Many college students have been there before: You’re overwhelmed with school and everything else in your life. Maybe the problem is new to you, and you’ve “lost steam” for a reason you can’t exactly pinpoint. Or maybe you’ve become discouraged with one or more classes and have fallen into a rut.
Whatever the case, it’s time to get yourself back on track. Here are a few tips to boost your motivation and sustain it for the long term:
Check the ‘vitals.’
Pay attention to the obvious factors that might hinder your motivation: sickness, depression, anxiety, or problems resulting from an unhealthy lifestyle. If you’re also feeling sad or not yourself, don’t ignore it. Visit the counseling center. If you feel physically ill or exhausted, schedule an appointment with your doctor to check that there’s nothing else going on.
Write a list of tasks you especially find difficult.
Start paying attention to the things that you have no problem doing and those that are a struggle for you. Do you enjoy a class but have a hard time motivating to do the homework? Do you like the idea of a career path but find that the classes you must take to get there are painful? Pinpoint the source of your motivation problems so you can take steps to address them.
Become a disciplined prioritizer.
Prioritizing your task list every day helps you stay focused and productive, even when you’d rather be doing something else. Check out digital tools to help you, such as Any.do. At a minimum, get into the habit of maintaining a running to-do list. That list should divide your tasks into what must be done today, tomorrow, this week, or later. Each day, put the most important items at the top of the list. Schedule your day and block out time for everything: school, studying, homework, eating, downtime, etc.
There’s no doubt that most of us are more inspired to continue working hard when we have something to work toward. Write down your goals and the steps you plan to reach them. Acknowledge the roadblocks that might be standing in your way and make plans for how you intend to get around them.
Keep the big picture in mind.
Similar to goal setting, it helps to periodically take a step back and think about the bigger purpose of the things you’re doing that you don’t particularly enjoy. If you plan to become an engineer one day, that writing class will help you become a better communicator. If you’re dredging through a few classes you don’t love, remind yourself of the ways these classes will equip you for future course work.
Maintain a positive attitude.
In college, it’s easy to become discouraged by a bad test score or class grade. Don’t let those setbacks bring you down too much. Every failure is a chance to learn and grow and adjust as you go forward. Treat them as such and you’ll improve your mental fortitude and make the college experience that much better.
Stick to a routine.
Half of maintaining motivation is staying the course! Make sure you establish a reliable daily routine that makes school a priority but also incorporates time to take care of your physical and mental well-being. When you find yourself veering off course, remember to recommit to the routine to stay on task.
You came to FRCC for a reason—maybe that’s to change careers, learn new skills, or begin your college journey. Don’t give up when the going gets tough. If you’ve lost motivation, refer to this list to help revive your drive. You’ll be glad you did!