Motivating Yourself To Study

Ijeoma Nwaogu
11. Thrive IN® - Motivating Yourself To Study

Welcome to Thrive IN™ and greetings from Houston, Texas. This is Dr. IJ your very own Life Coach. Thrive IN™ is a Life Coaching podcast for college students. And believe me, you are in the right place if you’re ready to grow into your greatest self, while making the most of your time in college. This is session # 11. And for this session, my goal is to get you motivated to study in case you are dealing with some motivational issues around studying during this period.

This session is not necessarily about how to study, but how to increase your motivation to study. So lately, have you had exams come up and you really are not in the mood to bring yourself to study for it and to not procrastinate in studying? For this session, I just want to offer you some tips to consider that can help you feel more motivated to study. So here we go:

My first piece of advice for you is to simply just repeat aloud. “I don’t want to study,” like, say it verbally, say it out loud, hear yourself, say it, get it out of your system, because in your mind, you know that you’re not trying to study. You don’t feel like doing it. You’re dreading the process of studying. So just use that moment to admit it to yourself out loud. What that does is it gets it out of your system, you’re acknowledging your resistance, and your lack of motivation. And in saying it out loud, it helps you to just get it out of your system.

It helps you to remove that energy from your thoughts. And then once you remove that energy, you can then regain a new energy to place your focus on studying. There’s some psychology there and clearing your mind, and admitting something to yourself, and in starting afresh in setting a goal for yourself. Part of saying “I don’t want to study” and naming it out loud, you own that feeling, so that feeling won’t own you.

Another thing you can consider is to write down why you need to study. Sometimes when you have things written down and you have that visual that you can see for yourself and to list it out and to become very aware of it, it increases your accountability around it. So one reason why you need to study is because you’re paying for school – the tuition costs, so you don’t want that to go to waste. Also, if you have scholarships that you need to maintain, that’s really important to keep that GPA.

Another reason why you need to study so that you’ll feel okay with playing hard after working hard. So if you’re playing hard and you know that you didn’t study hard, it might come with a sense of guilt behind that. So you want to be clear minded in knowing that you’ve done everything that you can academically and you’ve studied hard, and therefore you deserve to play hard- safely, but have as much fun as you want.

Another reason why you may want to study is, of course to maintain that GPA in order to withstand the competition for grad school if you choose to enter grad school, which will then lead to your jobs and etc. So having a good GPA does set you apart from others and sets you up for successful job attainment if some employers are looking for individuals with good GPAs- and again, for grad school. Another thing you can do is to shape your mindset to recognize that you’re only in school for such a short amount of time: 4-5 years or a little bit more.

Know that your time in college is crunch time, and that it’s only for a short time frame. So it’s okay to press hard and study as a college student. As you have exams come up, know that you only have a small window of time to study. So after that it’s going to be over with and you could have a little bit more freedom in hanging out with your friends and doing activities that you enjoy. So use that small amount of time to study because you know, it’s not going to last forever.

The closer you get to the time that you’re taking your exam, you know that that’s when the pressure really comes. And you know that you have no choice – but to study. So sometimes when you only have like a day or two left to study that pressure is actually helpful to get you going in studying the material. Another thing you could do is to make up your mind and say that you are not going to allow distractions to come in the way. So it requires a lot of discipline.

We tend to be a little bit addicted to our phones and always flicking through especially when we get so overwhelmed with studying, we want to take a little break and we want to go on social media or just use our phones, But make the decision to say okay, I’m only going to stay on social media for 15 minutes before I study and then 15 minutes during my break time and then the next day, you could repeat the cycle if you have to study again.

So just making the decision that you’re going to limit your engagement on social media until you’re done studying. Just know that if that phone is near you, you might get tempted to pick it up. If you have spent like your 15-20 minutes on social media before diving into study, what you can do is just take your phone a little bit far away from you where you can’t see it or you tuck it in somewhere or you leave it in the main area of your apartment or your dorm room or your home, just leave it somewhere and then go into the next room without your phone without those distractions. That could also be very helpful in keeping you on task.

Another thing you could do is to team up with a friend. Go to the library and study. Because when you team up with someone, it increases the accountability. So if you have someone else who is studying that can motivate you to also study because you know that you’re not in this alone and it can feel a little bit more fun to be with someone else who has to study as well and it just makes the process a little bit less daunting and more fun.

Once you’re done studying and you’ve achieved your goal of staying focused with studying, reward yourself. Treat yourself to a movie on Netflix or some sort of snack, or a chance to hang out with your friends, or something at Starbucks. Whatever you name as your reward, reward yourself. And that could also increase your motivation to study on time or to study without distractions. Give yourself some sort of incentive.

Something else you could do is to tell your parents or your friends to hold you accountable. If your friends see you on social media, tell them to call you out and say you need to get on social media you said you wanted to study, why aren’t you studying? And tell your parents you know, the timeline for when your exam is and for them to check in on you, make sure you’re okay, and to hold you accountable and ask you okay, have you studied? Did you get to put in two hours of studying as you wanted to? Allow someone to hold you accountable and to do those check ins because again, accountability is really key in keeping you motivated to study.

Another thing I would suggest if you’re a spiritual person, pray to your higher being. Some people believe that once they pray to their higher being and surrender some of their anxieties, like taking a test and to ask for grace and favor for that test. What you do is you release a little bit of accountability in a sense to that higher being so that you could do your part in studying and allow your higher being to do their part in supporting you and helping you through that process.

Prayer for many is like meditation, right and just connecting to a higher power which can give you a sense of peace and lessen your anxiety and just feel that you are supported by something greater than yourself. So that’s another thing you can consider doing is to be in prayer or to meditate.

Oftentimes, a lot of students perform better when they’re under pressure. So don’t blame yourself if you are procrastinating. Sometimes people are successful in that way. But if you know you need a little bit more time to study and to get familiar with the material, because it’s just really very challenging, make sure you allot earlier times to study. But if procrastination works for you, I wouldn’t feel so bad about that. Because honestly, that works for many people. That pressure makes you perform better.

And with procrastination, you may actually be thinking about how to structure your studying. So even though you’re not studying when you think you’re supposed to be studying, maybe in the back of your head, you’re kind of structuring what the studying will look like and piecing it together before you actually dive in. Some people confuse procrastination with actually mapping out what the study structure would look like. Know that that exists. Overall, just don’t blame yourself, if you’re procrastinating. If that works for you, it works for you. As long as you’re thinking about how you’re going to go about studying, that’s great.

And sometimes you might be procrastinating because it’s really scary to think about what you believe feels daunting. I mean, studying feels very daunting for a lot of people. So that’s why they may procrastinate because you’re kind of dreading that process. If you’re able to find a way to recognize that studying is just for a short time frame and to go ahead and dive into it, if you do need a little bit more time to study because the subject matter is pretty complex, or if starting at a later time to study works for you and you’re still able to achieve the grades you’re looking for, then so be it.

Now here’s another one of my favorites to find motivation to study. Go for a walk. Change your environments. Sometimes that really helps to gain new energy and to be in a different setting that gives you a different feeling and to break the monotony of what you might be doing in staying in your apartment, in your home, in your dorm room to just take a walk and start piecing together in your mind what the structure of studying might look like, what you want to start with first. Are you going to use flashcards? Are you going to pair up with a buddy? Take a walk to start planning that stuff out and thinking about it. It just raises your mental energy by changing your environments. So that’s something else you can consider.

Another thing that can help you feel more motivated and feel that the studying process is less daunting is to commit to a single task at a time. Don’t try to do too much at once. Pick something that you want to focus on and just hone in on that particular task. That makes it more feasible. You could achieve more that way. and it doesn’t have to feel so stressful, overwhelming and cumbersome. And you know, I’m really getting into the how- how to study. But just giving you a little bit of feedback, but it still helps to motivate you to study if you also clear your working space. If you have less clutter, you may feel less stressed. You may be able to focus better and just feel better about the process of studying. Because if you start off with a space that’s very cluttered, and there’s no place for you to place your laptop or your notes, it’s likely going to feel really uncomfortable for you. So it’s best to again, clear your space. Only allow what you’re studying to be in your face. And try to commit to a single task in studying rather than dabbling and many things at once.

My next piece of feedback for you is to just keep in mind that even if you study hard, even if you don’t make a good grade or the desired grade that you’re hoping for on an exam or a paper, know that your grades do not determine your self-worth. Your grades don’t determine your value. I know it’s important to get those high GPAs is if you want to get into grad school or if you want to be more competitive when you’re out there searching for a position, but there are so many other things about you that are wonderful that you could certainly market and pat yourself on the back to know that you tried your hardest.

You did your best. And there are other opportunities to redeem yourself. But do not beat yourself up because that doesn’t determine how smart you are if you make a bad grade. It doesn’t determine any of that. It doesn’t determine your self-worth. You’re still an important, necessary, and worthy, valuable individual. So just give yourself a chance to do better next time. It’s okay it’s a learning process, right? You’re not going to pass every single thing, every single exam, every single paper, everything is a learning opportunity. If you don’t make that desirable grades, say, “uh, at least I tried and that’s what I’m really proud of, and next time I’ll re-strategize and do better.” Simple as that.

My last piece of feedback for you is to just simply know that nothing in life is ever that serious. Not even studying. Not even that high GPA. It’s serious, yeah. It’s important. But it’s not so important to the point where you are over-stressing. You’re not engaging in self-care. You’re not setting those boundaries. Nothing in life is ever that serious to the point where it’s going to stress you out to the point where it’s going to cause you distress and anxiety.

I don’t want it to get to that point for you. So just try to apply some of these tips, the ones that you believe can work for you, and know that your grades do not determine your self-worth. So I’m wishing you the best of luck in studying. I know you can totally do it. And if you don’t do as well as you want to, guess what? There’s an opportunity to do better next time. Hopefully these tips for getting motivated to study are helpful for you. Try them out and see how they work for you. I’d love to get your feedback or any ideas you may have. Just reach out to me. I’m curious to know.

So questions for you: When do you plan on studying? How will you structure your studying? Why do you feel that it’s important to study? Write those things down for yourself? Are you willing to put down your smartphone or any other distractions to make sure you have ample time to study? Who will you study with? Who you team up with? Who will you allow to hold you accountable, to check in on you, to make sure you are achieving your studying goals? How will you shape your mindset around studying? And lastly, will you commit to knowing that you are worthy and valuable? No matter what your grades end up being after studying.

I definitely know that you have the capacity to achieve all of your studying goals. Well, that’s it Thrivers. I invite you to connect with me at thriveinpodcast.com, where you’ll find amazing resources just for you. If you’re interested in being coached, feel free to connect with me using the contact form on my website, collegelifecoach.info. If you love what you’ve heard during this session, I encourage you to rate and review the podcast on Apple podcasts. This is going to help other college goers find this show and learn more about it.

Now, don’t you want all your friends to find the motivation to study? Be sure to share this with a friend and send me a message on topics you’d like me to speak about. Feel free to follow and Like me on social media at the handle @DRIJCLC which stands for Dr. IJ, College Life Coach again that’s the @DRIJCLC. I’m wishing you a safe, happy, and thriving week! Join me for the next session. Love you.

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