Not having enough motivation to study can be stressful and lead to poor academic performance. If you’re feeling unmotivated, it’s time for change
Motivation is an essential part of completing any task. From getting your homework done to studying for a big exam, motivation can make or break you. In fact, it’s also important that you’re able to actually maintain this motivation, but it’s not always easy. So, here are some tips to help you stay motivated to studying during tough times.
But first, let’s discover why motivation for studying is important and some of the common reasons why you may lack motivation.
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Why is motivation important when studying?
Undeniably, motivation will help you achieve more. Persons who are motivated are more energized and enthusiastic.
In fact, a motivated person is more likely to have a positive mindset and respond better to stress.
Their confidence levels are higher, they have a stronger desire to do well and impress others.
Luckily, motivation is contagious and will keep you going in difficult times when they are feeling exhausted or discouraged.
Check out this informative guide that teaches you how to work smarter, not harder. You’ll learn unconventional strategies to improve your grade while spending less time studying.
Reasons for lack of motivation for studying
It’s important to be aware of the reasons why you may lack motivation for studying.
These may include:
- Loss/lack of interest in the subject.
- Lack of focus and self-discipline.
- Limited time.
- Lack of self-care.
- Unclear goals and desires.
- Fear of failure.
- Refusal to come out of comfort zone.
- Being satisfied with ‘average.’
- Feeling overwhelmed by stress and pressure.
How to stay motivated to studying?
Staying motivated to studying can be very challenging. Here are some tips to keep you going:
- Discover what drives you
- Change your mindset
- Focus on your goals
- Be patient and persistent
- Let go of your ego
- Manage your energy levels
- Dabble in some positive psychology
- Get positive
- Enjoy the process
- Never be ashamed of your effort or results
- Don’t give up
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” ― Pelé
1. Discover what drives you to stay motivated to studying
Achievement motivation has been long recognized as an important determinant for success.
As such, find something you’re passionate about and make a list of all the things that come to mind when you think about it.
Try to capture everything about it in great detail. Then, read this list before every study session and use it as motivation to get started on your work.
Notably, persons are motivated by different things. Here’s a list of a few common ones.
- Personal growth
Essentially, persons are motivated by the rewards of their success and/or the consequences of their failure.
Tips to determine what drives you
To determine what motivates you, ask yourself the following questions.
- What do you like to do for fun?
- What are your favorite hobbies?
- Do you enjoy working on projects or tasks by yourself or with others?
- Is there a certain type of environment that helps you work better (quiet, busy)?
- How much time can you spend working each day/week before feeling burnt out?
- Does the thought of working make you happy or stressed out?
2. Change your mindset to stay motivated to studying
To stay motivated to studying, reframe your view of the world and of your potential.
If you are telling yourself that you’re not smart enough or talented enough, then guess what? You’re right.
So change your mind about what’s possible for you to achieve.
Start speaking positively. Affirmations are a great start to developing positive self-talk.
A study from Germany showed that believing in your own competency was the single most important factor to success, even in participants with similar intelligence and previous academic performances (Steinmayr et al., 2019).
Tips for changing your mindset
To change your mindset, start with the following:
- Words of affirmation.
- Believe in yourself and your abilities.
- When things get tough, ask: “What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?” And then do that.
- Surround yourself with persons who build you up.
- Ignore the naysayers.
- Remain focused on your goals.
“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” ― Bill Cosby
3. Become goal-oriented to stay motivated to studying
Instead of worrying about how to study or what not to do lest you should fail, have a clear road map that you want to follow and work towards it.
According to research from Harvard University (2010), the average person spends 47% of their day thinking about something other than what they’re doing. And, the wandering mind will make your unhappy.
If you can learn to control your thoughts and direct them in a positive way, it’s impossible not to stay motivated to studying.
Tips for becoming goal oriented
Here are some tips to become more goal oriented:
- Clear up your life by reducing distractions and eliminating toxic people from your life.
- Be accountable to yourself, set goals and take action towards reaching those goals.
- Create a timeline for everything you want to achieve and then work hard on getting it done. This will help you develop the mind of a winner . Don’t just dream about what you want to do, make it happen.
- Take on challenges without fear.
- Accept mistakes as learning opportunities.
4. Stay persistent to stay motivated to studying
It is only with consistency and persistence that you will eventually find your way. People often give up too early because of their fears, doubts, bad advice or lack of self-discipline.
Concentrate more on what’s important to overcome distractions.
Studies show that a need for achievement is positively related to persistence (Wu et al., 2007). So, if you want to become more determined, work on developing a clear picture of what you want to achieve.
Tips for staying persistent
- Prepare well for exams and know what you need to prioritize.
- Don’t waste time with distractions that may harm your studying routine.
- Have a strong support system in place that will push you forward even when it is hard to do so.
- Remember why you are putting yourself through all this stress; make sure the benefits outweigh the concerns about stress.
- Acknowledge that there will be mistakes along the way, but don’t let it derail your plans.
5. Let go of the ego to stay motivated to studying
When you do end up with average grades, stop feeling bad about it, because there’s nothing wrong with that.
The moment you let go of your ego and allow yourself to be okay with the fact that you’re not perfect, you will start taking in constructive criticism much better.
In fact, an unhealthy ego can be exhausting and make you undermine your hard work. So, remember that it’s okay not to be perfect; but to keep reaching for excellence.
According to Hougaard and Carter in their book ‘The Mind of the Leader’ an inflated ego allows you to believe that you’ve found a permanent answer, when in fact, you haven’t.
This is especially true since change is as constant as time. You need to keep learning to evolve.
As such, letting your ego you determine what you believe will allow your past success to damage your future victories.
Tips for letting go of your ego
- Be okay with the fact that you are not perfect.
- Learn to receive constructive criticism without being offended.
- Praise other people instead of seeking validation from them all the time. Successful people are too busy working towards their goals to pay attention to what others think about them.
6. Manage your energy levels to stay motivated to studying
To stay motivated to studying you should understand the concept of energy levels.
This is why a morning workout can be so beneficial. It wakes you up and gets your body going, getting rid of the negative energy that has built up.
Additionally, in order to study for longer hours, you need to understand that it isn’t possible for you to maintain a high level of concentration without taking regular breaks.
In fact, numerous studies have shown that taking regular breaks will help with information retention.
So instead of trying to study for long hours at a time, you should work in short bursts. It will also help if you can take a break and do something fun afterwards.
Plus don’t forget to get enough sleep.
In fact, research of college students shows that the quality, consistency and duration of sleep was associated with higher academic performance (Okano et al., 2019).
Read this article to find out how to improve your quality of sleep: 27 Healthy habits to naturally improve your sleep
Tips for maintaining your energy levels
- Get enough sleep every day.
- Take a break for at least 20 minutes after every 90 minutes of study time. Or, you can try the Pomodoro technique and take a 5 minute break after each 25-minutes of studying.
- Have some fun or relaxing activities lined up so that you can look forward to the break. It will help your brain recharge and stay focused for longer.
- Reward yourself. But, the key here is to make sure that your reward doesn’t get in the way of your working towards bigger goals.
Read also: 19 Easy ways to increase your brain power.
“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.” ― Stephen Hawking
7. Apply positive psychology to stay motivated to studying
Set other goals to be happier, not just those related to grades. Additionally, every time you learn something new or accomplish a task, feel happy about it.
Being satisfied with what you have is important to help you stay motivated to studying and to prevent burnout.
Tips for applying positive psychology in life
- Set smaller achievable goals in your daily life.
- Celebrate the small wins.
- Don’t compare yourself to others; focus on your own improvement.
- Stop thinking that doing better means you would be happier. Happiness is a choice.
8. Get Positive to stay motivated to studying
Generally, people are either positive or negative. Negative people bring everyone down with them, while the positive ones always motivate and inspire others to do better.
Luckily, we can all work on becoming more positive. Don’t underestimate the power of positive thinking.
Tips for staying positive
- Try to find happiness even in difficult times.
- Don’t give in to the negativity around you. Instead look for the positive and find solutions on your own.
- Read articles and books on developing a positive mindset.
- Avoid spending too much time with negative people.
9. Try to enjoy the process to stay motivated to studying
Any goal takes time to achieve, so have patience. It’s not just about being great at studying, but also about enjoying the time you spend studying. Particularly, since you’ll need to spend so much of your time doing it.
I’m sure you’re thinking, is it even possible to enjoy studying?
Well, I’m here to tell you that it is. To enjoy studying, start by determining what you dislike about studying. Is it because you think it’s too difficult or maybe you’re too worried about the outcome?
Then, figure out what your strengths and passions are and find ways to incorporate them into your study routine.
For instance, if you’re competitive, try making study challenges of yourself. If you love public speaking, articulate what you’ve learnt in a speech – even if there’s no audience.
Tips to stop worrying about results
- Focus on the process of studying, not just on the outcome.
- Don’t take shortcuts around the process of studying. It might seem easier but you are cheating yourself out of valuable learning experience.
- Accept that there will be mistakes along the way.
10. Never be ashamed of your efforts or results
To stay motivated to studying, never be ashamed of your efforts and results, even when things don’t go well.
It’s important to not beat yourself up when you fail. Instead, take a deep breath, analyze what went wrong and then try again.
Reach out for help when you need it.
Remember that no one is perfect and that’s okay. Just keep working on your flaws and try to be better.
Tips for never being ashamed of your efforts
- There is no shortcut to achieving a goal.
- Never compare yourself with others. You will always be better at something that someone else and vice versa.
- Stop putting yourself down. Instead of saying that you aren’t good enough , say “I’m on my way there, but I’m working on it.
- Be proud of yourself.
11. Never give up to stay motivated to studying
Yet another cliché, but it is so true. Even if you get a low grade, don’t give up on studying; get back to the drawing board and work harder.
Failure is part of life and will likely teach you some of your most valuable lessons.
There will always be obstacles in your way, just don’t let them stop you from trying.
Personally, I find this quote by William Whewell very inspiring, ” Every failure is a step to success, every detection of what is false directs us towards what is true; every trial exhausts some tempting form of error. Not only so, but scarcely any attempt is entirely a failure…”
Pay attention to those final words…”scarcely any attempt is entirely a failure.”
Tips for never giving up
- Don’t be afraid of getting a low grade. Just learn from your mistakes and start fresh for next time.
- If you get stuck, ask for help! Most likely there is someone who can help you, so don’t hesitate to reach out
- Keep your faith in yourself. Remember all of the hard work you have put in so far. That will help you power through.
- Give yourself a pat on the back every time that you achieve something; even if it’s small.
“Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing.” ― William A. Ward
Final words on staying motivated to studying
Study can be hard work. So, it’s quite easy to get discouraged and lose motivation when the going gets tough.
However, these tips will help you stay committed to studying so that you can experience the success you deserve.
What has helped you study more effectively? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
How to become smarter without studying?
If you’re looking for ways to become smarter without studying, this article will help.
I’ve put together the best tips and tricks to make sure that your brain stays sharp even when you don’t feel like studying.
You can learn more about how our brains work and how to increase your intelligence. Read more.
Why working memory is key to learning?
Working memory is the kind of short-term memory that allows us to complete tasks, manage information, and work through problems.
It’s a vital component in learning because it sets the scene for how we think about things, act on our impulses, and form opinions.
However, human working memory is limited by its capacity and duration.
Luckily there are many simple ways for individuals to improve their working memory.
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Hougaard, R & Carter, J (2018) Ego is the Enemy of Good Leadership.
Okano, K., Kaczmarzyk, J.R., Dave, N. et al. Sleep quality, duration, and consistency are associated with better academic performance in college students. npj Sci. Learn. 4, 16 (2019).
Steinmayr R, Weidinger AF, Schwinger M, Spinath B. The Importance of Students’ Motivation for Their Academic Achievement – Replicating and Extending Previous Findings. Front Psychol. 2019 Jul 31;10:1730.
The Harvard Gazette (2010) The Wandering Mind Not A Happy Mind.