Run Clinic: Running out of motivation due to exam stress
We create a narrative to our lives based on all our experiences, good and bad, which can be hugely enriching if the story we tell is full of positive things. It only becomes a problem when we use our “story” as a reason for not trying, or as a justification for our failures and shortcomings. And, I’m afraid, the gritty truth is that this is precisely what is going on here.
First things first. Stop telling yourself the story of why this is all happening, because it is sapping you of all your mojo.
Your mum never really lost faith in you. She made one comment because she was disappointed about your exam result and probably thought she might inspire you to pass if she came down on you a bit hard. How right she was, because you passed second time round. Tell yourself this positive story if it helps re-motivate you: that she told you she lost faith because she knew it would make you succeed. And she was right.
The good thing about your problem is that it couldn’t be easier to solve. You just have to begin the revision. Go for a run first and focus on what needs to be done revision-wise. Really think about what went wrong in the last exam on your run and what steps you can take to remedy it for the re-sit. As soon as you get home, sit down at your desk and begin. No timetables or charts or any other time-wasting faff. You have only a week and you know already what needs to be done.
Run every day if you can during the build-up to the exam. You know from experience that running will make you feel great and it’s a brilliant tool to deploy in times of stress. Not only will running ease your anxiety levels, it will help you sleep well and concentrate better.
I am sorry you lost your mother so young. I am quite sure she would not have intended for you to allow a throwaway comment to affect how you view exams and failure for the rest of your life.
If you fail this re-sit, it won’t be because of anything your mother said to you. It will be a simple case of failing because you didn’t do the work. Anything else is just a story.
The Grit Doctor says:
There are no shortcuts in exam revision. Just get stuck in; grit it out. Running helps get your brain in the mood but it can never replace the nitty gritty of the revision itself. One week of your life. Give it up entirely to this cause and nail that re-sit.
Tweet your running queries to Ruth at: @gritdoctor
Ruth Field is author of Run, Fat Bitch, Run