Let’s say that your grades are miserable. You realized that you screwed up. You’re at a loss for what to do. You need a recovery strategy.
Before we examine the strategy itself, here are some principles for recovery that you need to consider:
- It’s hard to make the recovery by yourself. You need a coach to help you through the recovery process.
- Recovery doesn’t work like a light switch. You don’t suddenly turn things around. Recovery comes in small steps.
- Recovery isn’t necessarily steady improvement. You may have set backs. The key is working through these tough moments.
- Recovery doesn’t usually happen unless you are measuring your progress on tests, homework, going to class, time spent in studying, etc.
The first step in the recovery process is accepting the need for change. Complete Exhibit A. When you were filling this out, did you do so with a real sense of regret of what you did to yourself? Or did you do this survey just to do it. If you are ready for a change, your conscience should be a continual nag for you to change.
The next step in your recovery is to develop an action plan for your recovery. Complete Exhibit B to get an indication on the changes you want to make.
Look at the action categories that have the greatest difference between where you are now and where you want to be. These are the actions that you need to focus on.
The third step in the recovery process is to win the moments of truth. So far you’ve accepted the need for change; you know what you need to do. Now you have to do it. Moments of truth tend to occur at those times when you are under the most stress.
There is not one answer for these moments of truth. A moment of truth is when you are tempted to revert back to your old ways that got you into trouble. In some cases, you just need to maintain discipline. In other cases, you may need professional help. Here are some general guidelines for handling these situations that may be helpful:
- Remember that you are preparing yourself for the rest of your life. There is almost nothing short term that should divert you away from your future.
- The experience of winning a moment of truth may be the most important thing you learn in college.
- Seek out help. Even someone who just listens to you can be very valuable in winning the moments of truth.
Winning a moment of truth is not something that you do on your own. This is when you need a coach. Here are some guidelines for seeking out a coach.
- Give yourself a stop-loss date. You need to tell yourself if things don’t get better by this date, I’ll seek out help.
- Seek out the right person. Your coach should be someone who knows what you are going through and is genuinely interested in helping you.
- Quit rationalizing that things will get better. Improvements don’t happen on their own. You need to tell yourself that you need help.
- Follow the advice you are given – A good coach can generally help you make the recovery, but you need to follow through on the advice. Don’t just pick and choose among items you are advised to do and do what was easy.
The final step in the recovery is to help others after you have made the recovery. When you help others, you are helping yourself by being a good role model. And you are continuously reminding yourself of how you made the recovery.