Updated: Mar 31
The word motivation comes from the Latin movere meaning to move. It’s a nice way to think about motivation – we move towards things that interest us. Currently, some of you might be finding it hard to study at home. Let’s face it, there can be lots of distractions which you might be finding more interesting to move towards such as watching stuff on-line, television or playing computer games. This is not meant as an insult, lots of adults are struggling with this challenge too.
Believe it or not, this crisis provides you with a great opportunity to become more self-motivated. This means you’ll get less pressure from your parents and teachers both now and when you do go back to school. In a few months you’ll find things like doing your homework and even revision much easier if you take some of these ideas on board.
It’s good to aspire to be a self-motivated individual. It’s always sad when you come across someone who has little motivation. They have less energy and end up having less fulfilling lives compared to people who have learned how get the best out of themselves.
So I want to share with you some tips for self-motivating. But first, let’s see whether you actually need these tips by answering the following questions honestly:
Do you feel that you’d like to be more self-motivated?
Would you like to get less pressure from adults such as parents and teachers?
Are you struggling to find the energy to do the work that has been set for you?
If you’ve said “Yes” to any of these questions you’ll hopefully be open to try out some of the tips within this article. So let’s start.
TIP 1: Never Compete With Others
Consider this: If you continuously compete with others, you become bitter, but if you continuously compete with yourself you become better.
Lots of things in our society are based on competition such as business, sport and exams. Competition is good for some things but, at a personal level, if you focus too much on what others are doing it can be damaging to your motivation.
The singer Jay Z once rapped, “I look in the mirror, my only opponent.” That’s a much better way to live your life. There is always going to be someone cleverer than you, faster than you, better looking etc. Equally, there will also always be someone less smart than you, slower and less attractive too. So you’ll either end up feeling that you’re worse than other people or feeling you’re better than them. That’s not a great way to live your life – feeling inferior one minute and superior the next.
The writer Ernest Hemingway once wrote: There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility is being superior to your former self.
Studying can be hard at the best of times but it’s even harder when you think you’re competing with somebody else. You might start thinking to yourself, ‘What’s the point of trying, I’ll never be as good as them’. Instead try to set yourself daily or weekly targets to beat your previous personal best. In sport, if an athlete achieves a personal best they are delighted. So challenge yourself to set personal bests for:
Length of time reading – try to read a little more each day and record this somewhere such as in a journal.
Summaries – try to summarise an article, chapter of a book or a section of an exercise book. Can you try to beat the amount of summaries you can do in a day?
Testing Your Memory – try to test yourself each day on things you’ve previously studied. See if you can beat yesterday’s score!
Note: They’ll be more tips coming about how to improve your Memory and Notetaking within the blog section of our website in the next few weeks.
TIP 2: Talk Yourself Up
Talk to yourself like talking to a friend; encourage yourself, praise yourself and always remind yourself that you are powerful enough to overcome all the challenges that you will encounter in the future. Maya Angelou
One way of doing this is to use daily affirmations. It is a powerful technique that works for many people. An affirmation is a statement that you read and repeat to yourself to help you to feel more positive about something. They help us to rethink or reframe how we think about things. And as our thinking affects our behaviour, it can help move us to doing more of the things that we should be doing such as studying and reading.
Affirmations have three rules. They need to be Personal, Positive and Present Tense. A classic example of a positive affirmation is, “Every day, in every way I’m getting better and better”.
As regards studying you could say things like:
“Every day, I’m enjoying completing the work I’ve been set.”
“I’m loving being an excellent student now.”
“By doing my set work I’m becoming more clever each day.”
“I’m enjoying completing my work as it helps me to achieve my future goals.”
“I’m loving reading more and more each day.”
Choose or create an affirmation that works for you (remember they need to be Personal, Positive and Present Tense) and repeat them to yourself each day. Write them out and they should have a positive impact on your self-motivation because you are telling yourself what you want to be.
Tip 3: Prove Someone Wrong
Is there someone in your life you who thinks you can’t achieve something? For example, achieve a high exam score or get a good job? If this is the case, then aim to prove them wrong. The singer Robbie Williams does this brilliantly here in this poem to his teacher called “Hello Sir”.
Some very successful people have turned rejection and hurt into a positive. It has provided them with a drive that has helped them to achieve success. Famous people such as The Beatles, Bill Gates, JK Rowling and many others have used rejection to motivate them to work even harder. Here’s a list of some pretty amazing people that used rejection to motivate themselves even more.
Is there someone out there who you can prove wrong? Perhaps this be the thing that drives you to work harder than you currently are.
· Never Compete With Others
· Talk Yourself Up
· Prove Someone Wrong
A final thought about self-motivation from the famous actor and martial artist, Bruce Lee.
Action is a high road to self-confidence and self-esteem.
Remember all of these tips take time. But now might be the perfect time to try out one or two of them. If you’re an adult reading this article you can try these ideas for yourself alongside a young person. You can also go to the blog section of our website where you’ll find other tips about studying away from school such as improving time management.