Get motivated to study

March 25, 2017

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Illustration by Ahmed Amin
Illustration by Ahmed Amin

The main difference between simply studying and studying for success is motivation — the motivation to succeed and get good grades. And most of the time it is this motivation that separates the average students from the high achievers.

A student’s motivation to study, like anyone else’s motivation to do something, gives their effort the extra boost and helps them stay focused on their goal and get there.

It is motivation that urges people to take the extra steps towards the finishing line even after all their energy seems to have gone, and it is what makes a person get out of bed to face a new day even after facing failure the day before. So if you have the motivation to study, you will find all the puzzling maths sums easy and long scientific formulas a piece of cake.

the motivation to study, you will find all the puzzling maths sums easy and long scientific formulas a piece of cake.

Motivation will not let you lose focus, get off the track or procrastinate. So before sitting down to study, find your motivation, become motivated and let your motivation drive you on.

Here are some tips to motivate you to study and stay focused on your educational goals.

Set a goal

Just like there is no sense in playing a game like football or hockey unless there is a goalpost and you plan and play the game to get the ball through it, there is also no sense in studying when you don’t have a clearly defined and set goal for yourself.

Goals for students are both long-term and short-term, as well as specific and general in nature. We study to become educated and get a good job, these are long-term and general goals which do not do much in terms of motivation, the kind we need when the exams are near. Being more specific such as wanting to get into a particular university for a particular degree, say studying aeronautical or computer engineering, or becoming a neurosurgeon, are specific goals that help you focus on what you need to do to reach your goal. Then having short-term goals like coming first in the class, scoring more than 80 percent in all exams, finishing the revision of the course on a specific date or even learning a certain chapter that day, are what will drive you to accomplish what you have set out to do.

You need to set targets and only then you will have the motivation to pursue them, especially during those days when you are distracted by games, friends or just plain tired from studying. Your goal will keep you focused and do everything needed to achieve it.

It is practical to divide your goals into sub-goals, because eating small portions of a large pizza slice is easier than trying to swallow the whole slice, which you just can’t. When you achieve a sub-goal, like completing the learning of a particular chapter or subject within the timeframe you have set for yourself, it will give you a sense of accomplishment that will boost your confidence and self-esteem and recharge you to do more. Eventually as your tick off the sub-goals you have achieved, you will reach your main goal easily, like scoring an A grade in all subjects.

It is best to write down your goal somewhere, better still, write it on a piece of paper and paste it right where you can see it when studying. Be specific in stating the goals and set a timeframe too.

Illustration by Ahmed Amin
Illustration by Ahmed Amin

Reward yourself

Motivating yourself is not something you do once in the beginning, you have to keep doing it to stay on track. Besides constantly keeping your focus on your goals, you can motivate yourself by rewarding when you achieve your sub-goals.

The reward can be as simple and as lavish as you please, but it should be something that makes you feel good. For instance if you finish your revision in the timeframe you have set for yourself, reward yourself by allowing yourself to watch your favourite TV show or play your favourite video game which you had given up for studies. You can use your parents’ help here too by asking mum to cook your favourite food or get you some ice-cream or cupcake when you accomplish a certain thing.

Rewarding yourself will lead to gratification that will have a positive effect on you and make you realise the pleasure of reaching a goal, which in turn will motivate you to reach for other goals and feel this pleasure again. It also shows you that the rewards of hard work are sweet. But just keep in mind that the reward should be received once the goal is reached, not before this and don’t allow yourself to receive a reward if you fail.

Just do it

They say that the first step is the hardest in every journey, so getting started with pursuing goals can seem like hard work to many people and they delay the tough task of learning the real difficult subjects or topics till the last few days and it kind of gets difficult for them. Lack of motivation to study can make other activities, like watching TV, seem more interesting. But you just can’t sit and wait for motivation to start and drive you on, you have to sometimes start first and then motivation will follow suit.

Just start studying, no matter what. Forcing yourself to study slowly frees your mind from distractions and lack of motivation. As you start making progress with studies, you will feel motivated. Once you get into the habit of studying, it will feel just natural after a while to study for longer periods of time.

Desire success with a passion

You can’t succeed in anything unless you want it bad enough. It is your desire for something that is your motivation for action.

Give yourself some really good reasons for studying and doing well in school. Focus on the higher purpose of your education — getting admission in your favourite college/university, bagging a scholarship, getting into a profession of your choice or being recruited by the top employer you are dreaming of or just making your parents very proud of your achievements. Think of these things and you will automatically feel yourself getting charged up and motivated to study.

And also imagine some alternate scenarios — like failing exams, studying in a school or college you dislike and not doing a job of your choice. This should disturb you enough to propel you into action to make sure none of these undesirable things become a reality.

If you want to succeed in life bad enough, some lack of motivation to study will not be a difficult obstacle to overcome, will it?

Keep anxiety and stress away

Anxiety and stress ruins motivation and the negative emotions that arise as a result will shift your focus from studies in minutes. Don’t pressurise yourself so much about achieving your goals that you get depressed or stressed in the process.

You may face some setbacks but don’t let it deflect you from your mission. Do not waste your precious time and energy on negative feelings and emotions, or worrying about things not under your control.

True interest!

Last, but not the least, what affects your motivation is your true interest in what you are studying. For instance, if you are truly interested in becoming a doctor and helping others, only then would you be interested in science in school and will make sure you get the top grades you need to finally get into medical college.

Often students at the school level do not really know where they want to be in life and what they want to do. This is very normal as you may want to be a teacher one day and a cricketer the next. In such a case, what you need to focus on is that even if you want to be a sportsperson, you need to have a good and solid education and for that you need to work hard and do well in school. Things will become clearer as you grow and discover your talents and interests.

To become interested in a subject, especially if you find it boring, you need to do some reading and research that goes beyond your textbooks. Read interesting books and magazines on the topic/subject, meet and talk to people who like the subject and know more about it. As your understanding develops, you will find your interest developing too.

Use these tips to get motivated to study and get better grades. Good luck

Published in Dawn, Young World March 25th, 2017