5 Tips to Stay Motivated

yes you can

It happens to the best of us over the course of the academic year – that shift the American Association of College and Universities (AACU) says switches students from “inquisitive exploration to exhausted survival.”

Deadlines approach, the pace picks up and fatigue sets in, challenging many students to keep focus on their studies.

How to stay motivated over the long haul? Here are five tips for finding the motivation to study when the doldrums hit.

Set smaller goals

If a class assignment seems impossible, set interim deadlines for each segment, and reward yourself at the end of each stage.

This technique works particularly well with papers. Begin with an outline to keep your work focused and on track. Mark due dates on the calendar, and celebrate when you meet them.

The same strategy can apply to daily assignments. Challenge yourself to complete another chapter of reading and then treat yourself to a latte, or a run.

Make learning your goal

Many students struggle most with classes that make them groan, “Why do I have to learn this?” The problem is, the reason the class is required might not be clear until years down the road.

View every class as having a potential impact on your career and challenge yourself to master the material. It will make the class more bearable, and you’ll likely reap benefits in the future.

Do everything for a reason

The AACU theorized that students often seem unmotivated because they can’t pinpoint why they’re doing something. Students will sign up for activities because they believe it will look good on a resume, but they don’t really know what they’re getting out of it.

It’s easy for working adult students in particular to overwhelm themselves with activities. Problems develop when the list of obligations exceed available time, creating the wrong kind of stress and sapping motivation.

Before adding anything to your workload, assess the opportunity as dispassionately as possible. If you can turn the treasurer’s position at a non-profit into a resume entry when you’re applying for accounting jobs, it’s worth doing. If the activity doesn’t move you toward your goal, say no for the time being.

Don’t do it for the money

Even Steve Jobs, who was worth more than $100 million before age 25, listed this among his rules for success. His goal wasn’t financial gain. His biggest thrill came from innovating and changing the world.

If you find yourself chronically lacking the motivation to study, perhaps it’s time to consider another major. The money that accompanies a degree in a high-paying field can be a great motivator, but happiness is even more powerful.

Remember that it will be over some day

The hectic schedule and sleep-deprived days won’t last forever. Remember what you’re working toward and know that the college degree will be worth whatever distress you’re feeling at the moment.

Motivation challenges are common for most people from time to time. The key to recovery is in following tips such as these quickly, before a momentary struggle morphs into a serious morale slump.


Written by Ashford University staff.

Questions? Talk with an Advisor