Why do some people reach their goals and others do not? Many people are under the assumption that willpower is necessary to achieve what we want. On the contrary, willpower often creates stress and causes us to focus on what we cannot or should not do. It is much better to focus on what we can do and begin by making behavioral changes that include preparing and planning. Successful goals should be broken down into simple, doable action steps that can be monitored easily. It is important to stick to the plan faithfully at the beginning until new habits and ideas are incorporated into our lives.
When students sit down to write an essay, I have noticed that the struggling writers are the ones least likely to have a structured plan and are most resistant to the process; they just want to get it over with and have a final product. It would be wonderful to just be able to see the results we want without having to think about doing anything to get there. Unfortunately, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Sitting with pen in hand and blank paper for lengthy amounts of time will not make ideas just pop into your head. Writing requires detailed planning which can best be learned with coaching and support.
Compare writing an essay to a diet plan. Both can seem painful and overwhelming, and most people think a diet is about what they can’t do or shouldn’t do. Negative thinking and willpower won’t work over the long haul. Making small, behavioral changes will work because feelings of punishment and deprivation are removed. For instance, there is a diet called the 21 Day Extreme that uses pre-measured containers for all the different food groups and offers choices of what you can eat for each one. If one follows the tightly controlled plan, the choices are there for you without too much thinking. It is easy to prepare for a successful day of eating when everything is structured to help you reach a goal. If one sticks to the plan for a set number of days, healthy, portion-controlled eating becomes much easier and a new habit is formed. In addition, encouragement and guidance given by a caring coach can make the difference; such support groups have been the key for many dieters attending Weight Watchers. This is the same mindset required for successfully writing an essay; a structured format practiced repeatedly will become automatic, especially if there is someone there giving positive feedback and direction. Once the structure is in place, this strict regimen can become flexible. Eating, as well as writing, should be a pleasurable experience. If your son or daughter struggles putting pen to paper, call us.
Faith Borkowsky, Owner and Lead Educational Consultant of High Five Literacy and Academic Coaching, is Orton-Gillingham trained and Wilson Certified, and has extensive training and experience in a number of other research-based, peer-reviewed programs that have produced positive gains for students with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, ADD/ADHD, and a host of learning difficulties.
High Five Literacy and Academic Coaching is located in Plainview, Long Island. Read about what we can offer you and your child: http://highfiveliteracy.com.
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