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No Sugar Coating: Tips to survive self-destructive tendencies


At a measly 6 weeks into the school year, I am embarrassed to announce that every day is a test on my emotional strength and general patience. As a regular “try-hard,” I’ve never gotten below a B- in any class. But here I am, sitting with F’s and D’s and I’m not sure how to motivate myself to get my grades up.
I have been in a bad mood for a few weeks, and it might be due to how stressful senior year can feel (even before anything has actually happened.)
But this morning, on the 10th of September, I sat in Cantrell’s AP Literature class. Quietly for once. I absorbed and observed instead of contributing to the (minimal) group discussion, and in that period of silent perception, one thing really stood out to me.
In the midst of his usual motivational pep talk, Cantrell began to allude to a video he watched on the importance of making your bed in the morning.

“If you feel like you don’t know where to start, make your bed every day,” he said, catching my attention.

I emailed him about how that lecture resonated with me, and he sent back a link to a two minute long video of a Navy Seal.The speaker, Admiral McRaven, reminisced his days basic Seal training. Every morning his instructors would show up in his barracks room and inspect his bed.
At first, he felt the routine bed checks were ridiculous. But over time, he realized that in making his bed, he accomplished the first task of the day.
Something so small as a tucked-in bed can give someone enough pride to motivate themselves to be more productive, even if that one task is the only thing we have the power to do.
“And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made,” Adm. McRaven said.
Little things create bigger things. I can’t expect to magically have A’s in all my classes until I start somewhere.
So find a place to begin. It may be small, like doing the questions of your Cornell notes right after you take them or simply reading the Mythology chapters you’re supposed to.
Every person has a different starting point, and it’s going to take time before we see positive change. But with still about 85 percent of the school year left, we have to remember how to stay self-motivated.
There will be times when things get hard. Days go slow, but years go fast. Don’t wait. Small steps can be huge ones, even if they don’t feel as impactful.

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