Even with the best intentions, staying motivated can be tough with everything you’ve got going on. Whether it’s stress at work, a constant busy schedule at home, a lack of energy, or a combination of all three, staying on track in school can become a real hindrance.
So how can you stay motivated to achieve your goals when your to-do list at home spills to two pages, or busy days at the office drain any desire you have to study at night? Here are six motivational strategies for students you can use to stay on the right track:
Strategy 1: Plan for Fading Motivation
At some point during your studies, it’s inevitable you’ll need a boost of stimulation to keep going. Before exhaustion, stress, and temporary road blocks disrupt your path to success, plan for how you’ll defeat these deterrents. Invoke inspiring outlets such as:
- Going for a bike ride
- Calling your best friend
- Reading uplifting quotes
- Attending a yoga class
- Having company over
- Cooking a new recipe
- Taking a nature hike
To keep advancing toward your goal, take time away to regroup and recharge – even if it’s just for five minutes.
Strategy 2: Visualize Your Goals
Professional athletes visualize every detail of achieving their goals: the sound of the crowd, the wind blowing through their hair, the sweat dripping down their face. Visualize your own outcome down to the most precise detail; see it, feel it, actualize it. Use your imagination to create a vision of living out your goals and how you’ll make them happen.
Strategy 3: Place Your Goals Everywhere
You need to remain grounded in your goals. With the multitude of distractions that enter our busy lives every day, it’s not difficult to veer off course. Hang your goals in places you see multiple times a day:
- Place a sticky note on your computer screen.
- Slip your goals into your purse or wallet.
- Prop your goals by your car’s dashboard.
- Write your goals on your bathroom mirror.
- Set alarms on your phone to sound off your goals throughout the day.
Strategy 4: Set Intermediary Targets
While your dreams may be big and exciting, it’s important to acknowledge that big dreams don’t come to fruition all at once. They’re built by reaching intermediary targets. To do this, break your big goal(s) down into small, realistic benchmarks, and focus on one at a time.
Setting a target involves:
- Knowing where you are now. How tied up are you? What all are you balancing at once?
- Knowing what you are trying to accomplish. Are you trying to start a new career? Graduate in 24 months? Get a promotion upon graduation?
- Determining how you will achieve your goals. What challenging, yet attainable, stepping stones can you hit to move toward your end result? Your intermediary targets may look like:
- Focus on one class at a time.
- Set one-on-one monthly meetings with my instructors to discuss my performance and steps I can take to improve my grades.
- Apply one learned skill per month to my current responsibilities at work.
Strategy 5: Change Your Scenery
Your schedule can become repetitive. You may drive the same route to work, sit in the same office, talk to the same people, and come home to study in the same room every night. While this consistency sets structure, your motivation and creativity levels will occasionally benefit from a change in scenery. Alter your environment by:
- Taking a different route to work.
- Listening to a different radio station.
- Rearranging the items on your desk.
- Inviting a co-worker you’d like to get to know better to lunch.
- Exercising at a different park.
- Studying at a café or library.
Strategy 6: Acknowledge your Accomplishments
Did you finish a large project? Learn something new? Complete an intermediary target? Instead of moving on to your next task right away, slow down and acknowledge what you’ve accomplished. Remind yourself of the hurdles you overcame and consider the strong character traits you developed or had to rely on in order to achieve this new height.
Celebrate even the smallest success; the positive feelings will keep you motivated and energized to move on to the next project.
Don’t let your hard work suffer from a momentary lapse of motivation. Connect with classmates and instructors to stay inspired to achieve your education goals through OBC’s close-knit community.
If you’re thinking about returning to school to reach new professional heights, take the first step today. Find your program fit and contact OBC to get your questions answered or to learn how to enroll.