Congratulations! You have just taken the first step in learning how to motivate yourself to study. We know how hard it was typing that phrase into Google, but thankfully, it brought you here.
We’ve all been there countless times before yet it never gets any easier. Finding the motivation to study when you’re just not in the mood is tough. There are a million and one things that you’d rather be doing with your time but you know that you have an assignment due and that your exams are looming.
So, what do you do?
Well, for a start, you begin reading this post and then afterwards, you pick up your textbook and your pen and you stop looking for excuses, because after reading this, you’ll have all the study motivation you’ll need to get started.
Break it Down into Small Steps
Okay, open your book, pick up your highlighter pen and start reading.
Sounds simple, right? Well, that’s all it takes to start studying. All you need to do is get into the right frame of mind. Rather than thinking of your studying as a whole assignment, think of it as a series of smaller tasks that when completed, will enable you to spend your time however you like.
‘The secret to getting ahead is getting started’.
As you start to complete all of the smaller tasks on your list, you’ll start to feel like you’re making progress, which not only makes time pass quicker, but helps you retain information better. As you start ticking off all those tasks, your motivation for studying will gradually increase as the finish line starts getting ever so closer and closer and closer…until you’re done. And there are plenty of study techniques that can make it easier for you.
The Egg Timer Method
This is one of our favourite ways to get motivated as it’s one of the most effective. Once you have all your study materials ready to go, set yourself a specific time period that you will study for without stopping. We recommend setting yourself twenty minute periods as research has shown that the average human adult can sustain their concentration level for a maximum of twenty minutes.
‘Never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time’.
Next, you need to get your egg timer (or stopwatch, or mobile phone) and set yourself twenty minutes to study.
You’ll be amazed at how much you can achieve when you’re completely focused on one thing for a set amount of time.
If this method works for you, then take a 5 – 10 minute break between each twenty minute period and before you know it, you’ll have dedicated a whole hour to studying.
Eliminate all Possible Distractions
When it comes to studying, your environment is just as important as your mindset. You may have every intention of getting some study time in but if you’re surrounded by a house-full of distractions, you won’t get anywhere fast.
‘It always seems impossible until it is done’.
We suggest finding a room at home, in a library, a café or at school and removing all possible distractions. If you’re at home, unplug the TV and the radio. If you’re at school, leave your mobile phone in your bag and don’t look at it. If you’re in a café or library, choose a seat that faces away from people, so you won’t be tempted to start people-watching when your attention slides.
This infographic gives you some more ideas to avoid distractions and maintain your focus:
Promise Yourself a Reward Afterwards
One of the biggest motivators for studying (or doing anything for that matter) is the promise of reward. Before you sit down to study, decide how you will reward yourself afterwards. Perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an episode of your favourite Netflix show, or maybe you’ll arrange to meet your friends.
‘A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today’.
Whatever reward you choose, make sure it’s big enough to motivate you to start studying straight away. To give yourself an extra motivation boost, close your eyes and visualize yourself enjoying your reward, bring yourself into the moment and imagine how good you’ll feel once you’re studying is over.
To flip the problem on its head, this video looks at why we put things off ("procrastinate") and gives us some easy ways to stop that happening:
How do you motivate yourself to study? Which of these techniques work for you?
For more study advice for students, check out the Study section of the Success at School website.