Motivational Minute: Maintaining Peace Amongst Chaos

inner peace comic

We all have had those times when we go into an interaction with someone feeling positive but walk away from it feeling disturbed, bothered, frustrated, angry, drained (and many more unpleasant adjectives). Sometimes we need to remind ourselves not to let other people’s negativity rub off on us. Think about the ocean and its properties for a moment (stay with me here). The ocean maintains calm and stillness below the surface even if there is a hurricane above. The deeper within the ocean you go, the calmer the waters. We should try to embody those same properties within ourselves and exercise the ability to maintain inner peace regardless of external circumstance. Whenever there is dis-ease (that’s probably not really a word but you catch my drift) around you, connect with the stillness within and find it by retreating and exploring the depths inside yourself.  The peace you need to weather the storms of relentless instructors (whyyy), classmates that don’t pull their weight in group assignments (ggrrrr), and Blackboard malfunctions (aahhh) is just below your surface, just dive deeper and tap into it! Namaste!

Download the Omvana meditation app (it’s free for iPhones and iPads) and try Being the Ocean (it’s only .99!)

–Jennifer, NOVA Online Student Success Coach

Motivational Minute: Silencing your Inner Critic

inner critic

Sometimes our perception of ourselves creates boundaries and limitations on what we think we can do. We tell ourselves, “I can’t do that because…” before we even entertain the possibility that success is a possibility. We doubt that we have what it takes to be successful in our endeavors because we automatically think it’s beyond our competency. I say NO WAY to that! Those very thoughts diminish our ability to be successful not our lack of skill! So here is my challenge for you over the next week: For each reason you have to tell yourself you “can’t…”, “won’t…”, “will never…”, I want you to find two reasons why you “can…”, “will…”, “will always…” Too often we talk ourselves out of the good things we deserve by convincing ourselves they aren’t meant for us. Let’s change the story we tell ourselves about ourselves and acknowledge that once the glass ceiling of self-doubt is shattered, more doors of opportunity will open simply because our mindset has changed. Perception is reality. Perceive yourself as incapable and your reality will follow suit but see yourself as great and all you do will be soaked in success! Namaste.

–Jennifer, NOVA Online Success Coach


Managing Your Study Time

jugglingBalancing college, work and life can be overwhelming! With so many responsibilities there doesn’t seem to be enough time to eat breakfast, let alone start that research paper. If your life feels like a balancing act, take control of your time and consider incorporating these time saving strategies into your study routine:

To successfully manage your course assignments, try setting assignment completion goals and record them in your planner, phone or calendar. Writing down goals will inspire and motivate you to stay on track. If you have a large research paper, consider setting daily goals to complete the paper. For example, in your planner, on Monday, March 1, record: locate 3 research articles, Tuesday, March 2: review research articles and start the works cited page. Wednesday, March 3: develop thesis for paper, and so on. Be sure to set a goal to finish 2-3 days early! Need help developing or setting goals, review this SMART Goals blog post and be sure to explore the links.

For a dynamic overview of an effective plan to organize your course workload, view our free 30 minute, online workshop focused on Time Management. The workshop will help you get on track and take control of your balancing act as you explore tips and strategies to organize your course assignments along with your personal and work responsibilities by developing a daily schedule that will put you in control. To encourage your follow through on your plans, explore their workshop titled, Overcoming Procrastination. To view these and other online workshops, click here.

Don’t let social media or interruptions get the best of your time—once you start allowing interruptions, the time you had is gone!

Stay organized by creating a binder for each course. Further organize the binder with dividers for:  Syllabus, Assignments, Lectures, Notes, etc. (just as you would do for an on-campus class).

Set up a study area that is quiet and free of distractions. A quiet ‘study zone’, will enable you to stay focused and get more accomplished in a shorter period of time. If you find them helpful, place post-it’s in key places to serve as reminders, encouragement or motivation! Remember to shut off your phone and don’t let social media interrupt you. Interruptions will cause you to wander and loose concentration which will get you off track and waste valuable time.

If you would like a planner to get started on your journey to improving your time management skills, send an email to the NOVA Online Success Coaches, They will be happy to mail you a NOVA planner.

Take control of your time by integrating these strategies into your study routine. Before you know it, life will no longer be a balancing act and you will be reaping the benefits of a controlled, stress free, and organized future! For a quick visual review of these strategies, click here.

Need help getting your assignments, tests and projects organized. Reach out to a NOVA Online Success Coach, They can help you map out your assignments and empower you to succeed.

Complete Your Goals with the S.M.A.R.T. Approach

Today’s goal setting blog post is brought to you by the Student Success Coaches. Do you have any questions about goal setting, time management, or resources available to you? Contact your Success Coach at or 703.764.5076 for tips for success and resources to help you have a successful semester.goal setting Are you feeling defeated, before you even get started, when trying to achieve a new goal? Do you feel like it is trying to climb a mountain? Do you find that your current method of writing down goals such as, ‘buy a new car’, ‘get my own apartment’ or ‘get my degree’ is not working? If you answered, ‘yes’, it is time to get motivated and adopt the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting approach. Unlike an undefined goal such as, ‘get my degree’, the S.M.A.R.T. approach enables you to clearly define a plan and stick to it. If you are not familiar with the S.M.A.R.T. process, it stands for:

S- Specific, M – Measurable, A – Attainable, R – Realistic, T – Time-bound (timely)

The S.M.A.R.T. approach will put you in control. It will provide a better vision, motivation and promote your confidence as you see your goals coming to life. For starters, ask yourself, “what do I want to achieve”? Let’s say you want to complete your degree. Using the S.M.A.R.T. framework,

  1. Specific Goal: I want to complete my Associates Degree in General Studies within the next 3 years.
  2. Measurable Goal: With this specific component of the process, you can measure your progress by the credits you complete which will ultimately result in the degree. If your goal is to complete a degree, you could write up your measurement, ‘I will complete a maximum of 15 credits each semester and no less than 6 until my A.S. Degree is completed’. As you complete each class, you will watch the credits grow! Be flexible, if you need to take less than 12 credits some semesters, you will still accumulate credits and move forward.
  3. Attainable/Achievable: Make sure you will be willing to stick with your goal and be in control. Do not take on more than you can accomplish. Ask, ‘have others done this successfully’, ‘do I have the necessary resources, skills and abilities to achieve this goal’? Plan and make sure there will not be stumbling blocks that could defeat you and do not be afraid to ask for help!
  4. Realistic: Make sure that you will be able to complete your goal. Don’t take on more than you can handle which may result in overwhelming yourself and giving up.
  5. Time-bound: Set an end date to achieve your goal and consider setting up check points along the way. For example, after attending classes for a year, check to see how many credits you have completed. Are you well on your way or you need to adjust your goal and add an extra semester? That’s okay! In the end, setting a manageable timeline will help you stay motivated and on track.

Don’t let your goals paralyze you, stay flexible, and don’t stress if life interferes and you need to make alterations along the way. Stick to the S.M.A.R.T. approach that will guide you down the road to success! To help develop your goal, click on this S.M.A.R.T. goal questionnaire. If you are more of an auditory learner, click here, for a well-developed YouTube video that explains and outlines the S.M.A.R.T. process.