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Drawn by Kate Bowen

Mr Magnetic: Unmotivated Anon

Dear Mr. Magnetic, 

A new year is upon us and I find myself reflecting on the events of the past year and my life. It hasn’t been a bad life, and I’ve had a life-changing year, involving meeting new people and challenges here in Reading. But, with every New Year comes some typical regret, particularly with my work and my health. I want to start going to the gym and improving my diet; it has definitely become more apparent that I need to after my Christmas binge. The holidays have also seen my assignments slump to a halt.  

I’ve been to the gym a couple of times and bought myself gym equipment, but I’ve never achieved the dedication that’s required to keep going and it all gathers dust. Along with that, I want to enter this year with far better organisation and a renewed work ethic. Sometimes, I have missed deadlines and put my social life ahead of my achievement. Can you give me any advice on how to go about making changes to myself and keeping up motivation? 

 Yours Sincerely, 

New Year, Same Anon 


Dear, New Year, Same Anon,

Trying to improve your bad habits is noble thing. However, bear in mind that you and only another several million people are currently thinking the same thing because of the time of year. Words can sound appealing, but it’s the doing and trying that make the real difference. Many people do try and fail, so if you’re serious about making a change, you need to separate yourself from the rest of the herd. First of all, create targets. Write down everything you want to achieve over the next month, so that you can review all of the progress you’ve made and choose whether to take it up or down a notch. For the final month have a goal in place and make sure you’re where you want to be in the next year. But, the most vital thing in all of this is that you find balance by making it a challenge, yet at the same time limit your expectations. No one gets results in one night, so don’t let it ruin your confidence if it’s taking longer than you expected. Finding the discipline to do it is the hardest hurdle because these are personal goals and only you can take responsibility for them. This applies to both of your scenarios, it will be the fuel you use to achieve your aspirations. If you want to make some progress at the gym, bring a partner to help you along the way and make it a more social activity. Remember part of the battle is your diet, too. Find some healthy alternatives for your regular meals and create a food diary to make yourself more aware of what you’re taking in. It’s also surprising how calorific alcoholic drinks are, so keep checks on nights out. Be sure to keep up your morale as you go along, setting up a reward system and allowing for some controlled cheats.

As for your work situation, the key is to organise it as it comes. Complete the bulk of your assignments the week they’re set and be sure to keep everything tidy by filing away all of your work in folders. Time management is the most vital, complete work early and arrive to lectures early. If you have no work to do then you’re not looking hard enough because preparation is the other half of the battle.

Good luck with your progress,


Mr. Magnetic

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