment, a day or a week. No matter how long it is, know that it is the only way to give your brain a break so that you will think better, learn better and feel better. Yes, it is hard, but again, so worth it!


Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success




Gratitude: Shift Your Brain and Shake off Some of that Turkey Haze!


In Canada, we are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. Instead of just filling your belly with yummy comfort food and napping, this is a great opportunity to take a moment and also feed your brain. Fill it with alternative ways of thinking that promote wellbeing and can reduce symptoms of depression while you are at it. Build, develop and foster some gratitude neural pathways in your brain!happiness-via-gratitude-quote_daily-inspiration

Not Convinced?!?

Here is the science…

Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.

Check out this video where Dr. Emmons reveals the power that gratitude has to transform our lives and offers tips for cultivating it.

Ok, I can feel you slipping into a deep turkey coma because you are not completely convinced as to the value of thinking in a grateful way. Well…

Brain Nerd

Ok, you asked for it!

I will now have to get all PsychNerdy on y’all!

Dr. Norman Doidge, a Toronto Psychiatrist, has done some pretty extensive research on brain function, particularly in the area of Neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. All you need to do is exercise your brain in the right direction. He says that neutrons that “fire together, wire together”.


So if you are participating in Thanksgiving family activities and all you can think about is what is crappy about the situation, the neutrons firing for “Thanksgiving” are wiring with”crappy”. Wouldn’t it be better to change your perspective to “what is going well?”, “what am I grateful for?” or “I am so lucky to have [fill in your blank]”?. This way the next time you see a turkey you will associate it with good things 🙂

Gratitude Fostering Strategies

  1. Perspective Shaping: Start with reading this amazing list of questions”50 Questions That Will Help You Feel Grateful and Good About Life” that will get that sluggish brain ticking along a gratitude path.
  2. Reframing: Consciously reframe something that you initially perceived as negative into an opportunity to be grateful. Come on, try it! Find that silver lining. Notice how you feel when you think the negative thought and notice how you feel when you shift over to the positive.
  3. Curb the Urge: Try catching yourself every time you are about to complain about something and then W.A.I.T! Stop and ask yourself “Why Am I Talking”? Ask yourself “Can I say nothing?” or  “Can I say something positive instead?”
  4. Gratitude Letter: This is not the same as a “thank you note,” a Gratitude Letter gives you an opportunity to examine the happiness and meaning that you get from a relationship in your life, write it down, and share it with that significant person. The cool thing here is that it’s not only a gift to the recipient, it’s a gift to yourself. The process of pondering and realizing the good things in that relationship and the positive impact in your life is so beneficial for your wellbeing. Check this out and get started -> Gratitude Letter Ideas.


All you programmers and coders out there are well aware of the following phrase:

“Garbage in-Garbage Out”

Gratitude Symbol.jpg

This works the same for your brain. Feed it well…

Come on, shake yourself out of that turkey stupor and try feeding your brain some gratitude and start feeling better in your life. Show up, lean in and create the life that you want. Be grateful that you can change your brain! #NeuralPlasticity It is up to you!


Turkey Hockey.jpg

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


Mission Possible: Got Vision for Your Mission?

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


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


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


The Procrastination Paradox


Last week, in my Procrastination. Sigh. Nuff Said  post, I really tried to sell you the value and benefits of exercise. I hope you started moving more 🙂 Exercise is a very tangible and possible way to positively impact your mood and increase your overall motivation. You need motivation to deal with procrastination. Exercise is the first step. The paradox is that the more you procrastinate the worse you feel adown_the_rabbit_hole_by_jcjessica-d5kqxq7.jpgbout yourself. Your emotional state lowers, you feel like your are a horrible person and then you procrastinate even more. The downward spiral into the procrastination black hole begins.


Get moving for your motivation!


procrastination-drinkWouldn’t be awesome if there was an easy way to get rid of procrastination, magically get stuff done with ease?

Ya, me too. If there was a magical way, believe me, I am the person to have found it! Love an easy way out 😉

Since there is nothing easy, own that fact and commit to starting some relatively easy steps toward building the procrastination combat skills you need.


Fear is the driving force behind what leads us to being overwhelmed which lands us in a procrastination sinkhole.

There are two main academic dudes (ya, I know “dude” makes me sound old, but I still love that word!) that have such great advice for understanding and dealing with procrastination, Dr. Tim Pychyl, Associate Professor, Psychology and Director, Carlton University and Dr. Joseph Ferrari, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology at De Paul University in Chicago. I am going to pass along some great wisdom from these two smarty pants’ today.

The problem is that we often we describe ourselves very negatively when we procrastinate which leads to us feeling pretty crappy.

  • “I have a time management problem”
  • “I just can’t make myself do it. I have no willpower”
  • “I am just a lazy person

This just makes us procrastinate more.

These two awesome psychologists see procrastination as a misplaced coping mechanism, as an emotion-focused coping strategy. When you procrastinate, you are using avoidance to cope with emotions. We are “giving in” to feel better.  This is not a flaw in you, it is actually just a lack of development in self-regulation skills.This can be learned!

Advice from Dr. Pychyl

“When you find yourself putting off a task, ask yourself WHY you are feeling a need to hesitate or delay. Then, remind yourself that undertaking that task in a reasonable time frame is in your own best interest (don’t leave it to Future You).

Advice from Dr. Ferrari

  • Make a list of everything you have to do.
  • Write a statement of intention.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Break it down into specific tasks.
  • Make your task meaningful.
  • Promise yourself a reward.
  • Eliminate tasks you never plan to do. Be honest!
  • Estimate the amount of time you think it will take you to complete a task. Then increase the amount by 100%.

Advice from Me…

Check out my Emotional Intelligence Tip Sheet for Emotional-Self-Awareness and try and figure out what emotions you are feeling that lead to procrastination.


In case you missed a previous post here, I am putting this TedTalk up again. It really helps to normalize procrastination. Everyone does it to a certain extent, some of us are just further along the learning path to have the skills to curb it.

Check this out! Trust me, you will feel better 😉

Tim Urban knows that procrastination doesn’t make sense, but he’s never been able to shake his habit of waiting until the last minute to get things done. In this hilarious and insightful talk, Urban takes us on a journey through YouTube binges, Wikipedia rabbit holes and bouts of staring out the window — and encourages us to think harder about what we’re really procrastinating on, before we run out of time.


Wondering.jpgWondering if you are a Procrastinator?

Check this Quiz from MindTools! 


Next Week…

Mindset and Procrastination

Share your experience! I would love to hear what you do to manage your urge to procrastinate 🙂 


Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

Procrastination. Sigh. Nuff Said.

I dont feel Like it.jpg

 “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





Say Buh-Bye to Being Stuck: Add Some “Strangeness” in Your Life



“Life is an experiment. More experiments make you better”

Ralph Waldo Emmerson

We are officially counting down to the new academic year. Next week you get a second chance to create a great academic year for yourself. No matter what your experience has been in the past, let it go, see it as learning and necessary for making you who you are, but make a powerful decision to take charge of your life. Take some calculated risks that enhance your life and, possibly, bring a welcome surprise to your life.

“Getting out of your psychological comfort zone”

Want to create awesome unexpected surprises in your life? Well, start by getting out of your psychological comfort zone. The whole purpose is to experiment, a little, by trying things that scare you a bit and move you out of the behavioural habits that keep you in an anxiety-neutral position. I am not saying move out completely! That would be awful! Comfort zones have a bunch of benefits. I am suggesting that you just hokey pokey your way out, once-in-a-while, make yourself a wee bit uncomfortable and see what happens.

Getting Started:
Watch this TedTalk about the value of talking to strangers.



Why You Should Talk to Stranger

“When you talk to strangers, you’re making beautiful interruptions into the expected narrative of your daily life — and theirs,” says Kio Stark. In this delightful talk, Stark explores the overlooked benefits of pushing past our default discomfort when it comes to strangers and embracing those fleeting but profoundly beautiful moments of genuine connection.

Moral of the Story…

Talking to strangers creates “beautiful interruptions into the expected narrative of your daily life. You are making unexpected connections”. Make some connections on campus. This makes you more involved, connected and engaged as a student. Research supports that campus engaged students are successful students.

Strangers on Campus

Start talking to “strangers” when at school if you want to feel more connected to your campus community. When standing in lines or in waiting areas, take a moment to say “hi” to someone and ask what program they are in. Say random “hellos or good mornings” to people as you walk by. Go out of your way to meet the staff and faculty who work at the various services such as your Learning Centre, Counselling Department and student association. Attend campus events…even if you are nervous about it. You may meet someone new which makes campus life less lonely and scary.




Of course you are!  Moving out of your comfort zone and into your “Learning Zone” is a new path with no map; but it is so important to do if you want to start ticking off your Life To-Do List. Here is some advice to get you started:

  • Be clear what your goal is. For example, “I want to meet other students”, “I want to feel like I belong on campus” and “I want to feel more comfortable at campus events”.
  • Know that learning is a gradual and cumulative process. It is not helpful to push too much and land head first into your “Panic Zone”. Start with small, slightly uncomfortable, risks.

  •  Learn from others. Help to fill in the learning gaps with steps that others have taken. People in your life are great sources of learning.

Just for Fun!

Watch the movie, “Yes Man” for a funny and outrageous take on the value of saying “yes” and leaning into your life. Taking risks that can change your life and disrupt the narrative that is only creating the “same old” life. There is some great advice in this hilarious movie, but know that the purpose is to be in your “Learning Zone” not in a high risk situation 🙂

I would love to hear about the what unexpected wonderful surprises come from talking to strangers. Please share your experience!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Successtryingnewthingsquotes


YOLO! Adopt the Attitude for Success

Stay Focused

Since You Only Live Once….make it good!

School is starting soon and it’s time to get mentally prepared. I am sure that you are feeling mixed emotions for sure! Dread, excitement, worry and hopefulness are probably weighing heavy on your mind. Here is a secret to getting those pesky emotions in balance and setting yourself up for the best academic year of your life.

Happy-New-Year-Images-2016-advance.jpgAcademic New Years!

This is the time of the year to reboot, start fresh, use some new strategies and really make your goals come alive.

This year take a different approach. Think about who you want to become in life rather than what you want to be. Yes yes yes, I know, you are in school to become a skilled worker in your chosen field, and you will, but that focus often is not strong enough to sustain you though the difficult challenges that the school year brings. Challenges are often those little teaching tools that help us to become the best version of ourselves.

WHO-DO-YOU-WANT-TO-BE-FOR-YOUR-TURN-ON2.pngDo you want to be the kind of person who can see things from many different perspectives? Be able to turn negative experiences in to learning experiences? Do you want to be the kind of person who takes charge of their own life and does not wait for others to solve their problems? Do you want to be the kind of person who faces challenges and loves the personal growth and self-confidence that develops out of those experiences?

Well, start with adopting this attitude: #MakeGoodThingsHappen

Yes, you are in charge of your life, make it great, take responsibility and go!

Ok, I can feel you wondering just where do I get started??! Well, with knowing and applying your strengths of course!!


Lead with Your StrengthsFocus on Your Strengths

Every individual possesses 24 character strengths in different degrees, giving each person a unique character profile. You can discover your personal character strengths profile by taking the scientifically validated VIA Survey.

My top 3 are Social Intelligence, Zest and Gratitude. These are very accurate for me. I try very hard to infuse and use these character strengths in every thing that I do. When I teach, when I counsel and even in my personal life; the good times and the challenging times. It is in the tough times I try to face the issue, find solutions all with “Zest” (approaching life with excitement and energy; not doing things halfway or halfheartedly; living life as an adventure; feeling alive and activated).


What character strengths do you have?

Check out the FREE Character Strengths Survey


Tips to Get You in the Right Mindset to Start the Year off Well:

  1. Goals! Be very clear about your goals. For some ideas around goal setting, check out this video: SMART Goals. Knowing why you are working hard through the tough times, makes is so much easier to persevere (short term pain for long term gain). Use your strengths to guide you.
  2. Just Do it! Adopt a “Work First-Play Later” attitude. Get your work done and then play is so much better (you are more relaxed) and play becomes a great motivator.
  3. Procrastinating? Just get started and at least do something, even a small amount. You may surprise yourself and get “stuck in” the work. Start with saying, “I will work for at least 30 minutes”, see what happens.
  4. Music! Use classical music to help you concentrate and stay focused. Once you regularly start using music to study, you will find simply putting on the headphones and playing this music, prepares your brain for a study state. Try it!
  5. Adopt a success Mindset! Yes, it will be hard at times but wallowing in negative thoughts and emotions just keeps you stuck. If you say to yourself something like “college is a place where I face daily anxieties and get mentally tortured by all my professors”, then school will just feel painful. If you say something like, “yes, school is very stressful, but I love seeing what I am capable of in this life”, your mindset changes to something more motivational.


This is the year to…


…in your life.

Join me this year on the #MakeGoodThingsHappen journey!

For Mohawk Students, I will be presenting on GRIT: Secret to Success at the first annual Be Well-Do Well workshop day on August 31st. Check it out!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success