Even the most dedicated learners feel unmotivated sometimes, so don’t worry if you’re feeling this way. We’ve put together some techniques and strategies to use in those moments when you just can’t find the motivation to study.
Take a moment to notice your thoughts as they pass through your mind. Are they positive or negative?
If you can, try to add some positive thoughts to your internal chatter. For example, you could visualise yourself graduating, or try positive self-talk like “I can do this!” or “I’ll be able to finish this in an hour if I stay focused!”
Think about why you decided to study. You enrolled in online study for a reason. What was it? Do you love the subject you’re studying? Do you want formal proof of your knowledge in your subject area? Do you want more exciting career opportunities? Are you preparing to re-enter the workforce? Do you want a promotion at work? Do you want to make your whānau proud? Take some time to think about your reasons for studying and how good it will feel to achieve your goal.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s likely that you’re also finding it difficult to get motivated. When a task feels impossible, a common response is to keep putting it off.
If you’re feeling this way, try breaking your work into more manageable parts, or ‘chunks’, and set a mini deadline for each chunk. Write a schedule or to do list at the start of each day, and make sure it’s achievable. Ask your student advisor or check our Time Management page if you’d like some help with creating a sensible, achievable schedule.
You can increase your personal motivation by rewarding yourself when you achieve your short-, mid- and long-term goals.
For example, you might reward yourself with a ten-minute break once you’ve finished a reading, a TV show once you’ve finished studying for the day, and a celebratory meal with whānau when you’ve completed your course.
You can build these rewards into your daily schedule or to do list
First, write down the reasons you’re feeling unmotivated. Next, try to find solutions for each reason.
Are you tired? Try to go to bed a little earlier or adjust your study schedule so you’re not forcing yourself to study when you’re exhausted. Focus on tasks and activities you enjoy or find easier for now; save more difficult tasks for when you’re feeling less tired.
Are you distracted? Unplug from social media, find a quiet place to study, and turn on some ambient sounds to mask background noise. Set short, achievable goals and reward yourself when you achieve them.
Are you stuck? Send your questions to your facilitator and move on to a different task or activity while you wait for a reply.
Working with a study buddy can be a great motivator. Reach out to a friend, colleague, family member, or (even better!) a fellow learner.
Working together will help you to motivate each other and hold each other accountable. You can set up a Smarthinking Study Group, check in regularly online, or chat over the phone if you can’t meet in person.
You’re not always going to feel motivated to work towards your goals. We all have ‘off days’, and life sometimes throws us curve balls. The most important thing is to persevere.
If you’ve had a distracted morning, aim for a focused afternoon. If you can’t motivate yourself today, resolve to try again tomorrow.
You’ve got this!