How to Get Motivated to Study – Proven Tips That Actually Work

How to Get Motivated to Study in 12 Steps:

  1. Acknowledge your lack of motivation
  2. Set a schedule
  3. Set attainable goals
  4. Create a perfect study space
  5. Get to it!
  6. Consider listening to music while you study
  7. Give yourself a pep talk
  8. Reward yourself
  9. Keep a study journal
  10. Go to the library
  11. Focus on your purpose
  12. Break up your tasks

When it comes to schoolwork, motivation can be hard to come by. It’s a regular daily struggle for many students, especially when they have so many tasks to complete on any given day. We’ve put together 12 effective and time-tested tips that will help you get motivated to study.

A student taking notes off his laptop with overlay text: "Make Things Happen."

Why Is It Important To Find the Motivation To Study?

Packing in classes, homework assignments, and extracurricular activities into one day can leave you feeling exhausted and in no frame of mind to study. Adding to physical exhaustion are the underlying doubts and uncertainties that creep into our subconscious mind about our capabilities and limitations. It seems so much easier to just avoid the task of studying instead of looking for ways to motivate yourself to study. However, when it comes to studying, you just cannot afford to procrastinate indefinitely.

You think you’ll give yourself one more day to get started. After all, tomorrow you’re sure to be in a better frame of mind to get down to it and start studying. Many tomorrows later, you still haven’t started. Now you’re pressed for time and even more de-motivated than before.

Finding your motivation to study is central to doing well in school. It can have a direct impact on your test scores, homework, participation in class, and overall GPA.

10 Ways To Be Motivated To Study

1. Acknowledge Your Lack of Motivation to Study

While the lack of motivation to study (or complete other tasks) is a universal experience, the reasons differ significantly from one person to another. What is it that keeps you feeling unmotivated to study?

It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact reason but writing your thoughts and feelings down can help. It’s amazing how much insight you can get when you put your thoughts down on paper.

Write down the thoughts that go through your mind and keep you from studying. Also, write down your loan-term goals. Why are you studying and what do you hope to achieve with your degree?

Do this for a few days and then go back and read through what you’ve written. This will help you to better understand the obstacles and frustrations that keep you from studying. It will also help you get clearer on your long-term goals. Having a better understanding of these two aspects will help you identify more effective ways to motivate yourself to study.

2. Set A Schedule and Plan That Aligns With Your Studying Style

Everyone has their own studying style.

Some students do better in study groups because there’s more accountability. Others find study groups distracting and tend to stay more focused when studying alone.

Some prefer to finish studying the easier topics first and then deal with the more challenging topics. Others prefer to get the difficult topics over and done with at the start and then move on to the easier topics.

There’s no right or wrong way to study. Once you recognize your studying style, you’ll find it easier to set a schedule that works for you and find the motivation to study.

Setting a study schedule that aligns with your studying style is a great way to overcome procrastination and get on with the task ahead. By setting aside a certain amount of time, you will not only ensure that you have enough time to complete your assignments and study for your exams, but you’ll also begin to make studying a normal part of your daily routine.

3. Set Attainable Goals

If you’ve read our other study tips and tricks, you’ve probably heard us say this more than once  – setting S.M.A.R.T goals for yourself is one of the easiest ways to increase your motivation to study.

Setting both long- and short-term goals will help you to keep the end in sight. Just be sure that your goals are both realistic and challenging. Make sure you’re meeting and getting the full benefit of them!

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” — Zig Ziglar

Pro tip: Post your goals where you will see them every day. It’s a great way to stay mindful of them and track your progress. Being able to see the progress you’re making is a surefire way to motivate yourself to keep studying.

I’ve always made a decorative, personalized sign with my goal GPA for the semester that I hang on the shelf above my desk. That way I had a physical reminder to look at every day, and I also got to craft something fun!

4. Create Your Perfect Study Space

It is amazing how the environment around you can affect your mental state. Organizing your desk so that everything you need is within reach is a great way to get a head start on your study session. It’s equally important to clear unwanted items away from your desk. There’s nothing like a minimalistic desk to minimize distractions and get motivated to study.

If your study space is your room, pick up a little! A disorganized room can be a big distraction. And the act of picking up your daily clutter (we all have at least a little) will help you to declutter your mind.

5. Just DO it!

The hardest part of pretty much anything is starting. But no matter how much you hate math or history, you’ll find it’s really not so bad once you get started. And, for many, once they force themselves to study, they’ll often find that the motivation to study comes naturally just a few minutes later.

You’ve set your schedule. You know what time you’re supposed to start. A few minutes before your scheduled time starts, get yourself ready. Eat something if you’re hungry. Keep a bottle of water handy. Take a bathroom break if you want to. Get it all done before study time starts so you don’t have an excuse to procrastinate.

Don’t forget to switch off your phone too. If you prefer to keep your phone on silent rather than switch it off, make sure it’s not near enough to distract you every time a message or notification comes through. Leave it under your pillow or in another room.

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed about the looming study time, set yourself a goal of studying for a solid 15-20 minutes without a break. Afterward, see how you feel when the time is up. Chances are, you’ll be able to commit to another 15-20 minutes.

6. Pump Up the Jam With Your Favorite Music

A pretty common way to get motivated for the gym is to listen to music that motivates you. But, did you know that it works the same way for studying? That’s true, listening to music you enjoy is one of the many ways to motivate yourself to study. It works by fueling your mindset before you start your study session.

Take a look at our post on how music (found on Spotify) can aid your study session for more awesome study jams!

7. Give Yourself a Pep-Talk

This may make you feel silly at first but looking in a mirror and talking yourself up is a great way to get motivated to study. It can encourage you to complete whatever tasks you’ve got on your to-do list.

Start by telling yourself about your goal for this study session. Then, work your way up to your long-term goals. While you’re at it, throw in some things that you think are great about yourself like your amazing taste in sneakers or your killer baking skills. There’s nothing better than a confidence boost from a compliment to help you get into the right headspace.

“The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.” — Jonas Salk

8. Reward Yourself

Each time you check off one of your study goals or make a breakthrough on a tough subject, reward yourself! Get yourself anything from a doughnut to a sweet new longboard depending on the goal. A dark purple icon with a medal icon.

It can be disheartening when you work really hard on something and feel like no one knows or appreciates all of the hard work you’re doing. Rewarding yourself with a dinner out or a trip to the five-dollar movie bin can be a great way to show yourself some love.

9. Write Down How You Feel After

You know how great you feel when you hit a big goal or finally finish that big paper? Write down how good you feel after completing a tough task. It’s great motivation the next time you have trouble starting. Keep a notebook in your backpack and write down your triumphs. That way, each time you need a little extra push, you’ve got a whole book full of success!

Looking back on your successful endeavors can be a great way to get motivated to study.

10. Head to the Library

Distractions can be difficult to ignore. If you find you’re regularly spacing out, your roommate is constantly interrupting you, or you find it a bit too easy to jump on Reddit or Facebook, try heading to the library instead. You won’t be distracted by loud roommates, TikTok, or food while you’re amongst the books, and you could find the space a great motivator for your studies.

11. Focus on Your Purpose

You’re in college for a reason – what is it? You could find your motivation to study within this purpose. You have goals you want to achieve. By reviewing those long and short term goals, you can find the inspiration – and the motivation – you need to finally hit the books. Consider why the class or major called to you and how a good grade will help you achieve those aspirations.

12. Break Up Your Tasks

Sometimes, motivation to study can be hard to come by when you have a monumental task in front of you. One tactic that can be useful in studying is breaking up your tasks into smaller bite-sized jobs. You’ll feel accomplished after completing one of the tasks on your to-do list, and you can ride that wave to keep tackling the bite-sized tasks. This approach to responsibilities can also work well for essays, homework, housework, and even in your career.

Finding the motivation to study can feel like an impossible task when you’re exhausted from a day of classes, homework, and other responsibilities. However, by utilizing the 12 tips above, you can discover the inspiration you need to hit the books.

Good grades can open the doors to plenty of opportunities for college students, including scholarships. Many awards require students to earn top grades to be eligible. This can be a great motivation to study! If you want to discover some scholarships that are based on merit, start with our Scholarship Search Tool today.

5 thoughts on “How to Get Motivated to Study – Proven Tips That Actually Work”

  1. amanda says:

    Thanks a lot

  2. David says:

    Great tips! One of the most basic things that we need to understand is that each and every child has a different learning capacity and different learning style. Some child might grasp things quickly, while others may take time. In high school, more studying techniques are there which can help students to score well in exams. You have shared a good resource to get motivated to study.

  3. Sharon says:


  4. Gavin Basham says:

    My dad is going to be taking my electronics away and I was wondering should I be mad at him for taking my electronics? I’m having a hard time with studying.

    1. Allison Wignall says:

      Hey Gavin! Sometimes it helps to take away tempting distractions while trying to study. If you’re like me and need some breaks to refresh your mind while studying, try working for twenty minutes, then taking a ten minute break, then studying twenty again, and another ten minute break after that. It’s a good way to keep studying from getting too overwhelming. Good luck!

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