The Ultimate Guide to Getting Motivated to Study
You want to study. You really do. But you find it so difficult to motivate yourself to do so.
Instead of getting home from school and having a quick snack and drink before you hit the books you procrastinate like crazy. You watch an episode (or two) of your current favourite series on Netflix. You browse through Facebook and Instagram AND watch a few stories on Snapchat. You wonder back to the kitchen and find yourself munching through another pack of biscuits. All the while with the knowledge nagging at the back of your mind (but ignoring it anyway) that you've got a test tomorrow morning and you really need to revise for it. Then, at 9:30 when you're beginning to yawn and you should be going to bed you finally start studying.
You have two problems. Number 1 is motivation. Number 2 is procrastination. In this post I'm going to show you, once and for all, how to get motivated to study. Next week, I'll show you the hidden reasons behind your procrastination and how you can banish procrastination once and for all to get grades that, with your current levels of motivation and procrastination, seem way out of your reach.
“How do I motivate myself to study?”
There are two types of motivation: external and internal. I'll tell you now that internal motivation is the most important. If you don't truly want what you're working for then you're unlikely to put the work in to achieve it.
Why do you want good grades? (Internal reasons)
This is the first question you need to answer. Basically, how does getting good grades fit into your life's plan.
I wanted good grades partly for vanity's sake (it's nice being able to tell people that I got five As at A Level). However, those grades were the passport to my dream. At the age of nine I decided that I wanted to study at Cambridge University. If I didn't get truly brilliant A Level grades I wasn't going to achieve my ambition.
This meant that my grades were instrumental to achieving my goal.
What you need to discover is what you really want out of life. Is there a career that you'd love? Maybe as a barrister, a vet or a doctor? Is there a lifestyle you'd like to live? Maybe a big house in the country or a swanky apartment in Chelsea? Is there something you want to achieve? Maybe writing a book, changing the law or even changing the mind of society?
Once you know what you want out of life (and I'm sorry, but I don't believe you if you say you've never day-dreamed beyond the end of this year) you need to understand how your grades fit into this picture.
How will your grades help you to achieve the vision, dream or goal that you have for yourself? What grades do you need to get there?
When you can answer these questions you'll now what you're aiming for in terms of your exam results. You'll also know your motivation.
When you feel your motivation failing just remind yourself of:
- Your dream
- The grades you need to achieve it
That should give you a kick up the bum and get you back to work.
The other, and more immediate internal reason to start work early for exams, is to save yourself the panic and the worry at the last minute. But you'll only be truly stressed and worried if you genuinely care about the outcome of your exams because of the impact that they're going to have on your future. So, your vision is all important.
Getting good grades for others (external reasons)
When I was at school loads of my friends' parents tried to bribe them to work for their exams. They'd make deals with their children saying things like, “For every A you get I'll give you £20, for every B you'll get £15, for every C you'll get £10.”
This may be a bit motivating if you like money A LOT but it doesn't tend to motivate you to do something you're not really enjoying over the long-term.
I've also seen people on student forums encouraging people to visualise the disappointment on their family's face when they get a poor set of exam results. Again, this might be painful on the day and you might feel guilty if your parents have poured a lot of time and resources into your education, but ultimately, your exam results are for you and no-one else. Unless you truly care on a personal level about what grades you're going to get no amount of nagging, hassling or forcing on the part of your parents (or teachers) is going to make you pull your finger out and actually do the work.
Motivation isn't always the answer
You're not always going to feel motivated to study, even when you have a clear, strong and compelling vision of your future. Sometimes you'll be tired. Sometimes there will be more interesting things to do (Netflix versus cell organelles?) and sometimes there will be more immediately rewarding things to do (like your job which will pay you money this month, rather than your future career which will pay you money in four or five years time).
The most successful students, even when they feel the lure of shiny objects in the here and now, are the ones who remind themselves of their bigger vision, grit their teeth, flex their will-power muscle and get on with the work anyway.
The everyday work of study is not sexy. It's not glamourous. And, it's certainly not always interesting. However, when done consistently and well over a long period of time it is ultimately very rewarding. And that's not just in a financial sense. Slowly feeling your intellectual capabilities grow, learning more and more about the subjects that interest you most and ultimately achieving some kind of mastery over your studies is one of the most profound journeys of personal growth that you will experience in your lifetime.
“But Lucy, I know what I want to achieve and I STILL procrastinate!”
I hear you. I'm a very driven person with clear goals in mind. And occasionally, just occasionally, I find myself procrastinating too. Next week I'll be sharing
- The real reasons you're procrastinating
- How you can eliminate procrastination once and for all (well, almost!)
If you're struggling to identify your bigger reason for wanting amazing grades then I can help. The first chapter of my brand new book, The Ten Step Guide to Acing Every Exam You Ever Take, is all about identifying your vision for your dream life and researching how your target grades will help you to get there. It's full of detailed prompts and questions to help you dive really deep to identify your ‘great big why' for getting the top grades. There's even a free downloadable workbook to help guide you through the exercises.
The book will be published on 14th February but if you pre-order today you'll get some free printable planners to help you keep on top of your to-do list, plan your year and reduce your procrastination. If you order 3 copies you'll be put into a draw to win a one hour study-skills coaching session with me (worth £100) and if you order 10 copies you'll be put into a draw to win a whole day Revision Masterclass for your school (worth £500).
Over to you
In the comments below, I'd love to know your big reason for getting amazing grades. Is it to study a certain course at a certain university? Is it to access your dream career? Or is there a lifestyle that you really want to achieve? Leave me a comment, I'm always fascinated to hear the big ambitions and dreams of the people who read my blogs.