How to rekindle your motivation flame! (Dear Jess)

by Jessica Holsman

Dear Jess,

Over the past few months I've had no motivation to study. In my early years of secondary school, you'd find me in my bedroom all day studying to my heart's content but more recently I just can't find the motivation.

How do I find that motivation again? Is it too late? Should I just give up?

Please help me Jess, I don't know what to do.

Yours sincerely,

Anonymous x

Hi Lovely,

I'm sure a lot of students can relate! In fact, while I was a highly conscientious and driven student throughout high school and uni, I can also remember having days or weeks where the last thing I wanted to do was study. Shocking! I know! While sometimes hard to believe, every so often, my motivation would take a mini vacation and leave me behind with a massive and unfinished pile of work! (How rude!)

You mentioned that you were a very conscientious student during your early years of secondary school. Do you think there is anything in particular that might have changed and resulted in you losing your motivation to study? Sometimes we can pinpoint what is affecting our productivity and will to get working and apply ourselves. Whether it's challenges around self comparison, perfection, fear of failure, or even burn out, when we do this, it becomes much easier to come up with an effective plan to overcome the problem.

Personally, I found that when a subject was particularly challenging, I would lack the motivation to study. I think this was mainly because I hated not being able to grasp new information as quickly as I had become accustomed to. If I fell behind, I noticed I'd feel a sense of defeat and almost want to give up... If this is the case for you, perhaps you might like to also speak to your teachers and see if they can go over the material with you and break down the complex concepts and information? This can help to make the workload a lot more manageable. I remember that after I reached out to my teachers for some extra help and also started seeing a tutor once a week for maths, I felt much more confidant to tackle the workload myself and was a lot more productive again!

Other than that, I also noticed my motivation was lacking when I felt quite overworked and overwhelmed. Having too many things to juggle (homework, assignments, extra curricular, social engagements etc.) can also be paralysing, no matter how much we enjoy doing each one. It’s important to work out a schedule that ensures you have enough time to do what is most important and not spread yourself too thin or run the risk of burning out.

I'm not sure if either of the above might relate to your situation but perhaps there is something else that's impacting your motivation day-to-day? Have a think and even consider chatting to a family member to help give you more clarity and insight into what might be holding you back.

Oh, and one last thing! I'm wondering if you currently have a study schedule planned out? I found that once I got to university and begun scheduling little study appointments into my diary, I began to complete my work much faster and procrastinate a lot less. I think that writing down mini study blocks can help hold ourselves accountable and also allows us to see that free time is just around the corner. I'd do my best to stick to my schedule and over time it became part of my daily routine. I felt less stressed because I could see that I'd allowed enough time for everything to get done, while also ensuring some blank space for well-deserved free time. If you don't have a study schedule, I highly recommend you spend some time drawing one up (almost like an after school timetable) to help you get into the study groove, despite not feeling your usual motivated self. 

I have no doubt that you are an incredibly capable and driven student and I'm confident that once you identify what's holding you back, there'll be no stopping you!

Best of luck with your studies!

Love, Jess x