Yet again, there has been a lull in my blog posts. But there is valid reason this hiatus – dissertation, final assignments, and a holiday in Wales have all taken hold of my time. I would apologise, but I’m not sorry that my life is busy and engaging, to the extent that I forgot to share, and long may that continue! The internet is full of articles all about positive thinking – how to train your brain, visualise your dieting results, think yourself happy. And a lot of the time, we read them over a lunch break and then move on. But I have discovered that for all the jargon, sunny stock images, and scientific justification, there is a huge element of truth to it, even if you don’t follow the studies or programmes.
The last few weeks and months are notoriously stressful for final year university students. End of year exams, projects, the dreaded dissertation. All whilst your loan is coming to an end, you’re suddenly faced with potential job prospects, and attempting to pay through the nose for graduation. But I set myself a target – to complete the dissertation to the best of my ability, and not run myself into the ground in the pursuit of its completion. And just like that, I made it happen. I’ll say it now – I’m not writing this to boast, “oh look how good I am at life!”, because I’ve not been good at life for the past 21 years, I’ve just managed to find a way to make this year better. Hopefully, you’ll find this a little bit useful in transforming your own days.
At the start of the year, I decided to never do uni work on the weekends. I would approach this last year as a 9-5 job, working during the week between lectures (after all, I only had 8 hours a week!), leaving myself with room to socialise and enjoy life. Even just this one small act freed up time to spend doing what I love – climbing, hiking, going away, and relaxing. I’ve never been a night-before person anyway, but that discipline and routine got things done quickly. Writing a realistic timeline for dissertation gave my mind goals, and seeing it written down gave the same results as ‘visualising’ the finished product. Each week I knew which section had to be completed, and by the Friday night I was sat atop 1000 more words.
This ‘setting your mind’ isn’t just applicable to academics. As I’ve mentioned before, this year I’m giving myself a climbing goal. Thwarted somewhat by a slipped disc, I am nevertheless still determined to reach 7a by the end of the year. It isn’t this resolution that’s pushing me on – I’ve always found self-motivating in that sense to fall a little flat – but it’s the attitude of every session takes me closer. Even the bad ones are climbs where my muscles are still pulling, and my brain’s still engaging. I may eat my words when I finally get back on the south coast after a bit of a break, but so far, it’s helped to keep me relaxed about the goal, though no less certain I’m still aiming for it.
The key to setting your mind happy is to relieve the pressure on yourself. Don’t go “I must think good thoughts!” – it’s about making a decision at the start to accept and move on. I choose not to regret my actions, for they all lead me somewhere, but the ability to decide whether or not something will faze me has allowed the rest of life to flow quite happily, and opportunities to present themselves. So my advice is this – look at your schedule and determine how you’ll make those obligations easier, less of a chore and more of an achievement, and you’ll find yourself embracing life in a whole new way. Contentedness is far more energising.