I have always had trouble motivating myself to study. I was imaginative, distracted, and considered school a waste of time. The 2nd-grade-me wanted to sing Hannah Montana songs, the 4th-grade-me wanted to read fantasy novels, and the 6th-grade-me was writing a book. Later, instead of studying, I stayed up late reading and watching videos of past Tony performances. School was just something to minimize and deflect so I could get back to the things I wanted.
But there were important things to learn, valuable information, and I needed good grades to get into college and pursue my ambitions. I repeatedly decided I was going to take my studies very seriously . . . tomorrow. Yes, I needed both self-discipline and motivation. I`m proud to say that I have discovered how to do so, through some trial and error, and am happy to share.
While I will share some experiences and techniques below, remember that you are different. The more you learn about you, noting what works and what doesn`t, the more you can do what you need to do, to motivate yourself, and even trick yourself. If you pay attention to you, soon you`ll have you eating out of your hand!
My best friend is my calendar. Scheduling out the studying so that it isn`t one stressful cram the night before keeps me motivated. Instead of dwelling on having a 4-hour study session, I can reassure myself that for Monday night, I only have to look over the material for 45 minutes. It also helps you retain the information better to study multiple nights in a row. I remind myself that good timing and spacing of my studies makes my life easier.
You don`t always have to do it alone. Studying with friend can provide structure and accountability. Even if both of you are studying for different tests, the very presence of the other can keep you on track. Someone else is holding you responsible and relying on you to keep them strong as well. If your friend needs help, this is an opportunity for you! Teaching someone else solidifies material in your own mind.
Using a particular motivation technique, you can use procrastination as a weapon against itself. Let us say you have a list of 5 tasks (academic or otherwise), but the thought of #1 on the list brings you to a standstill. If you are determined to do the highest and most onerous item on the list, you might end up doing it slowly, badly, or just not at all. Instead, avoid this intimidating task by immediately tackling another from your list. You`re achieving something important, in a timely manner, all the while with a gleeful feeling that you`re getting away with something. Rinse and repeat. If on a Saturday you have achieved 3 things that needed to be done this week, you have done well, been productive, and enjoyed doing it. As a bonus, you may find yourself more ready to take on the dreadful item #1. You`re now rightfully confident, and your morale is high.
If all else fails, watch a motivational video or do something to inspire urgency. I`ve gotten out of slumps by simply moving to a different location, such as a coffee shop. Create a collage of goals and things that inspire you to look at when you get discouraged. Ask your roommate to give you a pep talk! A certain amount of self-discipline, grit, and desire to learn is necessary. As you try various motivational techniques on yourself, pay attention and note what really works. You should know you best.
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