How to overcome a lack of motivation during your studies
It’s almost impossible to avoid low motivation during a degree. Hardly anyone manages to be consistently motivated to perform at their best throughout the semester.
The causes of low motivation can be manifold. In particular, a bad exam result, personal issues and the feeling of being burned out or having lost sight of the big goal are often the causes.
It starts with the choice of course…
The first step out of the motivation slump is to recognize that you are not currently performing at your best. This also requires a little courage for self-criticism. After this step, you should test different strategies to find your way out of the motivation hole.
However, the basis for avoiding low motivation is already laid with a well-considered choice of study. Only if you are really interested in the subject will you be able to persevere and motivate yourself even in difficult phases.
In the first two semesters in particular, students should always ask themselves whether their expectations of the subject will be met. During this time there is still a good opportunity to break new ground. But even if you are sure that you have made the best choice, you can still his motivational lows on your dream course.
The following tips will help to overcome motivational lows:
Build learning communities
Lone wolves have a hard time – this also applies to managing your motivation. Anyone who joins a learning community learns that it is not only themselves who are exposed to the pressure to perform. This knowledge effectively counteracts the demotivating thought that only you yourself are having a hard time. In addition, in a well-established learning community, the individual members often switch roles:
In this way, all members can benefit from motivational highs of individuals and feel encouraged to perform better. Of course, learning communities also offer different expertise: If there are problems of understanding, a group member can usually be found quickly who can explain the facts and give valuable tips.
Recognize and break through procrastination mechanisms
Low motivation often goes hand in hand with important (learning) tasks being put off. In the beginning, this behavior causes only moderate issues. But if, for example, an exam date is getting closer and closer, the pressure to finally have to take action increases.
If you notice that you are not meeting your schedule, although there is basically enough time available, you should investigate the causes of this behavior and realize that this behavior does not solve the problem, but rather exacerbates it.
Take small steps
A large mountain of technical literature waiting to be read through can be extremely demotivating. You suspect as much and tell yourself in advance: Even if I work and study all day today, I will barely make a mark on it. Nothing is more motivating than realizing that your efforts are used to achieve a very specific goal.
Big goals – such as the dream job you have in mind – initially have the strongest motivating power. However, they often lose their power during long learning phases, as they are still a long way off. This can be, for example, a short vacation after a successful mid–term exam to gain new strength. However, the goals you set should always be realistic: If they are set too high and difficult to achieve, these goals can also have a demotivating effect.
Communicate the set goals
Setting a goal for yourself is already motivating. Now, however, a low level of motivation can also lead to you weakening or even denying your previously set goal. You can counteract this by telling acquaintances, friends and relatives about your goal right at the beginning. They will most likely be checking in on progress regularly, which in turn creates gentle pressure. This slight social control can add significantly to motivation.
Identify and use the motivators
Not only the goal itself can have a motivating effect – the motivating force resulting from the consequences of achieving or not achieving the goal is much stronger. These consequences should be kept in mind at regular intervals. The negative consequences also have a motivating effect if you deal with them correctly: They should not be viewed with fear, but as events that one would absolutely like to prevent.
Recall past accomplishments
Pressure to perform is nothing new for students; you had to deal with it even when you were at school. When motivation is lost, remembering past successes can be supportive. Self-confidence is strengthened when you realize that you have already successfully mastered challenges in the past.
Appreciate your own successes
You can also prevent low motivation by adequately acknowledging successes and understanding them as the result of your own efforts.
On the other hand, anyone who sees success as a product of chance will find it difficult to motivate themselves to take on new challenges. After all, chance is not something that you have in your own hands. And the feeling of not being able to influence events yourself can be extremely demotivating.
You can not only appreciate success by positive thinking, but also by rewarding yourself for the success. The pleasant feeling that comes with such a reward sticks in the memory and provides motivation for the next goal.
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Remove obstacles and solve personal issues
Sometimes little things prevent you from finally taking off and facing a new challenge with full vigor. These need to be recognized and eliminated in advance of the “hot learning phase”. Examples of small stumbling blocks that can prevent concentrated learning are unfinished household chores or a work environment that makes learning unnecessarily difficult. Private, interpersonal problems can also lead to a lack of motivation. This, too, needs to be resolved as quickly as possible, if possible. Otherwise, they can be a permanent obstacle to efficient study.
Visualize goal achievement
Setting specific goals can increase motivation. For example, by regularly visualizing the goal as already achieved. The more intense this idea, this visualization, the greater the increase in motivation. For example, you could imagine all facets of how people close to you express congratulations and appreciation.