When I really want something I can be very strong willed and single-minded. Five weeks ago I decided I'd had enough of drinking and smoking and the effects they were having on me both mentally and physically. I duly read Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking and instantly knocked my smoking habit on the head. Interestingly, while I was reading it, I realised that much of the logic he applied to quitting smoking could be easily applied to stopping drinking. As a result I cut both vices in one fell swoop with remarkable ease and have been feeling nauseatingly smug ever since. My mind is set, for the duration of my DipTESOL course, for a clear-headed and virtuous lifestyle.
When I did my RYA YachtMaster course, I effectively wrote off my life for 4 months and did nothing but eat, sleep and drink sailing (and a shit load of rum of course). I stayed on the Isle of Wight or on various yachts and saw no one bar my instructors and fellow classmates. By focusing on nothing but sailing, I managed to achieve my YachtMaster much to my family's amusement, who had rarely seen me up on deck during our countless childhood sailing holidays, where I hid down below, reading, playing cards and fighting with my brothers. I am determined to apply this same focused mindset to studying for my teaching course.
One method that seems to be working so far is basically flicking a switch in my head to change my perception of weekends from free time to study time. By doing this, any time I actually get off to do fun things becomes a bonus, rather than any studying time being perceived as a subtraction from fun time. So, for example, last weekend I read articles, chapters from text books and blogs until my head felt ready to explode. At which point I took a break to walk up the Peak - a bonus! I went back to work with a clear head, finally finishing at 4pm when I went to one of Hong Kong's many islands to a strange music festival. Sunday followed a similar path, I studied from 10am to 3pm and then went for a barbecue at the Yacht Club. By the end of the weekend I felt a huge sense of accomplishment having made a massive dent in my course assignments for the week, and I still felt I had had some free time to have fun and catch up with friends.
With my new healthy lifestyle and my focus set to study mode, I am overflowing with energy. I feel upbeat, super motivated and completely up for the challenge. Despite the volume of work I am currently facing I am really excited to be using my brain and improving my teaching. It's up to me to make sure that the switch remains firmly fixed onto study mode over the coming months.