How to motivate ourselves to study?
January 28th, 2022 News & Tips
Staying focused is essential for success in your studies. However, even the most motivated of us can experience slumps in our energy levels. Motivation doesn’t come naturally all the time. When a drop in interest hits, it can be hard to push yourself to go to class, finish your assignments, or revise for exams. Having a few tactics to restore your concentration and improve your drive could see you maintaining focus on your studies. Here, we look at some of the most effective strategies for sustaining motivation and getting back on track when you feel like you’re losing focus.
1. Recall your purpose
Reminding yourself of why you’re studying can be an excellent way to restore your motivation. Consider why you chose your course in the first place, and take a step back and review your long-term goals and what you intend to achieve as a result of your studies. Write the reasons down on a piece of paper and pin them up on the wall. Whether it’s getting good marks, learning about a field, or becoming qualified for a chosen career pathway, your goals can drive you to persist in your academic work.
It’s also useful to consider the type of motivation behind your goals. For example, you might be more easily driven by positive motivations like learning for its own sake or achieving good grades so you can eventually secure a good job. Also, focus on what you like about each course and subject, whether it’s the research, writing, or sharing ideas with other students. This can help you stay engaged.
2. Take the first step
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you have a lot of reading, assignments, or exam preparation to do. When you become overwhelmed, you find it hard to know where to start and the temptation to procrastinate can present itself. In this case, take a small first step; act first and the energy to keep going will spark itself as you take action. Don’t worry about feeling ready or motivated enough to finish everything in one sitting. Instead, focus on completing each incremental step, starting with the first one.
3. Break tasks into manageable chunks
Along with taking that first small step, make sure you split tasks into manageable pieces. By dividing up a task, large or small, into smaller chunks, you’ll be less likely to feel swamped and unmotivated. For example, with an essay, break it down into the research, writing, and editing stages. You can then further divide each stage into smaller tasks, like researching on specific topics. From there, you can tackle each step one at a time rather than feeling overwhelmed and tempted to put it off.
Another way to break down tasks is by using the Pomodoro Technique. This involves simply dividing up tasks into, say, 15-minute or 25-minute intervals. This shorter time span prevents you from feeling intimidated by the task and losing motivation. It lets you achieve a more powerful focus. In between the intervals you can get up and have five-minute breaks during which you can do whatever you want. Even short breaks and small rewards can have a positive impact on your motivation levels.
4. Keep to a study schedule
For some students, keeping to a study schedule or routine allows them to stay motivated. With a schedule, you’ll set up specific study times across days, weeks, and/or months. This can help you stay focused on the bigger picture and help you sustain your focus throughout the entire academic year. Use a digital or paper-based calendar and assign study blocks of time into your days. This creates a habit, allowing for consistency and building an association between certain times of day with studying into your day.
5. Join a study group
Study groups are great ways to stay motivated. You can create one with your friends or by joining an established study group. You’ll be able to chat with people who have similar goals and travel on your academic journey together. It’s a good idea to have study groups with people who are doing the same courses as you so you can share ideas and motivate each other to meet deadlines throughout the academic year. If you don’t know where to find a study group, start with online platforms like MoocLab or GoConqr, or reach out to your academic institution for more information about the online groups they might have.
6. Create a study space
Create your ideal study space at home. Your study environment should be clean, quiet, organised, and comfortable. Remove any distractions like game consoles and tablets, and ensure you have comfortable seating. Switching it up by studying at the library once in a while can also help you keep motivated. Some people prefer not to study in a completely silent environment. In this case, playing relaxing background music or nature sounds, or heading out to the local cafe could help. Turning off your phone and using website-blocking extensions for your browser are other ways to eliminate distractions and make the most of your study periods.
Most if not all of us probably need a little extra help when it comes to maintaining the motivation to study. Throughout the academic year, you’ll likely be reviewing materials regularly, completing assignments, and revising for exams. Avoiding eleventh-hour sessions and sustaining a regular study pace is crucial for doing well and making the most of your learning experience. From reviewing exactly why you’re studying to creating a better study setup and routine, these strategies should help generate momentum, boost your motivation, and keep you powering through the whole academic year.
4 Secrets To Never Lose Motivation to Study
Are you losing motivation to study for your exams?
Or you have completely lost the interest to find your motivation to study?
You might be thinking:
Here’s a fact:
Everyone wants to do well in their exams.
But not everyone knows how to excel in their papers.
As it turns out, anyone is actually capable of doing well for exams. In fact, the biggest problem actually lies in finding the motivation, or “reason”, to study.
In this post, you’ll learn the secrets of not losing motivation to study and achieve your academic goals:
Secret 1: Why you can’t find the motivation to study?
Have you ever asked yourself:
“Am I a lazy person?”
Chances are, you answered, “not sure”.
How about the days when you don’t feel like going to an outing you promised to go?
Or, when your mum asked you to do the chores, and you don’t feel like moving at all?
Now picture this again: What if you were given a free delicious dinner if you were to go for the outing?
Or what if your mum gives you $500 if you were to complete the chores?
Now you are feeling energetic and ready to complete those tasks, aren’t you?
Similarly, would you have started studying if there were to be an attractive reward for doing it?
First, let’s understand what laziness is.
It is avoiding doing an activity despite having the capability to complete the task. One of the reasons is the lack of interest in the activity.
So, it is not “something you are born with” and you can do nothing about it.
The key is to find a task that can spark your interest through your strong desire in acquiring something (i.e money, fame, valuable object).
Ok. So I am not lazy, I just need to find the “desire” in doing something that I should be doing, right?
Not so fast.
Turns out, it’s not as easy as we think.
Don’t worry, I will make this as simple to understand as possible.
Motivation is the feeling of desire to want something or to avoid something. It the goal you are striving towards and also an internal aspect as the “wants” originated from yourself.
Simply put, you need to ask yourself these questions:
There are currently many theories surrounding the topic of “Motivation”.
Yet, there is only one theory that I will be covering today and I believe it is enough to help you find your drive.
b) Intrinsic & Extrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation is to do a task for the motive of enjoyment and satisfaction rather than any external value.
Try to recall if this has happened to you:
Have you ever forced yourself to study because your parents may punish you if you didn’t?
Your parents likely thought that you are motivated to study, so they will leave you alone.
But have you realized that you stopped studying when your parents are no longer watching you? Perhaps you even took a sneaky break and check out your Social Media updates.
What you experienced was the effects of Extrinsic motivation.
When your parents are momentarily gone, your external “Motivation” is gone, and you no longer feel the need to study so hard.
On the other hand, a child who wants to achieve his ambition will be motivated to study as he or she understands this is part of the process of achieving success.
This is why to find your motivation, you first need to identify your intrinsic reason.
There are many methods to find intrinsic motivation.
Let’s take a look at some of them:
This method can be applied not just on studying, but your long-term goals too.
Before reading on, I want you to put down everything, and close your eyes.
Imagine you are now at the moment in your life, where you have finally achieved your goal. Everyone around is cheering for you, you are happy and proud of yourself.
Now here’s a fun twist.
Now, imagine you have a time machine watch that you can rewind time whenever you like.
At this successful point, visualize yourself going back in time to the point where you just graduated from school with flying colors.
At that moment, you knew that you needed to do well in school so that you have a better chance of achieving your goal. It could be finding a well-paying job that you truly enjoy yourself having.
Do you feel the urge and drive to start studying already?
Here’s what happens:
Do you know when you are thinking about your favorite meal or unboxing your new present, your brain creates dopamine (known as the feel-good neurotransmitter)?
This chemical works when you visualize your success too, and it will also help you move towards it.
When you are imagining yourself in a successful position, your brain is registering it as a happy emotion and starts to release dopamine. The more you think about it, the long-lasting the effect is.
So, whenever you are losing interest to study, close your eyes and use your time machine watch!
Studies have shown that people are usually more sensitive to losses than they are to gains when making decisions.
Enter Loss Aversion.
Assuming that you are in a gamble, with a 50% chance of winning and losing $1000 if you place a bet, which choice would you pick?
Guess what, the majority would choose to avoid entering this gamble.
In this gamble, though the chance is equal in winning or losing, the psychological impact for losses are much powerful as compared to gains.
Now, think about this:
What happens if you were to stop studying and go for the exams?
You definitely know you will fail your exam. But there is much more emotional impact you will face, such as lack of self-confidence, disappointments from your family and yourself.
Now, why would you want to risk and face this awful feeling?
The next time you feel unmotivated to study, think about the loss that you may risk facing. Act on it to improve your chance of success.
In your pursuit of success, you will come across people who try to make you feel undeserving and unworthy.
These negative peers can be your friends, your teachers, or even your family.
Sometimes they may not even know the harm they are causing you. This can be even more dangerous as they will keep doing it.
To rebuild your confidence and self-belief, it is usually best to cut them off.
If not, start talking to them about this issue and make it clear that you cannot accept negative remarks.
Also, don’t be shy to foster a healthier relationship with new friends. They will provide encouragement and help you develop the self-discipline to build motivation.
Have you found yourself giving up on things that you haven’t completed it before?
Truth is, scientists have been trying to break this code for decades.
But, there is one study seemly able to answer this question.
James Clear found that the difficulty of tasks has a great impact on maintaining enthusiasm.
To play tennis with a child, you will find it easy and quickly be bored. If you play against World’s Best tennis player, you will almost instantly give up.
But, if you are playing tennis with someone of the same skill, you will find that you win and lose sometimes.
You are can emerge victorious, only if you try really hard. You start to concentrate so deep that no distractions can pull you away.
Eventually, you are fully engrossed in becoming better and winning the game.
Before you start giving up on your study, check with yourself:
As you begin to see yourself “winning” the obstacles, you will believe in yourself and sustain your drive.
This term is coined by a Japanese inventor named “Sakichi Toyoda”, who is also the founder of the Automobile company, Toyota.
This approach is fairly simple when facing a problem: Keep asking yourself “why” five times and you will eventually get to the root cause.
Of course, you can go on to sixth times and more, but usually, five is enough to understand the problem’s origin.
Let me give you an example.
I have no interest to study for my exams:
In this example, I know I am an introverted person, so I should schedule a private session with the teacher to clarify all my questions. I should then understand the subject better and naturally develop an interest in it.
Pretty cool right?
By drilling down the problem, you will finally understand the root cause and find back your drive to study.
One of the most effective methods of maintaining your energy is to surround yourself with positive people who can keep you in check.
Preferably your partner should have the same goal as you and want to achieve success.
It could be your schoolmates, childhood friends, or even your cousins.
For this to work, you will need to be crystal clear on your goals. Make sure your partner is clear too.
This makes you accountable for your words and will remind you to stay motivated.
By now, your “new found” power should have helped to get back your motive.
Before you do anything, I’ll show you 5 effective methods (that I have used before) to score well for your exams.
Did you know humans have been dealing with procrastination way before the Internet?
Leonardo da Vinci finished not more than 20 paintings while spending almost 16 years on the famous artwork, Mona Lisa. During those years, he didn’t focus entirely on completing the painting.
Instead, he usually “doodled” in his notebook with inventions and other stuff.
Many studies have been done on the cause of Procrastination, and it has been found that stress is closely related. This usually relates to family, health and school problems.
To fight procrastination, take a step back and readjust your mindset. I have personally found that meditation helps greatly in removing your negative thoughts.
Before studying, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing for 5 to 10 minutes. Your brain may start to talk to you. Just Concentrate.
Once you are ready, your mind will be more focused, lowering your chance to procrastinate. Try it!
According to research, humans’ attention span has greatly decreased in just 15 years.
It was 12 seconds to a whopping 8.25 seconds now!
Fortunately, the Pomodoro technique can help you maintain focus and study efficiently.
For this to work, set a 25 minutes timer on your phone and fully concentrate on your study.
Once the time is up, take a 5 minutes break (walk around the house, drink some water, etc). Then resume study for another 25 minutes with the timer set.
That’s considered 1 Pomodoro (Italian word for tomato-shaped timer).
Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break like 20 – 30 minutes. Rinse and repeat.
During the 25 minutes, your brain will focus at its full capacity as it knows that you will have a break coming soon.
With this method, your brain will be conditioned to focus much better.
Why is Mindmap so useful in helping students to excel in their exams?
Most of us study by taking notes and listing them in bullet and numbered points.
Listing method is useful, but studies have shown the human brain absorbs visual information better.
In fact, our brain can process images about 60,000 times quicker than text!
If so, why aren’t we using visual guides to help us understand our notes faster and better?
Go grab your colored pens, markers and an A4-sized paper!
Generally, you want to write your main topic of study (eg. human body biology) at the center of your paper.
In landscape orientation, use different colored markers and start “branching” out important parts of this topic and subtopics (eg. digestive system, nervous system, etc).
Now this is the time to doodle!
Draw simple diagrams or sketches beside the branches to further help in your understanding of your notes, like this:
You can create mind maps for your other topics or even subjects, try it!
Have you faced this scenario, when you just couldn’t understand your study notes even if you tried reading it a thousand times?
If you have, joining a tutoring class may help.
In a study done by Eastern Kentucky University, students who participated fully in tutoring service had higher grade-point-average (GPA) than those who did not take part.
You can start by Google searching “tutor near me” or “math tutor” to display a list of tutoring classes. Be sure to inquire about the fees and feedback from other students.
An example would be this tutor service in Singapore.
Having a tutoring group helps greatly as you will be guided by a highly-certified teacher.
The group is smaller, which means more time and opportunity for you to consult the teacher.
Since tutoring class has a schedule to attend, you will not risk losing interest as your study session will become a routine.
Have you been told to find your usual studying place (your bedroom for instances) so as to improve your study session?
Forget the old rules.
In one experiment, psychologists discovered students who studied a list of words in two different rooms – one windowless, and the other modern with outside view – did much better on a test than students who studied the words in the same room.
This experiment’s results were the same for a variety of topics.
What happens is that your brain receives not just information from your notes, but also the background sensation including the smell, noise, colors, brightness, and more.
And this helps to slow down forgetting.
To start, pick two places that have a proper facility to study (eg. places with tables, chairs, and proper lighting).
Start your studying session with each day at a different place you picked.
You can even switch up your environment by sticking motivational quotes and posters on the walls at these places.
By spicing up your study places, your brain will be better stimulated which can help in improving your absorption of information.
Do these methods work? Surely.
But consider this:
The source for motivation actually comes from your desire to succeed. The more you want to score well for your exam, the more you believe you can achieve it. With this mindset, it’s natural that your desire level will be “never-dying”.
Are you stuck with your assignments when the deadline is drawing near but not finding enough motivation to study?
Is this something new or do you usually face the same thing? Do the long pages of the study book and chapters seem monotonous?
Well, it is nothing heinous, but almost every student faces it now or then. That’s why we are here to help.
We are here to provide study tips for students like you who find it difficult to gaze at the book for long hours. Read on to find some effective tips that work and help you maintain a balanced study life.
Before we move forward with the tips, its significant to address some major issues that lead to demotivation while studying.
Using incorrect studying style
Being inattentive with your studies and waiting for the exams to knock at the door so that you can turn the pages, is a blunder! Things cant get any worse if you follow this pattern. Instead of finding interest, you will start getting demotivated, frustrated which might even affect your health.
Lack of Future Goals
Yes, its always mandatory to live tout present time to the fullest! Theres no second opinion to it. But, theres a fine gap between enjoying your present and being unserious about your future. You can have some future goals and still enjoy the present time with your family or friends to a great extent. But a lack of goal wont take you anywhere and youd end up finding no interest in studies.
All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy!
Heard of this line right? Yes, thats true to words. Always studying with extracurricular activities involved, gets you in a dull life. But if you are balancing between studies, games, crafts, and anything productive you will find life better. Focus on studies is vital, so is recreation.
Even after studying hard, the results are not up to the mark. This is something that can demotivate you. You need to analyze whats going wrong and what are the key areas of improvement. Thats why besides hard work you need smart work too.
The content below contains 10 smart tips to motivate yourself to study and maintain a healthy balance between study and personal life.
Here go some significant tips that might help you get motivation while studying for long hours or while developing a sense of monotony.
Before anything, try understanding the way you study. Are you someone who reads pages after pages to memorize the notes? Or do you belong to that category where students, after going through a specific portion, jot it down in papers? With due respect to both the studying styles, the second method works best! Taking down notes after every chapter is an engaging way to keep up your interest in the subject. This way there are fewer chances of you being demotivated.
You have a friend who completes her assignments days back that you do. She even is a first learner and finishes a chapter before its taught in class. That’s an awesome feature. On the other hand, you love to take it slow but steady. Do you compare yourself to that of your friend in terms of ability? If so, stop that immediately. These unhealthy competitions led you nowhere but to utter frustration. You are good the way you are! As long as you are studying and turning up for the exams, as long as you are completing your assignments and submitting them, its good to go! The quality of your work matters, not the tenure.
Very few in this world are endowed with superb multitasking ability. But when it comes to studies, you should focus on that part only. Other engagements during that time can shift your focus and you might end up catching yourself in a pool of notes later. That is when the demotivation will hit you hard. Therefore, focusing on the current work while studying is vital than engaging yourself in simultaneous activities.
We often don’t take it seriously, but healthy communication provides means to get out of a continuous problem. Like I remember a few years ago, while at college I was unable to cope up with the vast syllabus and found it disgusting at times. Then one day, I had clear communication with my mother regarding the same. You won’t believe it, from the moment itself, I started feeling better. When you convey your thoughts to your close ones, the load gets lighter and you can feel better.
Despite the difficult times and your disdain, you must not run away from the situation. Doing so will only bring trouble to yourself. You will find all the load piled up and coming towards you. To avoid such a fiasco, its better to face the situation. Gently push yourself to the pending assignments and get those done. Its now or never!
The finest way to draw study motivation is a proper schedule. When you have a timetable and strict schedule to follow, things start getting easier. You can manage your personal life, family time, and study smoothly. The chances of getting bored during long hours eventually lessens. A routine is significant to help the brain perform in a known structure, and thus you stay motivated all along.
How to study for long hours? Its an age-old question from students who find it difficult coping up with the textbook pressure. Well, an energized and effective study requires gaps in between. Surely, not now and then but after a specific time. Try utilizing the breaks in something pleasing. Like, you can tune in to your favorite soft music and enjoy a good time. Or, you can spend some time with your pet who is always set to put a smile on your face. Make sure to return from the break with a happy mind that helps you to focus on your studies again.
The contribution of physical exercises to physical and mental well-being is undeniable. Moreover, it helps you gain concentration and focus more on any work that you are doing. Whats most important is that proper blood flow to your brain. So, indulge yourself in anything that makes this thing smoother. Try going for a morning walk every morning to start your day afresh. If you are running short of time for physical exercise or yoga due to a tough schedule, no worries! Try completing them amidst the breaks in your study schedule. Exercise, have some rest, and sit back to study! Best way to keep yourself motivated during long and stressful hours.
Do you know who is your biggest competitor? Its You! Yes, always set a healthy competition with yourself to stay energized during the study hours. Got 50 in your previous test? Work hard to score 70 this time! Submitted your assignment at the eleventh hour last time? Try submitting at least three days before the deadline. Have a family get-together this evening? Try to finish a particular chapter by the afternoon. This is how you stay focused on your studies without being demotivated. Im not telling you to rush in everything but a healthy competition with your inner self is effective to help you throughout!
In this digital era, the significance of social media is not unknown to anyone. Rather it is a form of recreation amidst the hectic days and busy schedules. However, they are responsible for creating mental pressure too. If youd like to listen to some effective study tips for exams, remove yourself from social media completely during the exam tenure. It will help you focus on whats important at the moment and not the random stuff you come across while scrolling through Facebook!
So you see these were just a few tips regarding study motivation to guide you in the right direction. However, the final call will always be yours! And it depends on you how you choose to see your problems. The better you face them and the better you live!
It can be overwhelming because together with the studying can come a wave of questions where you doubt yourself on a personal level with thoughts such as:
'Do I even understand these readings?'… 'Am I going to be able to write something interesting and relevant?'… 'Am I going to do the right thing?'… 'Am I good enough to do this?'… 'Others seem to be more on top of things than I am'… 'What if I do badly?'
These thoughts are subtle but can lead to difficult feelings that interfere with motivation. So to generate that motivation you could try some of the following:
It may be helpful to write these feelings or thoughts down and then leave these on the side so you can then study.
Avoiding work can make you feel deflated. This is emotionally more draining than having to go through the frustration of reading for your paper.
Try to become aware of the habit and gently make yourself to go back to the task sooner rather than later.
What will make it easier for you to work? We are all prone to pleasant experiences and it is natural that we tend to avoid uncomfortable, dry chores and duties. So try to make your study experience as interesting as possible.
Don't put yourself down by comparing yourself to others.
Make yourself sit down and work even if this is for just 20 minutes. See starting as a parallel process like a plane on a runway. You may start slow but you will still take off!
Prioritise the most important tasks and avoid multitasking.
This can help you engage with the process and identify the important tasks. Communication / externalisation can help you to commit with immediate goals and you could also find out others points of view and tips.
Ask yourself 'how much can I achieve in the next 2 hours?' instead of 'Can I complete all tasks?' In this way you do not get as easily overwhelmed by the volume of study you need to do.
Think about the hiking of Mountain Kilimanjaro; it is not easy and can even be uncomfortable but the pleasure comes when you begin to see the view from height, feel the fresh air and when you reach the destination you get a sense of achievement and satisfaction. Focus on the outcome and not the struggle to get there!
Zoi Kontakou, Counselling Psychologist, UCL Student Psychological Services
- Remember your 'why'
- Set clear goals.
- Celebrate small study goals.
- Set up a study plan.
- Avoid procrastination.
- Create an encouraging study space.
- Fake it till you make it.
- Get lost in music.
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