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“I don’t feel like it!”: How to boost your motivation

By Shannon Hogan, 2nd-year  History major

If you’re reading this, it’s too late it’s because you need some help re-motivating yourself for the last few weeks of the semester. Don’t worry—you’re not alone. In fact, let me weave you a little tale about my own struggles with motivation…

Around this time last year, it hit me that my first set of exams was (really, really, REALLY) quickly approaching. It was also around that time that my motivation plummeted, because the universe just LOVES irony. For me, losing motivation was a constant, downward spiral that went something like this:

  1. I felt too tired to work, so
  2. My work wasn’t great, which
  3. Made me resent the amount of time I had to spend fixing it, and
  4. I was left exhausted.
  5. Every day.

Maybe you find yourself in a similar cycle, or maybe losing motivation takes a different form for you. Either way, you probably feel like you want to get back on track and successfully finish the semester. It might seem tough, but first-year me did it, and so can you! Here’s how:

1. Set a goal.

Short-term goals will help you make your tasks manageable, and long-term goals will remind you where the work you’re doing now fits into your larger plan. Achieve your goals more easily by making them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed.

2. Get in a groove.

Start by working on the task you’re most interested in. For less exciting tasks, working with other motivated students or committing to a weekly schedule or to-do list can help you shift your focus from negativity to productivity.

3. Do five more.

Use the Five More Rule: when you think you’ve had enough, keep your phone off for five more minutes, read five more pages, or write five more sentences—reach these attainable mini-goals to remind yourself that you can always get a little more done.

4. Pat yourself on the back.

Reward yourself for your hard work by taking regular breaks and writing daily lists of accomplishments. Remember this satisfaction to keep you motivated for your next work session.

Hopefully these tips will help re-motivate you when you’re feeling like you’d rather scrape gum off the bottom of your shoe than work, but sometimes they won’t help, and that’s okay. Figure out what’s causing your lack of motivation (Stress? Poor organization? Something else?), take some time to regroup, and get back at it!

For more help with motivation, or to learn more about other ways to succeed academically, visit our online resources.

Photo courtesy of Moyan Brenn under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.