June 14, 2024

10 ways to motivate yourself to study

Sometimes having to do all that studying and catching up with reading from previous weeks feels like a drag.

It can be overwhelming because together with the studying can come a wave of questions where you doubt yourself on a personal level with thoughts such as:

‘Do I even understand these readings?’… ‘Am I going to be able to write something interesting and relevant?’…  ‘Am I going to do the right thing?’… ‘Am I good enough to do this?’… ‘Others seem to be more on top of things than I am’… ‘What if I do badly?’ 

These thoughts are subtle but can lead to difficult feelings that interfere with motivation. So to generate that motivation you could try some of the following:

  1. Acknowledge your resistance and difficult feelings with motivation

It may be helpful to write these feelings or thoughts down and then leave these on the side so you can then study.

  • Do not run away

Avoiding work can make you feel deflated. This is emotionally more draining than having to go through the frustration of reading for your paper. 

  • Do not blame yourself for procrastinating now and then

Try to become aware of the habit and gently make yourself to go back to the task sooner rather than later.

  • Try to understand your studying style better

What will make it easier for you to work? We are all prone to pleasant experiences and it is natural that we tend to avoid uncomfortable, dry chores and duties.  So try to make your study experience as interesting as possible.

  • Don’t question your abilities

Don’t put yourself down by comparing yourself to others.

  • Visualise yourself starting

Make yourself sit down and work even if this is for just 20 minutes. See starting as a parallel process like a plane on a runway. You may start slow but you will still take off!

  • Focus on the task at hand

Prioritise the most important tasks and avoid multitasking.

  • Communicate to others any difficulties and/or what you intend to do

This can help you engage with the process and identify the important tasks. Communication / externalisation can help you to commit with immediate goals and you could also find out others points of view and tips

  • Take a time limited approach in which you schedule your tasks

Ask yourself ‘how much can I achieve in the next 2 hours?’ instead of ‘Can I complete all tasks?’ In this way you do not get as easily overwhelmed by the volume of study you need to do. 

  1. Remember that studying can be challenging and take you out of your comfort zone

Think about the hiking of Mountain Kilimanjaro; it is not easy and can even be uncomfortable but the pleasure comes when you begin to see the view from

ZoiKontakou, Counselling Psychologist, UCL Student Psychological Services


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