3 Easy Back-to-College Tips

Happy August everyone!

That’s right, I said AUGUST. It’s here now, which means the chaos of “back to school” is too. Unfortunately, next you feel like strolling around Target looking at things you didn’t go there to buy, you’ll start encountering everything marking the end of summer (*tears*).

Although you probably don’t want to be thinking about it at all right now, I have a few ideas for you to slowly prepare ahead of time for going back to school…specifically, back to college. Sure, you could wait ’til the last minute to get on top of things, but why when you have all of the time in the world right now? Soon, your schedule will feel overwhelmed again with full-time class, extra-curricular activities, and maybe even a few part-time jobs if you’re like me. Nothing feels better than going into your first day of class fully prepared to take on the semester, so consider the following to help you stay on a successful path:

Start Planning Out Your Semester

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Investing in a nice, organized planner is seriously worth it if you always have a lot going on, or have a horrible memory like me. Giving yourself an easily accessed visual representation of what is coming up in your life keeps you focused and attentive to what you need to be preparing for.

If you already have dates for family events, get them in your planner. If you already know about what times and days of the week you’ll be busy or have class, write them all down.

You’ll feel more productive and less flustered at the start of the school year (which is 27 days from now, eek!) when crunch time starts to kick in. Also, take a look at UMD’s academic calendar to help you note important dates throughout the fall.

Do Some “Fall Cleaning

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I’m not referring to cleaning your house here. I’m talking about purging your closet and junk drawers of all of the “stuff” you’ve been collecting but not using. Start with one category at a time (clothes, shoes, old books, school stuff, random items) and make three piles: Sell, Donate and Throw.

Some things you’ve been hanging on to could still turn you a profit via a consignment store, garage sale, or a Facebook marketplace post. It may not be much, but having some extra cash for when school rolls around is always a perk.

Other items you have you may not necessarily be able to sell, but you don’t want to throw them in the trash either. Donate them to your local shelter or Goodwill so that they can actually be used by someone else.

Last but not least, throw away some of the stuff that is just down-right gross. Pair of dirty sneakers you haven’t worn in a few years? Toss. Half-eaten bag of stale Cheetos you find under your bed? Garbage. That pile of coffee-stained papers from your 10th grade writing class? Throw it away! (Well, actually you should recycle it if it is paper but…you get the point). Stop using up your precious space with things that hold no value anymore.

Organize Your Backpack

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Your backpack may look exactly how it did on your last day of spring semester classes, and you probably don’t want that for this fall. Go through it, organize your supplies, and toss the stuff leftover you really don’t need.

Buy a few things from the store for classes. You’ll want to make sure your backpack is stocked with at least one pencil so you’re not that person asking to borrow one on the first day of school. Have a couple of notebooks, and your handy-dandy planner.

Also, it might not be a bad idea to throw together a small “emergency” pack to keep in your bag. This can include all the stuff you wish you had with you during school in a pinch, like different medicines, a mini-umbrella, facial tissues, a pair of extra socks, back-up headphones and non-perishable snacks.

 

Hopefully these ideas come in hand when thinking about what you need to do before school starts. And whatever else you think may help you prepare for this fall semester, do it! You’ll thank yourself later.

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 8/01/2017

 

 

 

UMD Transfer Students

Hey everyone!

This will be a very quick post letting you know more about the ah-MAZING transfer student experience you can and will have at UMD. On the university’s main website, you can read updates and news related to what us Bulldogs are up to. One of the most recent articles, which you can read here, talks about how one transfer student not only adjusted to the UMD atmosphere, but thrived in it.

For more information about the transfer student process at UMD, please go to: http://www.d.umn.edu/students-transition/transfer-students

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 7/30/2017

Why It’s Perfectly OK to Retake That Class

I woke up this morning bleary-eyed and tired, despite getting plenty of sleep. The sun was shining bright (for once!) through my blinds and I slowly but surely got out of my bed to make some coffee. If you know me personally, you know I have quite the obsession with a hot cup of joe to perk me up. So I made my coffee, ate my breakfast, grabbed my backpack, and hopped in my car to go to class

Yes, I do know that it’s summer, and I did just say go to class.

This summer I am retaking not just one, but two classes; General Chemistry I and II. I am going into my junior year at UMD this fall and I am retaking two freshman year courses. Why? Because I barely passed them. I didn’t have my head set on straight freshman year with Chemistry. I didn’t ask for help when I needed it, I didn’t study enough, I got frustrated easily by confusing concepts, and I didn’t put my 110% into it like I did with my other classes at the time. So here I am today, retaking them.

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Another reason why I am retaking them is because of my unbelievably strong goal of being accepted into Physical Therapy school next school year. Chemistry courses are one of the most important pre-requisites for graduate programs such as Physical Therapy, despite its not-so-related subject area. It is a hard class, period. And graduate programs know this. They want their future students to be people who can step up to the plate when faced with a challenge. Some of the schools I am hoping to apply to require these courses to have a minimum grade in order to even be considered for admissions. Let’s just say I did not meet those minimum standards for both of these classes.

So yeah, I didn’t do so hot. And now I’m retaking them. Big whoop! Besides feeling mad at myself for having to shell out more loan money to pay for them (which I am responsible for paying back later on), it isn’t as bad as you’d think. Here’s the little secret about retaking classes…

…a TON of people do.

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If you think you need to retake a class, don’t discourage yourself. Don’t say, “I’m stupid,” or “How could I get that grade? I’m a failure” and feel bad about your academic progress seeming to move backwards. Instead, say to yourself, “It’s okay, it happens,” and “I have learned something extremely valuable from this”.

And you have! Relating this back to “the real world” is important. You will fail and that’s just a fact. One day, you might get fired. You might invest in a lousy stock. You might lose a competition you trained months for. You might completely mess up a project at work. Who knows what it may be, but the fact is that failure is inevitable.

It is about what you do after the fact that matters the most. Will you pick yourself back up? Will you try again and again and again until you get it right? Will you put more time and effort into your goal? Will you gain insight about yourself and change your habits for the better? What will you do when you fail?

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Retaking a class shouldn’t be as scary as it sounds. Maybe you get a much better professor who can articulate the content to you in a more understandable way. Maybe you take a summer class – like me – and realize you can have a more one-on-one relationship with your professor due to the small class size. Maybe this time around, it’ll be easier for you now that you know what’s coming in the course (the fear of “the unknown” has been completely abolished at this point).

What you should take away from this is the plain fact that when life hands you lemons and a poor grade in a class, squeeze up some fresh lemonade and retake the class. You’ll gain much more than you thought.

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 5/24/2017

 

 

 

Make the Best Out of Your College Summer

Happy Friday, everyone! I am sure you are just as relieved for the end of the week to be here as I am. Whether you’re still coming down from the adrenaline rush of last week’s finals like me, or you’re already kicking back at your lake relaxing, all of us are pretty happy with knowing that sweet summertime is here.

So what are your plans this summer? Going home to work 40+ hours a week? Got an awesome internship to keep you busy? Taking a long trip around the world? Or catching up on your year’s sleep for three months straight?

Summer is an interesting time. A lot of college kids end up working a ridiculous amount of hours, experience the ups and downs of a challenging new internship, or travel around with family or friends and having fun. But, are you able to balance all of these things? Are you truly making the best out of your college summers?

Do you work to live or do you live to work?

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Remember to make memories as well as move yourself forward in life. Last summer I worked two demanding jobs. I was so stressed out about saving money that I gave a very open schedule to both companies, and thus I worked practically every single day, including weekends. Sometimes I’d get a day or two off if I planned well in advance, but other than that I worked and worked and worked. And that was fine! I was being a mature adult straight out of her first year at UMD trying to save money for my upcoming time living in a house and paying rent and utilities. Nothing wrong with that, right?

The problem that I realized with this insanely busy work schedule was that I had no time for enjoying an actual summer. I got scheduled to work at both jobs, one in the morning and the other in the evening, on the fourth of July. It’s not that big of a deal, right? Plenty of people miss holidays with their families to work, I’d think to myself. I could have been at the lake with my parents and little sisters and grandpa watching fireworks and eating s’mores though. Instead, I started off my day selling clothes and ended it scrubbing out coffee-stained sinks.

Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with working hard to earn your keep in life. But…are you balancing out the other things that matter? The things that make you happy? I can confidently say that last summer I basically did nothing but work. I made almost no fun memories with my family and friends because I never had time for it. I didn’t do any of the things that made me happy.

Are you making time for this aspect of your life this summer? Are you allowing yourself to take a break from the clock and spending quality time with the people you care about? Or, are you a workaholic, driven mad by financial obligations?

What things can you do to make your summer more than just the “fun stuff?

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On the flip-side, what if you are unknowingly planning to have too much fun this summer? Are you somebody who is ready to just sit back and relax all day, every day? Are you just going to work sometimes because you don’t really need to buy much when living at home? Are you excited to party every single weekend with your high school buddies and then lay in your bed all day afterwards?

Remember that this summer is a chance for you to gain a ton of opportunities and experiences helpful for college, if you choose to. Is there somewhere you can volunteer to boost your resume as well as your moral compass? Is there a place you can shadow a prospective career path you might like? Can you work somewhere that will give you much more related experience to your goals for your major? What more can you do?

Nobody is perfect, so maybe you do what I did and work an insane amount of hours over the next few months. Maybe you binge-watch every single season of Grey’s Anatomy or Parks and Recreation…twice. Whatever you do is up to you. But just know that it doesn’t hurt to think about how to evenly balance all of the things that are important to you. You might just get the best out it this summer.

Now go get some sunshine!

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 5/12/2017

Last Minute Finals Tips as Told by “Friends”

Ah, Wednesday. We are soooooo close to being done with Spring 2017 Finals Week! Maybe you’ve taken all of your final exams, maybe you’re stuck with the 2:00 Friday test time (cough, cough, ME!). Whoever you are, give yourself a great big pat on the back. You are only 2 days away from being officially done with being a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior. Congratulations!!

BUT…in case you’re feeling like you’re in a bit of a slump on hump day, don’t fret. I am actually right there with you. Procrastinating studying for that last final? Yep, me too. Writing this blog post tonight is actually my way of doing so. I am trying my very hardest to avoid the thought of having two important tests back-to-back this Friday. So what can ya do to avert this mentality?

Get the Brain Juices Flowing!

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Maybe you’re low on fuel, and your brain is responding by being quickly distracted by that phone *ping!* or to that person chewing loudly on the second floor of the library. Address your needs. Hungry? Feed yourself. Thirsty? Go chug some water. Feeling mentally fatigued? Perk up with a good cup of joe. Do SOMETHING to push your brain back onto the studying track rather than fibbing to yourself, “Just one more episode of this Netflix series…and then I’ll start.”

Isolate Yourself

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Yes friends are awesome, but sometimes they can completely kill your study vibe. I bet you’re not actually working harder with a “study group” unless you absolutely do not understand something that your friend is trying to explain. You are much better off putting yourself in a distraction-free zone on the third or fourth floor of the library, or somewhere else you won’t be bothered. Turn the phone on silent and stow it away (Yes, I am a flight attendant). You will get NOTHING done with roommates or friends or Facebook chattering in your ear left and right.

Make a Rough Study Plan

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Yeah, you probably know what you need to do, but are you actually doing it? Put your pen to paper and be specific. Write down every detail about what you need to do tonight in order to feel successful going into tomorrow and Friday. What parts of chapters do you need to read? What do you need to put on a Quizlet? What do you need to review on Moodle? Whatever it may be, think about it proactively and slowly start checking it off throughout the night. That’ll keep you motivated to try to finish as many things as you need to.

Take a Break When You Need It

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You may be feeling pretty slumped because you’ve been working too hard. But, you might still have a million things on your plate and unsure how to complete them all in one sitting. You don’t have to! Get up every 30 minutes to an hour to stretch, walk around, use the bathroom, and wake up your brain. Plus, studies have shown that it is actually beneficial to take small breaks during studying to allow information to really sink in. Be like Ross and take a break! (Too soon?)

Hopefully this helps you out during your last few days of finals. Good luck and study hard everyone!

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 5/3/2017

 

Rockstar Training 2017!!!!!

Hey everyone!! I know you all are probably just as excited as I am that the semester is slowly drawing to a close, but some people are already getting their A-game on for Bulldog Welcome Week 2017.

That’s right, I said it….

BULLDOG WELCOME WEEK 2017!!!!!!!!!

AHHHHHH!! So exciting!

Here’s the link to the latest video about Rockstar training last month. It’s a sneak peek into what Rockstars will be doing this year and how super-awesome-crazy-fun they are. (You can obviously tell by the wild smiles and laughter everyone seems to be having).

In case you didn’t already know, Rockstars are a group of fantastic college students on a mission to help new students (freshmen and transfer) have THEE best transition into the UMD life. I still remember my Rockstar, Matt, and how much fun us and our “rock group” had during BWW. One of my best friends, Kate, was in my group! We’re living together this next school year, and I know we will be lifelong friends.

Get excited because summer is right around the corner, and so is Bulldog Welcome Week!!

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 4/18/2017

Why It’s Okay to Be Overinvolved (& How to Do It Right)

Hello everyone! I hope you are out enjoying the slightly chilly but absolutely beautiful weather we are having in Duluth on this wonderful Tuesday.

So, today’s post is about something I feel like is important to talk about when you’re finding your way through college and all of the opportunities it can give you. Recently, I was just elected as the Secretary of Attitudes Dance Association and the President of UMD Yoga Club. On top of that, I am the Scribe for Phi Sigma Sigma, I work two on-campus jobs, I was just certified as a NETA Group Fitness instructor, and not to mention I am an Exercise Science major striving for Physical Therapy school (which has requirements such as 100+ hours of PT shadowing). Talk about busy, right?

I am not alone though, and I know that for a fact because EVERYONE in my life right now is always insanely busy! I’m not the only nut cramming every last ounce of time in my color-coded planner to all of the things I’m involved in (Thank God).

So…is this a good or a bad thing?

The other day I was thinking this exact question to myself. Have I found myself to be a better person overall by being overly involved? I contemplated it for a moment, and I drew three big conclusions:

            a) I have always been someone who has a fear of missing out (FOMO) when it comes to opportunities. I have always been someone doing everything and anything, ever since I was little. So this just comes naturally to me.

b) By being so busy, I have to re-prioritize my time to be able to handle it all. And since I want to do it all, I have to make it work with what I’ve got. Otherwise, I have to cut my losses (i.e., what do I need to cut out that I don’t really want or need in order to have time for the ones I do?)

c) Being busy always trumps being not busy for me, as I feel extremely motivated by needing to complete certain tasks because of a time limitation or due date. If I do not have anything to do or time to spend lolly-gagging, I feel like I am absolutely unproductive and lazy.

When you read these two statements, do they apply to you? Whatever your answer may be, there’s one thing I want to explain. Being involved in a ton of activities and obligations does not mean you have no time, and it does not mean you can’t successfully “do it all” – you absolutely can.

Right now, maybe you’ve been stuck in a rut and feeling like you can’t handle all of the commitments you’ve made it college. Maybe you’ve been so close to being on top of everything, but you can’t quite play catch-up. Maybe you’re reading this and like “WTF I could NEVER be able to handle all that!” and thinking about exiting out of the screen. Whichever one you may be, LISTEN TO ME! I have some extremely helpful tips on how you can truly be successful with trying to handle it all.

Write EVERYTHING Down!

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Real time photo of my week last week; color coded and everything!
You seriously can’t remember everything. I don’t care if you think you have a photographic memory – ya don’t! Get a snazzy planner, use your google calendar, open your iPhone calendar, and WRITE IT ALL DOWN! Important dates, reminders, whatever your heart desires so that you know well in advance and don’t play the, “Oh crap, I didn’t know!” later on. You’re an adult now, start behaving like one who’s got it all together!

Cut Out The “Crap” that Doesn’t Bring Joy to Your Life

If it doesn’t make you happy, why the heck are you doing it?! (*Disclaimer, sorry, you can’t consider school as an example for this, we are all in H-E-double hockey sticks too with that one and it’s the one exception to this rule). If you are working at a job you absolutely loathe, GO GET A NEW ONE! If you are in one too many organizations and one of them just doesn’t seem to be fitting you anymore, SEE YA! If you are wasting all of your time and energy on someone who sucks the living soul out of you, straight up tell them BYE FELISHA! You get the picture. If you want to handle it all, you need to stop spending your precious time on things that really don’t matter.

PUT DOWN THAT PHONE!

People always ask me, “Hannah!! Why didn’t you open my snapchat from THREE hours ago yet?!” or “HANNAH!! You didn’t text me back within 10 minutes!”. Well guess what, friends? I am currently BUSY juggling all of my priorities, and the very last thing on that list is checking my phone every two seconds. If you honestly think you can handle everything you want to have in your life AND be on your phone 24/7, I don’t think you sleep. Ever. Cause that’s insane. Un-glue yourself from that tiny electronic and get s&%! done! Why waste your time scrolling through Facebook when you can be completing 5 assignments in one sitting and then have time later to screw around?

I could go on and on and on about how to be successful with multiple commitments and an abundance of priorities. But, those are the staple influential factors that help me “do it all” that I think anyone could apply to their current lives. So what are you waiting for? GO GET TO WORK!

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Written by Hannah Garrett on 4/11/2017

 

Take a Peek Inside UMD’s Securian Learning Commons

Hey fellow Bulldogs, and HAPPY SUNDAY!

As some of you may know, the second floor of the library on campus is a talk-friendly area known for the tutoring center and multimedia hub. But did you know there’s so much more it has to offer? The Office of Students in Transition (SIT) has just released an awesome new video pertaining to the ins and outs of the Securian Learning Commons. Here’s a brief overview of each of the great resources this part of the library has to offer you, with descriptions taken from their main webpage. Enjoy this insightful video and read below to find out more!

The Multimedia Hub

The Multimedia Hub offers students, faculty and staff a user-friendly environment to edit videos, audio, photos, and websites. We can also assist with captioning and formatting for YouTube. Stop by or call to find out what equipment is available to help you produce your own videos for class or personal projects.

Research & Learning

UMD has a team of great research librarians who provide drop-in research assistance in their offices located in the Learning Commons. In-depth research support can be gotten with in-office consultations for both individuals and small groups. Find an expert who will help you identify topics, research strategies, and data sources for all the work you’re doing.

The Tutoring Center

The Tutoring Center offers free drop-in academic assistance to UMD students enrolled in a wide range of courses. Need a little help with the concepts, or studying for a test, we can help. Students who are tutors have taken these classes and succeeded. Who better to get tips from?

87% of students, who participated in the Tutoring Program, report improved grades on tests and quizzes as well as improved overall academic success.

Writer’s Workshop

Whether you are new to college-level writing or a graduate student working on a thesis, the Writers’ Workshop will provide free, one-to-one consultations on your writing project. The Workshop is open to all UMD students, staff and faculty because, as we say in the Workshop, we all write.

Over 95% of those who come to the Writers’ Workshop say they had a positive experience. We’re confident you will, too, so come see us. You’ll be glad you did.

Supportive Services Program

The Supportive Services Program faculty members teach courses and engage students in activities designed to promote leadership and academic success. Our courses will help you gain the skills you need to boost your GPA, provide the training needed to help you teach others, or help you learn how to be an effective peer mentor.

The Securian Math Learning Lab

The Securian Math Learning Lab provides instruction and support to students in Math 103 and Math 1005. This includes group discussion meetings as well as many open hours for students in these classes to work on course materials individually, in groups, or with assistance from an instructor or teaching assistant.

Taking into account ALL that your college has to offer you not only helps you excel in your classes, but allows you to learn more about the resources in your community. In the future, you may not be near a college campus, but at least you’ll have the skills needed to seek out help and discover new ideas.

 

Written by Hannah on 3/26/2017

 

Why You Should Apply to be a UMD RockStar!!!

If you haven’t heard of the UMD RockStars, you don’t go here. Plain and simple, EVERYONE knows who they are! They are the amazing student leaders that help new and transfer students settle into the college life during Bulldog Welcome Week. If you’re a student here, you probably remember when you were assigned to a circle of new people who you never met, called your “Rock Group”, during the week before fall semester. RockStars lead this group of new students and show them the ropes of UMD. They foster friendships and facilitate great conversations regarding academics, social activities and Duluth’s opportunities.

Being able to lead these groups of new students is not only a phenomenal experience to list on your resume, but also a rewarding and life-long memory that had an impact on those around you. RockStars learn so much about how to communicate and connect with all people around them. Being a RockStar fulfills the deep desire to help others and change the world (even if it’s only a tiny bit).

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You can apply for being a RockStar starting this Wednesday, February 1st through February 13th. You can find the applications by following this link. A note about the application – make sure you meet these guidelines:

  • Have attended UMD for at least one full year (two semesters) OR if you are a transfer student, one full semester
  • Be enrolled as a full-time student for the fall of 2017
  • Have a UMD GPA of 2.5 or above
  • Campus involvement through clubs, organizations, leadership experience, etc.
  • Be in good standing with the University
  • MUST be available for these dates:
    • Sunday April 2nd, 10am-8pm (RockStar Training)
    • Regular access to Moodle over the summer to participate in online discussions
    • Sunday August 20th, 6-9pm & Monday August 21st, 9am-6pm (Training Sessions)
    • Bulldog Welcome Week: Tuesday August 22nd-Saturday August 26th (variable hours each day, typically around 7am-11pm)

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If you think YOU are cut out for making an impact as a RockStar, apply!! The Office of Students in Transition is looking forward to meeting you.

Happy Tuesday!

Written by Hannah Garrett on 1/31/2017

If Success Was Easy, We all Would be Doing It.

Hey everyone! Me again, Hannah.

I titled this blog appropriately today, and hopefully that sparked your interest to open that lovely link and set your eyes on what I’m typing about. I have had a lot of people I know talk about how they cannot seem to do the things they want in their life or stay motivated to achieve their aspirations. Many people struggle with this in fact, and I think college kids are even more susceptible to it than ever.

We have unbelievably high expectations for ourselves. “Be a full-time student, have a job, study “x” hours a day for every credit you’re taking, be involved in extra-curricular activities and organizations, workout every day, get eight hours of sleep, study in advance for tests, pay for your own needs”, the list goes on and on and on and on.

This way of thinking is not setting you up for success in your life. It just isn’t. How are you possibly going to fit in achievement of your personal goals among that dreaded mess of expectations? You can’t! People need to realize that they don’t have to be and aren’t perfect individuals. There’s no such thing. Looking at your life in this way of “I MUST DO THIS TO SUCCEED” is not how you are going to succeed. Everyone. Is. Different.

Here’s my point. The path to success is not easy – otherwise everyone would be a CEO rolling in money and puppies and ice cream. Or whatever your fancy is. Success is a very “un-definitive” term that changes to each and every person. What makes me successful will always be completely different from what makes you successful. Maybe I’m someone who can handle that pile of expectations with ease and it’s what works for me. For you, maybe sticking to one or two of them is all you can take before you are drowning. I’ll say it again – Everyone. Is. Different.

As a college student, you should be focused on school of course. You should also be striving to do things that make YOU happy, and if this list of stuff isn’t suiting YOU, then quit it! Find YOUR path and start trekking. But, just like any other path to success, you need to know that it’s going to be damn challenging. You are not simply given the golden crown of victory and dubbed king, you have to work for it. Make your life how you want it to be.

When you want to achieve your goals, you have to keep these two things in mind. Everyone’s path is different, and everyone’s path has to be hard in order to succeed. If it won’t challenge you, it won’t change you. Keep that always at the forefront of your thoughts when you are trying hard to mark off this year’s goals and are feeling stuck in a plateau.

Find what works for YOU. Push yourself harder each and every day to get that stuff DONE. Stop saying, “Tomorrow” and start saying “RIGHT NOW”! There is no better time for change than this very moment when you can deliberately think about it. Make a plan and execute it to make your life happen how you want it to. A dream is only a wish without a plan.

This is the year of YOU, and you are going to change. You are going to change if you put yourself to the test and actually DO IT. Just DO IT!

 

Your life is in the palm of your hands – Now take it, and run with it.

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 1/27/2017