By Sheila Battin, Information Literacy Librarian
Summary: Getting motivated and keeping motivated seems like an easy concept, right? Just do it, right? Sometimes, getting focused and keeping focused is easier said than done. No worries. This article has some helpful hints to help you get engaged and keep inspired.
Motivation is a continual love/hate relationship. One day could be sparked with a rush of enthusiasm and persistence to study, study, study. The next day could be the exact opposite – a crash and burn of sorts – zapped energy, no concentration, and a lack of feeling stimulated. The ups and downs of feeling inspired and not so inspired are enough to cause anyone to break a sweat. A former college student myself, I have experienced the highs and lows of motivation. I have some tips to share with you so that you don’t feel the constant pull and tug of motivation.
Goals: “If you don’t know where you are going you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra
Having goals does two things: it gives you a focus and keeps you organized. Once you decide what your goals are, you now have a target to aim for. When setting goals it is important to start out small, be specific, and set realistic and attainable goals.
Time: “Your time is a valuable resource.” – Bill Gates
Along with having a focus which gives you direction and organization which helps to keep you on your designated path, time is of the essence. Not only should you balance your time wisely but be selfish with your time. Effective time management will allow you to achieve your goals with reduced stress. Be sure to give yourself practical deadlines for your goals and projects.
No: “It comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much.” – Steve Jobs
It is so easy to say yes to 1,000 things. When you do this you don’t have time for you, your stuff, and your studying. This is one way stress begins to creep in. Don’t take your eye off the prize. Remain committed to your focus and motivated to achieve your goals. Don’t sacrifice all that is important to you. Be selective in your commitments. Don’t let your goals become obstacles just because you felt you couldn’t say no. Stay focused, stay determined.
Distractions: “By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.” – Christopher Columbus
In particular, while pursuing my undergraduate and graduate degrees, eliminating distractions became important for me to get motivated and keep motivated.
Some of the ways I removed distractions:
• Your study place: I found a place to study and the only thing I did in this place was study.
• Quiet space: My study place was very peaceful and quiet and had very few people around which in turn eliminated most noise and sound.
• Only take what you need: When it came to my studies, I took the bare essentials. Limit the technology you carry with you. Ask yourself what technology is absolutely needed for your studies and if it will be a distraction.
• Avoid all social media unless related to your studies. Social media can be a distraction you don’t need.
Positive Thinking and Positive Language:
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits.
Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Both can be powerful and empowering. You are your self’s best cheerleader. Phrases like, “You can do it” and “You got this” will go a long way in getting and keeping you motivated. It will also bring focus to your thoughts, words, behavior, habits, and values and keep all of these in check to help you achieve your goals and ultimately keep you motivated. Practice your positivity and it will become a regular habit.
Rewards: “For every disciplined effort, there is a multiple reward.” – Jim Rohn
Hard work and endurance pay off. No hard work goes unrewarded. Establish incentives for yourself as you make progress toward your goals. It is important to acknowledge yourself and your success. Celebrate achievements. Your rewards don’t have to be outrageous either. Rewards can be your favorite candy bar or dinner out with a friend. The ultimate win-win is achieving the goal but small rewards along the way for achieved progress towards the goal is practical and a worthwhile way to keep the motivation going strong.
Final Reminders: “Get going. Move forward. Aim high. Plan a takeoff. Don’t just sit on the runway and hope someone will come along and push the airplane. It simply won’t happen. Change your attitude and gain some altitude. Believe me, you’ll love it up here,” – Donald Trump.
Learning these crucial tips in order to get motivated and keep motivated throughout my college career became essential to my college achievements. It is not always easy but practice makes perfect. Being committed and disciplined is of the utmost importance.
So, what are you waiting for? Believe in yourself. As you forge ahead, you are armed with successful tips to help you keep going when the going gets tough.