Although you have stuck your New Year resolution on the kitchen wall – to dissuade you from sneaking in that flavorful dessert after dinner every night – sometimes you are not going to deliberately look. It is but human to fail. It is definitely going to happen with your study plans. Despite your best effort, sometimes you will not be able to stick to the plan despite best intentions. Don’t get demotivated when that happens or don’t give up on yourself – ‘I just can’t get to pull myself together to read or do my assignments’ – you may say. Small failures are by no means that important that you abandon your goal. Have an ‘if/then contingency plan’ – if this happens, then I will do that. This is your mental plan if things trip along the way.
Scenario 1: You have promised yourself that you will put in at least 30 minutes of reading every day before bed. You have been falling prey consistently to EPL/Sitcom/sleep.
Then do this: Instead of crying foul over your unkept nighttime routine, switch to a morning plan. The nights you miss, make up with a morning 30 minute ritual. It is you telling yourself that you are ready to make up in case of a miss. Soon this discipline will eventually lead you to get back to your nightly routine.
Scenario 2: You know that your assignment deadline has come and gone. Despite repeated reminders from College, you have prioritized your office work or other obligations.
Then do this: Instead of telling yourself, that you cannot ever get your assignments done and that you have been a complete failure at distance learning, adopt an ‘assignment day’ with your classmates. Beg, plead, and coerce everybody into committing one Friday evening or early Saturday morning, where you tackle the immediate assignments for submission. This will make you feel accomplished and will serve as a wonderful morale booster.
Then do this: Carefully evaluate how much you need as a passable test score. Meet your classmates over coffee/snack and discuss past question papers. Check to see if it really is that difficult to get by this time around. Pushing an examination can be a big setback and often we overestimate our chances of failure. If you all agree that a little bit of midnight-oil-burning can take care of the current paper, give it a shot. You may not have the most excellent of scores, but you may surprise yourself into easily passing something that you may have just dreaded earlier. Then, plan how to give the next test better.
Scenario 3: Your examinations are knocking at the door and you do not have the confidence to sit for the test. Despite repeated reminders from yourself and college, you have not been able to make time for study.
Roadblocks will definitely come up. This journey is not going to be easy. Office pressure and commitment at home will play havoc with your original intentions. Those are the times you should remind yourself why you chose to do this in the first place. Where do you want to go with this degree? What benefits will happen once you are able to complete the course successfully and why it is important you do this sooner than later. Such reflections will keep you on track and simple if/then strategies will ensure that you do not deviate.