How to Stay Motivated When You Don’t Feel Like Studying
Aristotle Onassis once said, “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”
Sometimes finding the motivation to study or finish that crucial assignment can seem nearly impossible. These dark moments of frustration are often caused by the stress of dealing with a massive workload, lack of time or interest in the subject matter – not to mention the myriad of other distractions in your life.
Ultimately, this can negatively impact your academic year and the chances of getting a good ATAR score.
But how do you get motivated to study when it feels like the odds are against you? Here are some of the different ways to get motivated and sustain that motivation throughout the academic year.
What Motivates You?
Different students have different motivating factors driving them to succeed.
Some students are motivated by the desire to get good grades or be accepted into university, while others are motivated by a genuine interest in the subject matter or desire to learn new skills. Of course, people do certain things for a wide range of reasons, so these motivating factors often overlap.
One popular theory that explores the motivation behind the choices people make is the Self-Determination Theory (SDT). Developed by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, the theory sets out two types of motivators – intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation is based on a personal desire devoid of outside influence. If you’ve ever been so engaged in a subject that you have kept reading beyond the required literature, then you had an innate desire to learn – regardless of your school grades.
Below are some of the different intrinsic motivators that can help you study:
- Learning a new skill or developing an existing skill
- Overcoming a tough challenge
- Stimulates their curiosity to learn more
- Improving your health or general wellbeing
- Expressing yourself creatively
These motivating factors come from a deep desire to improve yourself mentally and physically. They can be incredibly rewarding and sustain your study motivation for much longer than a mere tangible reward. You may also find the process of learning and applying yourself more enjoyable if you have a long-term goal in mind.
However, it does take time to adjust your behavioural patterns and figure out what truly motivates you. Unlike a reward like money, good grades or a scholarship, this kind of motivation involves asking about yourself. What topics do you find interesting? How is this relevant to your life? What value do you place on the importance of this topic?
You may need help from a teacher, counsellor or tutor who can guide you down the right path.
On the other hand, extrinsic motivation means you’re motivated by an external reward. This useful motivation for students comes from factors outside of your own and can be a tangible or non-tangible reward.
Some examples of extrinsic rewards are:
- A high ATAR score
- Acceptance into University or TAFE
- Praise from teachers, parents, critics and peers
Unlike intrinsic motivators, these kind of rewards are easier to identify and the effects are nearly immediate. Do a side-by-side comparison of two study sessions: one where you reward yourself with a delicious after completing a certain number of tasks, while the other you eat something basic.
You’ll probably be able to compare the results easily.
However, this method can backfire if the reward is unappealing or is no longer attainable. You may also find yourself getting ‘tired’ of the same reward and will need to think of something better to stay motivated.
This is a common flaw discovered in scientific comparisons of intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation. Once the reward is taken away, the motivation is gone.
Which One is Right for You?
If you’re unsure how to get motivated to study, you can try a combination of these motivators.
Are you already invested in a subject but struggling to stay focused? Treat yourself to a small reward every once in a while. Does the thought of finishing those last math problems fill you with dread? Consider the fact that solving these equations could make it easier to solve problems in a later exercise.
Sometimes reading pages and pages of literature can be demanding… even if the subject interests you. If you find yourself falling asleep at the desk, try these useful tips to stay motivated during those long study sessions:
- Listen to or watch radio shows, podcasts and documentaries relevant to the subject matter
- Organise a study session to learn, share ideas and keep each other motivated
- Collate your study notes into a different medium aside from written notes (i.e. brainstorming, music, an infographic)
These tips are useful because they help keep you distracted from the monotony of study, but the activities are still relevant to your school work.
Remember these study motivation tips the next time you’re struggling to focus or stay concentrated!
Enhance Your Study and Exam Techniques
Sustaining your level of commitment throughout the academic year can be tough. Band6 is an online video course that teaches you several key learning techniques including studying and exam techniques, along with how to maintain motivation.
These courses are designed to help you discover the key motivating factors to help you get more from your study sessions, improve your exam results and achieve your dream ATAR score.
Want to learn the most effective motivation techniques from 99+ ATAR students? CLICK HERE and sign-up to Band6 to gain 24/7 access to online video courses, study notes and 80+ study resources.
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