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People like to accomplish things and feel competent, so part of wellbeing involves achievement.

University is a great place for taking on the challenge of learning a new subject and developing mastery of it - whether passing an assignment or completing a course.

It only seems impossible till it's done. Nelson Mandela.

Top Tips

Here are some top tips that we've put together to help you achieve and feel competent:

  • Give yourself some credit

    Each day list the things you have achieved. Many people only look at the big achievements - like getting your degree, but break it down into the chunks that get done each - such as having read an article, made some notes, had an idea for an assignment. If you keep lists, keep them in one spot where you can check things off and maintain a record of what you're doing.

  • Take a step

    What is the smallest step towards your goal that you could recognise as a step in the right direction? Asking this question is a good way to start to acknowledge the things you are doing well. Small bits of recognition help to keep your motivation up.

  • Share some recognition

    Can you have a study partner or a small group with whom you can check in, and tell each other what you have done in the last few days? Most people are too modest to talk about his unless you all agree to do it, but if you agree to help each other you can all support and encourage each other.

  • Little extras

    Set yourself a few small goals outside of study, that you can do as part of a study break. This is best to be something off the computer and away from the desk, so it gives you a break and goals to accomplish. It might be things like learning to juggle, kicking a ball at goals, shooting a netball in the backyard, doing a drawing or painting.

  • Satisficing

    "Satisficing" is being happy with what is there rather than needing to find the best thing - whether it be the best restaurant, best camping spot, or best looking partner. It seems that 'satisficer's are generally happier than 'maximisers' who must have the best of everything.

    This is not to say that you can't strive for excellence in your work, but suggests instead to be happy with what you do achieve, rather than critical if your results aren't perfect.

  • Learning Optimism

    Try to improve your level of optimism. Martin Seligman refers to 'Learned Optimisim' and talks about how an optimist looks at life. In short an optimist sees any set back, or problem as 'temporary, a one off event and not something that will prevent them moving on with life'; in contrast a pessimist will see a problem situation as 'permanent, something that won't change, can't be affected by their action and something that will effect their future'.  Practice talking to yourself like an optimist. See if you can shift your thinking into an optimistic framework.  When something happens which you are unhappy about ask yourself - is this really permanent, can I maybe do something to change this is it possible this is only a one off problem.


  • Martin Seligman: Seligman, M, 2011, 'Flourish', Random House Australia Pty Ltd.



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