If you are reading this, you are probably low on motivation. You want to change yourself and prevent yourself from being a serial procrastinator. But how does a procrastinator get the motivation to study? What are the factors that affected your motivation in the first place? Today we will take a deep dive into how motivation works and how to get the motivation to study even when you are down.
Motivation, by definition, is the initial trigger of starting a task. It is the intrinsic driving force that gets you going. We all know we have to work hard to find success in our lives. So then why don’t we all take action? After reading this article, you will find some short and long fixes about boosting your motivation any time anywhere.
How does motivation work?
We all think motivation is something we need to have before starting a task. But it is actually the opposite. Motivation is something that we get overtime after doing a task for a considerable amount of time. You only feel empowered to do a job when you have done it enough.
Here are the four pillars of motivation:
Consequence: Consequences drive motivation. Every action we take in our lives has a purpose. If the result of a task is something we admire or something we desire, you will definitely find the motivation to do the job.
Competence: If you don’t have the competence of a particular task, you will feel demotivated after a specific time. Human beings don’t like tasks that are too hard or too easy for them. They want a little bit of challenge, which gets them motivated.
Choice: Human beings crave freedom; they always have. The feeling of empowerment comes from being able to make choices for oneself. We don’t like studying because we think it is something we “have to ” do but not something we “get to” do. When you perceive choice, you perceive motivation.
Community: If you are in a community where all your friends are nerds, you are likely to be one too. You will be motivated to become a nerd. Society gives us a feeling of acceptance that we think we need.
You can remember the four pillars of Motivation by 4C’s:
Now you know how motivation works; here are some of the short and long-term fixes for getting the motivation to study.
Six tips to get the motivation to study ( Short term)
If you are anything like me, your desk is a mess, and you would not like to sit on that. Nobody is motivated to study in a decluttered or messy environment. Clean up the desk.
Arrange the desk in such a way that everything you need is within your reach.
Make a rule for yourself: “Whenever You leave the desk, clean the desk.” If you can stick to this rule, you will never have a messy desk.
Cleaning your desk is helpful because every time you sit down to study, the first thing you have to do is removing the mess. If the initial task is taken care of, you are less likely to procrastinate.
So many times, we sit at our desks to study and can’t find the exact topic to study. We don’t know which subject to review. So we keep on thinking about it sitting at your desk.
This is not only a huge waste of time but also a cue for procrastination. You think for a long time and then end up with the decision of “I will study from tomorrow.” How many times has this happened? I am guessing more than a dozen.
Plan your day. Before going to sleep, make a study schedule. You can also use your Sundays to plan the whole week (This is highly recommended)
Focus on only studying
When you are struggling to get the motivation to study, keep your to-do list away. One of the things we constantly do is, look for others things to do by procrastinating on studies. Whenever you have a pile of lessons to complete, ask yourself, “Am I doing this current task to avoid the most important task(studying) ?” Most often, the answer would be yes.
If you are low on motivation, try to channel yourself in only one direction, to study. Do not try to focus on more than one thing. You will be easily distracted.
Use the 5-minute rule:
This rule is one of the best for avoiding procrastination. This rule is a game-changer.
We only need the motivation to give us the initial trigger. If you can start a task, you enter the momentum and tend to remain in motion. Tell yourself that you are only going to study for 15 minutes. (Improvising the 5-minute rule )You will see that after 15 minutes, you will not feel so much friction for studying. It will become much easier, and you will feel motivated.
Try a new place and new time
Our mind loves the idea of change. Sometimes doing the same thing at the same time at the same place becomes monotonous. Maybe your mind likes a change. Give your mind the change.
Don’t study in your room. Instead, go to a library or a cafe. If going to different places is not possible, try changing the location of your study desk. For example, move it near a window to get the fresh air while studying. You can also try studying at a different time than you already do. Whatever you do bring change.
Making a change will relieve your brain from the monotony and motivate you to study in your new location & time
Try to make your study enjoyable.
We all talk about making our study interesting for increasing motivation. The best way to make your study enjoyable is by changing your study style.
- Make flashcards (digital or manual- Using Anki is highly recommended)
- Share the deck with all of your friends
- Now practice flashcards with your friends and see how much each of you can score.
You can do this while hanging out with your friends. Studying and hanging out will surely make it interesting for you.
Tip#2 : Gamification:
If you are a person who has no friends ( I hope that’s not the case) or your friends are unwilling to study in a hangout, you can try to gamify your studies. One of the best ways to gamify your lessons is using “Quizlet.”
Quizlet is a flashcard app that can do more than make flashcards. It can make some tests, matching games, gravitational games, and more. So give it a shot; maybe you will like it.
Tip#3: Mind mapping
You can also try making mind maps. Mind mapping makes studying and comprehension easier. In addition, it will help you to find a connection between different topics.
Changing your study style can motivate you a lot because it will create a new curiosity. It will also remove the monotony of cramming and memorization.
Four tips to get the motivation to study ( Long term)
Know your goals
Clarity is an essential element in life but is so often overlooked. But sometimes, we have no idea what we are doing with our lives and why we are doing so.
If we don’t have a clear idea about our actions, we are less likely to feel motivated about it. When it comes to studies, you need to have a clear goal or reason. This reason or goal will be your driving force.
It will act as an inspiration or a motivator. But if you are only studying because your best friend is doing it, you are very likely to be demotivated when there is no one around.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Why should I be sincere about my studies now?
- If I study now, will it be good for me in the long run?
- How will it be good?
- What are the consequences if I don’t learn right now?
These questions will help you find clarity and motivation to move further in your studies every day.
Remind yourself about your goals
Your goals could be anything. Being a topper, passing the test with an A, or only passing the test, any one of these can be your goals. But to achieve any of them, you need to study to some extent. Remind yourself about your goals and create anxiety within yourself.
Sometimes fear could be your best motivation. So put up sticky notes on your desk, fridge, and walls about the bad things that could happen if you don’t get an A this semester. (OR whatever goal you have). Now and then, call your nerdy friends who are likely to finish their syllabus way before you.
Remember, motivation can be created by reward or fear. If it doesn’t work by rewards, threaten yourself of the consequences.
Be Pro-active :
We tend to blame our failures on other people, the environment, and situations. This tendency makes us feel demotivated because we think that we have no control over our lives. As a result, our hard work might go in vain. But being pro-active states the opposite.
You are in control of your life and its failures and success. When students are told that they can actively influence their life’s outcome, they are far more likely to work hard. In addition, they are far more likely to get the motivation to study.
Appreciate what you do
Appreciation is a reward that we expect someone else will provide us. But you can appreciate yourself. Appreciating yourself will give you a boost in confidence.
Remember, you are not going to make good friends in every phase of your life. There will be times when there will be no one to appreciate you. But you are your own best critic.
Pat yourself on the back about the effort you have put into any task, homework, assignment. Celebrate even the most minor academic success, a good grade, a 10/10, a close pass score, everything.
This habit will keep you motivated to study and to pursue improvement in the long run. You will feel less tired and will be intrigued about each effort you pull off.
Motivation is not a prerequisite to studying but a reward that comes after putting your efforts into the study. For example, if you force yourself to study for seven days, you will no longer need the motivation to study on the 8th day. This is how the cycle of motivation works.
We have mentioned short-term and long-term approaches that will help initiate any task starting from studying to making assignments. Let us revisit the fixes:
Short term approach:
- Plan ahead
- Stop multitasking
- Use the 5-minute rule
- Try new place + new time
- Try to make your study more interesting
Long term approach:
- Know your goals
- Remind yourself of the goals and their consequence
- Be pro-active (You are in charge)
- Appreciate the little efforts of yourself.
Following these simple techniques will help students get the motivation to study and stop procrastinating on their tasks. I hope this helps. Best of luck!