Week #4- 1 month into journaling

It has almost been a month since I started journaling so I wanted to do an update on how the whole experience has been for me. The journal that I decided to write in was one created by personal trainer and nutritionist, Tara Brunet, (ig-trainingbytarabrunet). In this journal, titled “January Jumpstart”, Tara helps you start your year off right with a 5-step process to identify and eventually set your goals for the year. Next, Tara has you identify limiting factors for your goals and then helps you shut them down immediately. The rest of the book is 31 pages for 31 days and each page has a workout, a section to write your daily 3 to-do’s to get yourself closer to your goals, a section to write 3 things that you are grateful for, and then some inspiration for the day. Now 28 days into the journal, I can honestly say that it has impacted my outlook on life immensely. As I touched on in my last blog post, I have found that my productivity has increased a lot because every day I am outlining what I need to accomplish that day. My self-confidence is also increasing as I set and accomplish my goals because I am becoming more like the person I want to be every day. I find Tara’s inspiration for the day has also helped me change my mindset to become more growth oriented than fixed. I highly recommend trying a journal such as Tara’s for a month and see how it impacts your life. Even if after a month you don’t notice a change or decide that it isn’t for you, at least you can tell yourself that you stuck with something for a whole month straight and you should be proud. Images below are from Tara’s facebook page where she posted the journal online for free.

cover page for the january jumpstart journal
insight into what the first few pages of the journal are like
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Week #3- What You Practice Grows Stronger

In the TEDx Talk I linked above, Dr. Shauna Shapiro discusses why we should be practicing mindfulness and self-care. When Dr. Shapiro was seventeen, she had spinal fusion surgery and her whole life was turned around. Suddenly, she had to get used to living in a body that couldn’t do the same things it used to be able to do, so she turned to mindfulness to help her & never looked back. Dr. Shapiro discusses how on a mindfulness retreat in Thailand, a monk told her that “what you practice grows stronger”, and it has stuck with her ever since. As soon as I heard this, all these ideas began connecting in my head and it was like a light bulb had gone off. I remember reading studies about two growing plants- one that was told positive comments and the other was told negative comments. After a few months, the plant that was only told positive things ended up growing substantially more than the other plant. This same thing happens in our brains, but instead of plants it’s new neurons growing in response to repeated practice or “cortical thickening” as Dr. Shapiro describes it in her TEDx Talk. It’s said to take 30 days to create a new habit, so the more that we are kind to ourselves, either by saying positive things about ourselves or practicing self-care, the easier it gets. We are always growing something in our minds so it all depends on what you want to grow in life. If you want to grow your judgement, your ignorance, or your negativitiy, then keep doing those things. However, if you want to grow your compassion, your knowledge, and your positivity, then that is what you need to be practicing every day in your life.

Week #2- Why Set Goals?

Why should we set goals? Before I started my inquiry project, I never set any official goals in my life. I am a huge procrastinator and honestly I had no idea where to start. I knew that in my life I wanted to be successful, but what does that even mean? Success is subjective and so I couldn’t just ask someone else what they thought it meant. Instead, I began to brainstorm and I came up with my list- be financially stable enough to own a dog and travel every year, have a job that provides challenges for me to overcome every day, be happy and be healthy. From my definition of success, I began to develop my short and long term goals. At first, I was just creating goals for the sole purpose of creating them, but as time progressed I found that I was able to redefine my goals to become something that I actually really want to accomplish.

retrieved from https://clickbrain.com/strategy/13-damn-good-reasons-to-write-the-damn-business-plan/

Since I’ve adopted goal setting into my life I’ve noticed that my happiness, productiveness & time management skills have all increased. I now love the feeling of setting goals and accomplishing them and all I want to do is set more. Goal setting has also allowed me to discover more about who I am as a person and I have found my confidence has grown a lot. Still not convinced that goal setting is for you? Here are a few resources that I really enjoyed.

Week #1- The Beginning

For my open inquiry project I decided to learn about the benefits of mindfulness & goal setting in one’s life. From http://www.mindful.org, Mindfulness is “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us”. To me, that basically means being aware of your daily thoughts and emotions and training your brain to best deal with them. I have always been an anxious person so learning about how to be more cool, calm and collected, immediately sparked my interest. Over the next few months I will be monitoring my growth as an individual as I learn more about what exactly mindfulness is and how it can benefit my life. I also will be working on setting goals for myself and how that changes my mindset. To do this, I will be keeping a journal and writing in it every morning with 3 short-term goals for the day & 3 things that I am grateful for.

Ed-Camp Reflection

Are you as confused as I was sixty minutes ago? What is an Ed-Camp? Ed-Camps are free conferences that people attend to discuss topics that interests them in an open, unplanned discussion. There is no leader to guide the discussions but instead the attendees of the conference get to decide what they want to talk about and get to lead the discussions themselves with other people.

Today in my EDCI 336 class we ran our own Ed-Camp and I joined a discussion with 18 of my peers in which we discussed if teachers are being too accommodating for their students. I have been taught that we should always put the student’s needs first and if a student is uncomfortable with an activity, we should never force them to do it. What we discussed in our Ed-Camp however, was if discomfort is always a bad thing. Sometimes you need to push a student out of their comfort zone so that they are able to learn new things and can begin to diminish their fears. Take public speaking for example, if a student is uncomfortable speaking in front of a group but you never push them to get over this fear, they never will. In our Ed-Camp discussion, one of my peers brought up an excellent point about helping students get over their fears and discomforts, without pushing them too much and causing anxiety in the student’s life. Continuing with the public speaking example, you could start with having the student just speaking one on one with someone and then solely progress into speaking in front of a small group, to a larger group and then the whole class.

I found my experience with Ed-Camps very beneficial and I think that it’s a great way to start important conversations and meet people who share similar views to yourself. I am definitely interested in going to another Ed-Camp in the future and even running one in my own classroom one day.

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Why did I start this blog…

I never considered myself a blogger, or someone who takes the time to write out their thoughts in a journal or a diary. I have a short attention span, so every time I have tried to start something like that in the past, I have always given up in a matter of weeks or sometimes even days. Even though the last time I tried to start a blog was years ago, the little voice in my head was telling me that I have not changed since then and I still would not be able to keep it up. The truth (as hopefully we all know) is that people can change and I was limiting myself from growing as an individual by listening to that voice. I am not saying that now I am magically able to block out any condescending thoughts in my head, but recently I have been able to ignore them and allow myself to advance not only academically, but mentally. I find myself taking more risks in life and pushing myself further out of my comfort zone every day. I am setting personal, physical and academic goals and every day I try to accomplish something to get myself closer to achieving them. This blog is technically an assignment for my EDCI 336 class, but the amount of effort that I will be putting into it will be for my own benefit. I hope that this blog will help me achieve my long term goal of being the best educator I can possibly be for my future students. I want to set this blog up to increase my digital footprint in a positive way and create a space that I can show potential employers. I also hope that this blog will help me continue to set goals and find exactly who I want to be.