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Category Archives: Psychological Challenges

It’s a worldwide phenomenon and we’ve all been there. We know that certain tasks must be done, but instead, we do something (anything!) else– bingeing a Netflix series, googling down internet rabbit holes, reorganising the kitchen cupboards, or doing nothing at all. We procrastinate until we can’t anymore, or worse until it’s too late. In both instances, dealing with the consequences of our delaying tactics is never pretty. You lose time you’ll never get back. Procrastination fosters poor personal, academic, and professional performance. It causes stress, anxiety, and guilt. You’re not being lazy It would be easy to label procrastination as the result of poor time management or, worse, sheer laziness. But the science simply does not support this. Procrastination is a complex psychological issue that has much to do with how our brains are hardwired. The limbic system is one of the oldest and most dominant portions of the…

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Writing a research project, thesis or dissertation is a colossal task. However, it can be accomplished if one exercises discipline and hones their organizational skills. I strongly advise my student clients to categorise and collate all aspects of their research from the beginning of their project; leaving sufficient time for vital complementary responsibilities such as formatting, proofreading, and editing. Even the best-laid plans can veer off course. Few students get through the year without at least one or two significant hiccups and some end up facing a personal or professional crisis whilst working towards the looming submission deadline. In my experience, as an academic performance coach, I’ve navigated these crises alongside my students. I’ve seen some major, and in some instances, multiple, obstacles overcome by students. What’s the secret? Tenacity. That saying, “When times get tough, the tough get going,” has never been more true than when I’ve worked with…

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“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” This is just one example of many of the a-ha moments triggered whilst reading Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism: The Discipline of Pursuing Less. This blog aims to serve as a summary of the book – not an original article proposing an opinion thereof.  Greg believes that our society is consumed with wanting more and that’s why we consistently take on additional things.  How many of these statements ring true for you? How often have you responded yes to a request without really thinking about it? How often have you signed up for something and then resented it? How often have you said yes simply to please? How often have you said yes simply to avoid trouble? Greg recognises that we face an unholy alliance between social media, smartphones, and consumerism. He suggests that “it’s not all bad, but certain forces that…

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Recall any goal that you set for yourself in the past which you then went on to achieve. I’m willing to bet that if you think about that time in your life, you’ll remember how determined you felt. You knew that it was up to you to make the changes necessary to achieve your goal and you pig-headedly believed you could and would do it. And then you did. Psychologists call this ability to motivate yourself to make significant changes in your life self-determination. Are you ready for change?  Read more about the phases of change here.   What Motivates Us?   We are motivated intrinsically and extrinsically. Intrinsic motivation means we do things because we want to, it makes us happy and satisfies us on a deeper level. No external reward necessary. Extrinsic, or external motivation, is the age-old carrot or stick. We do things because we feel we…

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What if I told you your mindset is holding you back?  The way you view what you do, and the outcome of your effort will immediately reveal whether your predominant mindset is fixed, or one of growth. Are you only results-driven, seeing anything but total success as the acceptable end result? Does a major setback seem like the end of the road? Do you believe that if you were meant for the task (thesis writing) it should come easier? Have you thought about quitting because it’s just too hard? Then there’s a strong case to be made that you’re stuck in a fixed mindset. It’s not a good place to be, and in many ways, it’s a flavour of self-sabotage that happens on an unconscious level. We are all susceptible. And we all succumb to the fixed mindset at times.  The Fixed Mindset The fixed mindset is obsessed with performance.…

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No-one would dare propose that the undertaking of postgraduate studies, which requires extensive research and academic writing is a walk in the park. Yet, we seem to raise an eyebrow at those who crack under the pressure. Regardless of being more informed and enlightened than ever, we still judge those who succumb to the adverse pressure of academic performance. I’d like to take this opportunity to have an honest conversation about mental health. I wish to thwart the idea that depression and anxiety, in particular, are symptoms of weakness. Or that either of these states of mind is in any way abnormal. Have you ever met a person who has not had a depressive episode? Or experienced anxiety? Me either. “Mental health is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stressors of life, can work productively and fruitfully…

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“They made a big mistake admitting me into this program.” “Any day now they are going to realise I’m not really that good at my job.” “I don’t belong here, I’m not as clever as all these people. I’ll be found out as a fraud eventually.” “It was just luck and good timing that I landed this position.” These are just some of the most common thoughts that plague high achievers who suffer from Impostor Syndrome (IS). While IS is not officially classified as a psychological disorder, it is an affliction which targets many ambitious and successful individuals who are climbing up the ladder in their careers. The struggle comes from being unable to internalise success coupled with a fear of being exposed as a fraud. There are three defining features of impostorism. Feeling that other people have an inflated perception of your abilities. A fear that your true abilities will be…

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ARE YOU SCARED? WELL, DON’T BE – PROJECT MANAGE YOURSELF TO THE FINISH LINE Don’t be scared, just get used to it, you have to be your own project manager. You only have a limited amount of time and energy in any single day or week and you have to direct this towards your own, personal value-driven goals. Timeline for your future objective What do you do everyday that gives you pleasure? What feeds your soul? You are unique, discover what you are best at and what you enjoy doing. Figure it out. And then get on with it. Daily routine is essential Start your day with a routine that works best for you. Make this daily routine part of your project plan. This gets you going in the morning and helps you to focus. FFS, don’t set yourself up for failure within the first week because your plan includes…

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[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.27.4″] “Addictive behavior can be summed up by one word: MORE! It’s when you’re powerless to resist MORE sugar, MORE sex, MORE shopping, MORE Facebook, MORE booze or MORE drugs” (Smallwood).   Addiction affects our emotions similarly on all the different types of addictive behaviors. For example, gamblers’ chase the thrill of the next bet in the hope of the potential big win, shopaholics desire that feeling of happiness that is triggered when they buy new shoes.  Anyone can become addicted, it depends on the individual.  But whatever the addiction is, it’s the same process as clearly articulated by Dr Gabo Mate in his short description on the psychology of addiction. Whatever your vice, if it’s force is so strong that it’s sidetracking your focus and preventing you from following through on your plans, you need to get a grip…

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