Getting and Staying Motivated!
- Commit to 10 minutes of study time to start with. Chances are you'll get in a groove and keep it up. If not, that's 10 minutes of studying accomplished!
- Don't try to do it all at once. It's easier to commit to studying if you know you only have to do it for a short amount of time. Set a timer. Even if it's a fraction of the amount of time you need to complete the task, it feels easier to do in chunks.
- Start easy or start hard. Starting with smaller tasks helps you gain momentum and feel a sense of accomplishment, leading to greater overall productivity. Or, by starting with the hardest task first, the rest of your tasks will feel easy by comparison. Find which way works for you!
- Play pretend. Professional athletes use visualization to enhance their productivity and success, but anyone can use these techniques.
Change Your Thinking!
- Figure out why this is important to get this done. Think about the big picture, long-term impact of your action. Does getting this done connect to your goals/values? Write down the reasons you need to get this done.
- Identify the issue or roadblock. What is it that's keeping you from working on what you need to? Can you isolate the issue, or resolve the problem.
- Develop a Mantra. Find a statement, picture, poster, or saying that motivates you. Find creative ways to remind yourself of it. Increase your positive self-talk and stop any negative self-talk. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t– you’re right.”
- See the success you’ve already accomplished. Add a few items to your to-do list just to cross them off. Build up some momentum, even if it feels a bit phony.
Make Things Easier
- Plan out the steps that get your project done. It’s easier to see the project as a series of small steps and knowing the first step makes it easier to get started. A GPS only tells you one turn at a time for a reason. Make the steps small and attainable.
- Plan a time to get started on it. If you schedule a time to do it, you’re more likely to actually get started, rather than waiting until you feel like it. When do you feel like doing something you don’t want to do?
- Plan time for fun breaks. It’s not realistic to study for 5 hours, so you might as well plan when you’ll take a break, what you’ll do, and for how long so you maintain control of your schedule.
- Minimize distractions and other things you have to say no to. Our ability to resist temptation diminishes each time we’re faced with another temptation. It’s easier not to eat ice cream if you don’t buy it in the first place. Set up your surroundings and schedule so you make good decisions.
- Point yourself downhill. At the end of the day, or study session, make notes about what you have left to do and what you need to do next so it’s easy to start again. By “pointing yourself downhill” you’re set up in the right direction next time you begin.
Rewards & Accountability
- Find a partner. Find someone who is working towards the same goal that will motivate you. Letting yourself off the hook is one thing, letting down a friend is something you’re less likely to do. Surrounding yourself with motivates, energetic, positive people will get you started too.
- Create a support system. What will help you keep moving forward with your projects? Asking for help or sharing what you’re working on can increase your accountability. Tell a friend or family member about your goal. You’re more likely to follow through if someone is going to ask you about it later.
- Establish a rewards system. Select a reward that will get you motivated to get something done. Don’t finish the task? You don’t get the reward. Find realistic rewards and be creative.
- Measure your progress. Find a way to track what you’ve accomplished so you can see your progress and results. Checking things off your list can help motivate you to get more done. Celebrating your accomplishments will increase your motivation to do more in the future.
(from - The Learning Corner @ the Academic Success Center success.oregonstate.edu/learning)