Drumming up the motivation to study is one of the biggest daily struggles for most students. 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 the 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. The truth is, when it comes to studying, you can’t 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.
We’ve put together 8 easy but effective tips that will help if you’re struggling to get motivated to study.
1. Acknowledge Your Lack of Motivation
While the lack of motivation 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 the 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. Understanding the obstacles and frustrations that keep you from studying along with your long-term goals will help you identify the right solutions to staying motivated.
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.
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 goals
If you’ve read our other study tips and tricks, you’ve probably heard us say this more than once but setting S.M.A.R.T goals for yourself is one of the easiest ways to increase your motivation. 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!
Pro tip: Post your goals where you will see them every day. It’s a great way to stay mindful of them and your progress. I always made myself a sign to hang on the shelf above my desk with my goal GPA for the semester. That way I had a physical reminder to look at every day, and I also got to craft something fun!
“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” — Zig Ziglar
4. Create your perfect study space
It is amazing what the environment around you can do for 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 the distractions.
If your study space is your room, pick up a little! 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’ve gotten started. 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
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? Put on something you know pumps you up and let it fuel your mindset before you start your study session. I like to listen to ACDC “Back In Black” or Walk Off the Earth “Rule The World” before switching to my favorite focus playlist.
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 can actually help you to feel motivated to complete whatever tasks you’ve got on your to-do list. Try starting with 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.
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
This may sound strange, but 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!
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