Student Life

Skip zero days to accomplish your goals

A few years ago, I was browsing reddit and stumbled upon an interesting concept called “no more zero days” left as a comment on a thread by user ryans01. Applying this concept to my life has changed it tremendously, and has put me on a stronger path to achieving my goals

A zero day is when you do nothing that helps you get one step closer to reaching your goals. Avoiding a zero day could mean doing the smallest action; for example, doing a single push-up before bed even if you’re exhausted. You don’t have to go run a marathon right away––doing one push-up is still better than doing nothing and it can help you in your long term goal. Another example is writing a single sentence for that long essay you’ve been avoiding. You don’t have to go all-out and finish your essay in one day, but at least writing one sentence gets you closer to completing it.

Reaching goals can seem difficult. The trick is to divide them into smaller ones, assigning tasks to achieve them, and setting milestones to track your progress. The reason for this is that goals are much less intimidating when broken down into smaller achievable tasks, as explained in a Twigberry Studio article. This makes it easier to start, and starting sets you on a path to achieving those bigger goals. 

It is also important to write down the goal with a goal date, which increases our chances of sticking to them according to an article on Action for Happiness. The first step is to figure out what your goal is in a trackable way.

Let’s say you want to get fit by summer 2020. How can you write down that goal in a measurable sense? Maybe your goal is to lose 20 pounds in the next four months. Then break it down into smaller goals: lose five pounds per month, then break it down to 1.25 pounds per week. Your goal is no longer to lose 20 pounds, which could seem like an impossible task, but to lose 1.25 pounds every week. Now you have a way to track your progress in terms of milestones and see where you’re at in terms of your bigger goal. 

Finally, set tasks in order to achieve that goal which, if followed correctly, will lead you to your desired outcome. 

What I have found by applying this rule to my life is that sometimes I start off by just doing one small step, and I end up doing a lot more. For example, I start off by doing one push-up, but then I just keep going until I can’t do anymore. Or, I will start off by writing one sentence of my essay, but then the ideas just start flowing and I end up writing a lot more. I have realized that the hardest part is simply starting. Once you get over that initial hurdle, you will find that everything else flows a lot easier. Not only does it get you closer to your goals, but it can also change the way you think. 

After consistently following the ‘no more zero days’ rule for a while, it becomes routine. Doing at least one productive thing per day becomes second nature and a zero day might feel like a day wasted. In essence, this rule can really make you into a more productive person. 

During his TedXTalk, “How to achieve your most ambitious goals,” Stephen Duneier talks about goals being achieved by taking our ambitious dreams and pursuing them by making a marginal adjustment to our routine. The first step is making that decision. He says that when you’re at home clicking through channels or scrolling through social media, make the decision to change your focus. He gives the example of putting down the remote/phone, picking up a book and reading one word: “If you read one word, you’ll read two words, three words, you’ll read a sentence, a paragraph, a page, a chapter, a book. You’ll read 10 books, 30 books, 50 books.” But it all starts with that first decision to change your focus.


Graphic by @sundaeghost


The life and hard times of a Concordia student

Here are some tips on how to become a better version of yourself this semester

Welcome all Concordians, old and new, to the fall semester! As a new academic year kicks off, the campuses are buzzing with students as we swarm the halls and classrooms. Some of us are back to conquer yet another year, and the rest of you are beginning your journey as a Concordian. Either way, after a long summer off from school, we all need some time to mentally prepare and readjust to student life.

I don’t know about you, but even after a few weeks, I’m still having trouble accepting the busy semester ahead. But denial won’t get me anywhere. The semester is here; there is no stopping this train. After five years of experience as a Concordia student—I’m finishing my master’s in environment—the best advice I can give you is to dive in head first.

Now, some of you might be afraid to do this. You may be wondering if you’ll sink or swim. That is a valid question, but my answer is simple.

How can you sink when you’re surrounded by life preservers? If you’re struggling to stay afloat and on top of your academic work, just reach out and grab one. We’re surrounded by so much support, you just have to know where to look.

First thing’s first: Get with the program, literally. We may dread, at least a little bit, the idea of starting another semester, but at the university level, we’re here because we want to be. And if you’re going to do anything, do it right! It’s important to remember we signed up for this life of learning, and we’re so lucky to be in an environment that allows us to grow intellectually, socially and personally.

To take advantage of a full Concordia experience, here are some tips on how to excel as a Concordia student and tap into your inner nerd.

Start by balancing your social and academic lives. You need to be able to do both in order to stay sane. Detach every so often and redirect your energy so you can perform better when you return to  your studies. Try joining a student club or association, attend campus events, or volunteer. These are great opportunities to learn new skills outside of the classroom. Get involved in something you enjoy.

Take care of your physical and mental health. As students, it’s easy to live off of coffee and Timmie’s bagels for extended periods of time. But a healthy body and mind will help you with your studies. Be mindful of what you eat and how much you’re sleeping.

As for dealing with the inevitable roller coaster of emotions, stress and anxiety that come with being a student, know that you’re not alone. We’re all going through the same thing, and what you’re experiencing is normal. You can also check out Concordia’s Counselling and Psychological Services for more tips or if you want to speak with a professional.

But before all else, to excel as a student, you must adopt a student mindset. Get back on track, stop procrastinating and do those readings. Be the best student you can be. Be curious and dare to ask the questions no one is asking. Think outside the box and challenge your professors. Understand that they are people too, and they’re not always right. Be open to other student’s perspectives; you can learn a lot from your peers. And take advantage of the services available to us for help in all areas of student life. If you’re not sure what help you need or where to find it, stop by the Welcome Crew offices on either campus and a student mentor (maybe even me, if I’m on shift) will be happy to help.

Lastly, make the right friends for the right things. Who you hang out with and when is key to being a good student. Form study groups for your classes, and find like-minded people to motivate you through your studies and push you to do better. When studying, embrace your inner Concordia nerd. Remember that sometimes (not always) there needs to be a distinction between the friends you have for your academic life and the people in your social life. Your study friends are your study friends and your Reggies friends are your Reggies friends, but you’ll need both to kill it at Concordia.

Graphic by Wednesday Laplante


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