Back in 2004, I got the motivation to study for every exam I had for one simple reason: I spent 5 years doing a 3 year degree.
Now this is not because I was academically challenged or anything.
I just suffered from another kinda challenge. Being young.
I had no real priorities in my life, and in the words of Stacie Orrico, was “chasing every temporary high”.
So when I received my results in 2oo3 and saw that I had failed almost every exam I took in my 3rd semester of my supposed final year, I totally and completely panicked!
Nothing humiliated me more than showing those results to my parents, the same people who made sure that all I needed to do was study, because they were paying for everything else!
The looks on their faces broke my heart, and my sorry excuses for my failures did not comfort them in any way.
When I went back to repeat the year that I had failed, I went in with shame, regret, but also a sense of determination that I would make up for my major L!
So now you know where I got my motivation to study in 2004.
I am writing this article not just to tell my story, but to help you understand:
- why it is so difficult to get any real motivation to study for your tests/exams
- how to get yourself out of the vicious cycle of procrastination
- a simple, step-by-step formula you can use to actually study every single day.
So why is it so difficult to find the motivation to study?
One problem: distraction!
It makes total sense, where everything has your attention. Sometimes you care more for your phone than you do other human beings around you, I get it.
But now you have seen how highly destructive these distractions have been.
Back in uni, there used to be this place around the piazza we called “The Wall”. It was a long wall that kids used to like leaning on or sitting on top of.
Sometimes you would find the same people there when you were going to your classes at 8 am as you did on your breaks, and finally when you were leaving at 5 or 6 pm.
And sometimes I was one of those people…
I know about getting so distracted that you throw away days, weeks, even months looking for any reason to relieve yourself of the potential stress and anxiety of opening your books.
How in the world would you get any kind of motivation to study when there is so much life around you?
Well this is what we are going to cure today.
As promised, follow these instructions to get you to start sudying
- Watch the video below to understand procrastination
Tim Urban knows that procrastination doesn’t make sense, but he’s never been able to shake his habit of waiting until the last minute to get things done. In this hilarious and insightful talk, Urban takes us on a journey through YouTube binges, Wikipedia rabbit holes and bouts of staring out the window — and encourages us to think harder about what we’re really procrastinating on, before we run out of time.
Have you watched Tim Urban’s video about procrastinating?
You really should, because more than anything, it will make you feel a whole lot better about the fact that you are not in a unique situation.
Everybody suffers from putting things off, it just varies from one person to the next.
So watch this video first to understand how the mind can wreak havoc on you and fool you into delaying the inevitable.
2. Get Very Clear On Your Study Goals
In school, I decided I hated Computer Science, even though deep down, I knew that if I prioritized what I found difficult and asked for help, I would have been just fine.
Sometimes you simply do not have the motivation to study because you have all these subjects to tackle and you don’t know where to start. You get anxious, you get stressed, and it’s bye bye books!
So set reasonable study goals and prioritize every subject you are dealing with this semester from “difficult” to “easy”.
In the subjects you have marked “difficult”, go over the areas you found especially hard, those you found very difficult to understand and list them down.
When you attend classes for the subjects you have identified as “difficult”, make sure you single out someone in your class who is good at this subject and is also approachable, then make the time to talk to them and ask them politely if there is a chance you two could sit down some time to go through those specific areas that you are having challenges with.
Do you know what this small, seemingly inconsequential action does?
It makes you feel like you are back in control of yourself!
You will feel like for the first time in a long time, you can actually attack this issue that’s been a thorn in your side.
You feel more competent and your self confidence increases immediately, and trust me, when you get that feeling, you will want to hold on to it.
3. Create A Sacred Daily Routine (Operative word: SACRED )
If study motivation is your end goal, make sure you dedicate very specific times to your studies on a consistent, daily basis.
Do this by creating a good study timetable!
Make sure it is as clear as possible, detailing:
- the subjects you are going to study
- how they shall be broken down into study sections and
- the times you have allocated for each section
Planning your days and weeks is not easy, but it is certainly worth it because of the rapidly your productivity will increase.
When what you see in front of you is clear as day, it becomes more difficult for you to get distracted, because now you know EXACTLY what you are supposed to be doing and at what time you are supposed to be doing it.
4. Understand How You Work
I actually had a major problem with focus. It was a huge issue for me!
So when I started zeroing in on studying, I realized certain things about myself:
- I liked to study early in the morning, and at night time
- At first, i could only study for 20 minutes at a time, and I had to work with that
- I enjoyed walking, so I did as much of it as possible around the campus before going back to study
- I am a loner by nature, so I had no problems studying on my own.
When you’re spending as much time with yourself as you are when you’re studying for semester tests and finals, you start to discover certain habits you have, and the best thing you can do is work them into your daily routine.
- Perhaps you prefer group study instead of doing it on your own
- Maybe you prefer to take power naps to replenish your energy
- You might need coffee or other energy boosting beverages during those crazy study nights (but don’t overdo it!)
Whatever works for you, please make sure you incorporate it into your routine so that your study habits are custom made for you and nobody else!
Please ensure these habits actually help you, not derail you!
You will then realize that when you get into a daily routine and a rhythm, it eventually becomes automatic!
As soon as you wake up each morning, you know what you will be doing with your day and you know when you will be studying
This leaves very little room for procrastination!
5. Reward Yourself!
When you have had an especially productive day and you have managed to push through some especially difficult work, do yourself a favour and congratulate yourself for the exceptional work you have done!
Rewarding yourself is a reinforcing ‘feel-good’ mechanism. It is not only a way to tell yourself “I’m proud of you” but it will also create more momentum for your motivation to study harder, and study longer.
It doesn’t have to be an expensive reward.
In uni, I’d buy myself a McDonald’s meal, or walk to the park and spend some time there with my portable CD player with some good music in it (yes, I know that in this entire article I have displayed my age! Lol.)
Do what works for you to feel good about yourself. You’ve earned it!
I hope you find this article useful, and that you use these strategies for stronger study motivation. Click on the comment section below if this information has helped you in any way… or maybe it hasn’t! I’d love to hear from you too!