“I Don’t Have The Motivation To Study”

What is motivation?

Firstly, what is motivation? Motivation, according to the Oxford dictionary is “a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way”. Essentially, it is the drive to achieve your goals and needs. How much you want the goal, what you will gain from it and personal expectations are what influence motivation. 


Types of motivation

There are two types of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

  1. Extrinsic motivation is where external factors are the driving force of an individual’s actions. These include rewards such as money, trophies, social recognition, praise and so on.
  2. Intrinsic motivation is where internal factors motivate an individual to carry out an action such as their personal gratification for completing a task or action. 


Getting Started

Almost everyone struggles with motivation and it can be especially difficult for those with mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. 

  • Set yourself a specific and achievable goal. By doing this, you have something to work towards. 
  • Think about how you are going to make the goal happen and put a timeframe on it. For example, I am going to learn this topic by the end of the week or I will have a 3 page English poetry essay written before I go to training this evening. 
  • Break your goal down into smaller tasks. Taking the English essay example, break the question down into paragraphs, the introduction, paragraph 1, paragraph 2 etc and your conclusion. Do one paragraph at a time and you will soon see the essay coming together. Use family and friends as support. Ask them to encourage you and help keep you motivated.


Keeping on track

  • Use a diary or study planner to keep track of your progress. 
  • Studying for exams is primarily extrinsic motivation. You are motivated by rewards such as a particular grade in that subject, getting enough CAO points to get into your chosen course or college. Reward yourself as you complete each goal or mini-goal, whether that be to go meet friends or some time on your phone and PS4. 
  • Having a positive mindset is important and effective when it comes to motivation. Remove words like ‘I can’t’ and replace them with ‘I can” and ‘I will’. 



How to stay motivated

  • Review your goals and progress regularly. Seeing how far you have come and how much you have achieved is a great motivator and boosts your self-esteem. 
  • Continue setting new goals. What do you want to achieve by this time next week, month, year?
  • Tackle one goal at a time as to not feel overwhelmed.
  • Keep the momentum going. Studies show that it takes 3 months to build a new habit, so keeping to a routine will feel more automatic over time.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Positive energy enhances your positive self-talk and helps to manage the symptoms of depression and anxiety.


What if I lose motivation?

Everyone experiences setbacks from time to time, but how we deal with them is the critical factor. Having structures and routines in place helps minimize the number of setbacks you experience.

  • Review your goals and see are they realistic. Are they achievable in the timeframe you have set? For example, have you set yourself a goal to learn a chapter of Biology in 2 days but also have homework for 6 other subjects to do too? 
  • Remember why you want to reach your goals in the first place. 
  • Take motivation from others. Read a book, talk to other students, talk to past students, talk to someone studying the college course you want to do next year, speak to family, friends and teachers. Sometimes you need their words of wisdom and encouragement to get back on track.
  • Take a break. It is easy to become run down and lose focus on our goals. Sometimes it’s more beneficial to take some time away, refresh and take another stab at reaching your goals.



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