The integration of excellent motivation methods and the knowledge on how to get motivated to study can have a very positive effect for a student’s studies. A motivated student will find it easier to do all the necessary tasks that need to be done; it will especially allow students to study a lot more focused and with more concentration. Motivating yourself to study is especially helpful when you feel a lack of motivation or face procrastination during your studies.

The following tips on how to study effectively will help you to become motivated to study and to beat procrastination!


motvation techniques to study

Effective Motivation Techniques for Students

How to become motivated to study?

I. The motivational power of having a goal!

One of the most effective motivational techniques students can apply is to set themselves well thought-out goals and objectives. These aims could be either short-term goals (e.g. about an upcoming exam) or long-term goals (e.g. about the achievements you want to reach during your studies in the university). Objectives and aims are one of the best sources of motivation, as they will keep you focused and enable you to “do whatever it takes” to accomplish your goals. Furthermore, cleverly chosen objectives will inspire you to greater heights, allowing you to reach your true potential. A very positive side-effect of an excellent goal is that it will drastically increase your perseverance.

Important tips for goal setting:

  • #1 Write your goals down
  • #2 Avoid vagueness, negations and necessities
  • #3 Split complex goals into main targets and sub-goals
  • #4 State how you intent to achieve your goal
  • #5 Visualize the accomplishment of your objective and what it feels like
  • #6 Gratification: reward yourself once the goal is reached

For more details and an in-depth explanation on the above named aspects of the best goal setting strategies, visit How to set goals effectively?

II. Gratification: Reward yourself!

Personally, I don’t consider the act of rewarding oneself – once a goal is accomplished – as a motivational technique for students per se, but the positive effect that a gratification can have on your motivation to study is stupendous, hence I have no other choice than including the fantastic aspect of gratification into this article. If you feel the urge to become motivated to study, set yourself a goal (as discussed in I. The motivational power of having a goal) and determine an appropriate reward once the objective is accomplished. It’s really that simple, but so effective. By rewarding yourself, whenever a goal is achieved, your brain elicits positive emotions, leading to the realization that an effort results in a positive reward. Furthermore, you will – consciously or subconsciously – recognize that a high effort will result in an even more positive gratification. In accord with the formula {high effort + accomplishment of the objective = gratification} you start linking hard work with a gratification. Basically, you will associate upcoming challenges (and necessary efforts to reach a goal) as another chance to get rewarded (= positive emotions). Hence you increase your motivation to study hard which allows you to maintain your motivation on a high level, until the objective is accomplished. Also, your willingness to make an expenditure (e.g. studying) in order to accomplish the objective (e.g. an excellent grade) will raise, when having a reward in mind that you have desired for long. 

Please keep in mind that this method can only stir your motivation to study as long as you apply the simple rule: {demanding objective = glorious reward} and {simple goal = small reward}. Also, it’s crucial that you DO NOT reward yourself if you fail and if you were not able to reach the objective as determined. Furthermore, the reward should be received once the goal is reached, not any time prior to this.

Important tips for rewarding yourself to become motivated to study:

  • #1 Set a goal & determine an appropriate reward for it’s accomplishment
  • #2 Associate the efforts you take with the positive reward
  • #3 Ambitious challenges require outstanding rewards
  • #4 Basic objectives should only be rewarded slightly
  • #5 Do not allow yourself to receive a reward if you fail
  • #6 Reward yourself subsequently after achieving the goal  

III. Just do it & start studying

I know that whenever you feel a lack of motivation to get started with studying there are a dozen other activities that sound by far more interesting than studying. Sometimes you would rather watch TV, an episode of your favorite sitcom, the new movie that has hit cinemas, listen to music or hang out with your friends. The simple trick to overcome this dilemma is to just get going. Start studying, no matter what. “Boost” yourself to get started with studying, no matter if you feel tired or if the teaching material isn’t interesting at all.

“It doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you get going.”

Why am I recommending “to just do it“, whenever you lack the motivation to study? Simply because it will allow you to free your mind from all kinds of negative thoughts about being lazy or lacking the right motivation. Basically, instead of wasting important time worrying about being unenthusiastic and lazy (in short: playing the victim) you take action. You will notice that once you’re getting started “just for a couple of minutes“, time will fly by and you will get used to your tasks. Once you got into the habit of studying, it will feel just natural after a while to remain on your tasks for longer periods of time.

Important tips to just get started with studying:

  • #1Force” yourself to do 15-20 minutes of studying for now
  • #2 Don’t agonize yourself by picturing the alternatives to studying
  • #3 Try not to procrastinate.
  • #4 The more you focus on your task, the faster you’re finished
  • #5 Imagine the negative consequences of prolonging studying
  • #6 If you’re tired, get up and jump on the spot, take a shower (or the like)
  • #7 Prevent distractions (TV, internet, email, telephone, smartphone)

IV. One step at a time – avoid prolonging

Let’s face it, one of the main reasons we students are not very enthusiastic about studying is the fact that we prolong the start of the necessary study work for too long. As a result, we fail to grasp the subsequent teaching and learning contents, which forces us to become self-tutors that have to teach themselves everything that was missed. In the end, that’s a very time-consumptive method of studying, and a direct result of prolonging studying. The alternative is to constantly keep up with your tasks in college or university on a daily basis. This – by all means – doesn’t suggest that you will have to study for hours each day, from the beginning to the end. Instead, it means that you keep going one step at a time, which allows you to grasp subsequent contents and to stay ahead with your tasks. If it takes you 10 minutes each day to organize and revise the contents you learned in the present day, that’s fine!  That way, you will understand what’s being discussed, thereby you can avoid the accumulation of gaps in knowledge.

Motivational techniques for students

Strategies for motivating yourself to study

At the beginning of your term, you could write down the specific goals you aim to accomplish (as discussed in I. The motivational power of having a goal). Consider this to be your letter of motivation for the upcoming semester. Whenever you feel a lack of motivation, or disinterest in studying, grab this letter and reassure yourself of the higher purpose on why you are studying. Realize that you have a “once in a lifetime” opportunity; you are young and entitled to study, so you might as well make the best of it by working and studying hard and by doing the best you can to get accepted at the destination of your choice. Otherwise, you might regret it at a later point in time.

V. Music – there is no easier way to get motivated

Music is a wonderful way to stir your motivation, as it elicits positive emotions. If chosen wisely, a song can get you powerfully motivated to study; it can cause a spirit of optimism which evokes the epic feeling of being able to do anything. When compared with other techniques to get motivated to study, listening to music is by far the simplest way to become excited of studying. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t opt for ballads, chill-out or lounge music. Instead, choose songs that you find motivating and inspiring, songs that immediately energize your whole body and make you smile from ear to ear. So, grab your headphones, turn on  your stereo equipment and listen to some fantastic songs, for instance Jorge Quintero’s 300 violin orchestra:

I really hope you like the song and if it stirred motivation then it’s even the better! In general, you can listen to any kind of music, as long as it energizes you, makes you happy and increases your motivation to “get going”. In the following, I’ve prepared a short list of suggestions for music that could help you to get motivated to study.

Suggestions of very motivational songs:

  • #1 Steve JablonskyArrival to Earth (Transformers Soundtrack)
  • #2 Daft PunkThe Game has Changed (Tron: Legacy Soundtrack)
  • #3 Hans ZimmerTime (Inception Soundtrack)
  • #4 Paul EngemannPush it to the Limit
  • #5 Nas ft. P. DiddyHate me now
  • #6 QueenWe Will Rock You
  • #7 Phil CollinsIn the Air Tonight
  • #8 ACDCThunderstruck
  • #9 BlurSong 2

Hopefully I covered a broad range of tastes in music, for further suggestions see The Best and Inspiring Orchestral Movie Soundtracks and the Most Motivational Songs.

VI. How bad do you want to succeed?

The foundation of all motivation – not only the motivation to study – will make or break with one question, How bad do you want to succeed?“. If you want something bad enough and you really want it to happen, you are motivated to the hilt. It’s as simple as that; you know it and I know it. The question is, do you really – thoroughly – want to succeed in your graduation or study? And if not, why is that? Get to the bottom of this question and find out what you can do to make you want to succeed in school, college or university. Focus on the higher purpose of your education, i.e. getting enrolled in your favorite college/university, earning an door-opening degree or being recruited by that top employer you ever dreamed of. If you want to succeed in life bad enough, some lack of motivation to study will not be a difficult obstacle to overcome, will it?

Important tips to increase your desire to succeed:

  • #1 Find out the reason why you are studying!
  • #2 What is your driving desire to succeed in school, college or univ.?
  • #3 Where do you want to be after finishing your education?

VII. A positive approach!

Your attitudes and mindsets about university/college can have a huge impact on your motivation! Having a mindset like: “University is a place where I face daily anxieties and get mentally tortured by all my professors.” is not helpful and will not help you to get motivated. But if you have a positive attitude towards your studies (e.g. you see university/college as a chance to gain important knowledge, to develop yourself and to get ready to start your career) you will be able to boost motivation, just by having a positive attitude towards it. A positive approach towards your studies, your fellow students and professors will help you to keep your academic motivation on a constant high level.

VIII. Negative feelings can kill your motivation!

You will be confronted during your studies – every once in a while – with negative emotions such as anger, anxiety and disappointment. These emotions can decrease your motivation drastically, which means you will begin to lack drive with negative results for your studies. My tip for you is to not waste your precious time and energy on negative feelings/emotions and attitudes towards professors, fellow students or situations you neither can change nor control. A lot of professors can be a real pain (see: How to deal with difficult professor personalities). The constant pressure to perform or the lack in social skills of some can be very frustrating. However, you are not able to change them, so anger would be an unnecessary and inefficient reaction towards their behavior. Pay their negative behavior back with excellent marks, instead! Anything else is contra productive (for you). The “pay back” attitude is also an interesting method for those who want to transform their negative emotions into even more motivation to study.

IX. True interest!

Another very effective motivational element that helps you to get motivated to study is your interest in the subject. True interest! If you are able to develop a true interest in what you are studying it will help you in becoming very motivated! If you know the difference between a task you dislike and an assignment you enjoy you know what I mean!

Important tips to become truly interestd in studying:

  • #1 Get curious about the subject
  • #2 Read interesting books, magazines or articles on the topic
  • #3 Team up with others that are interested in the subject

X. Beat procrastination and distraction!

Procrastination – or any kinds of distractions – can have a negative influence on your ability to get motivated to study in general. Therefore it is important that you create a space to study where you do not get distracted by any means. Just by sitting in a room where you cannot procrastinate or distract yourself will help you to get started with your studies. Cut out any kind of distraction (TV, radio, mobile phone, internet, telephone, etc.) that could interrupt you while studying.

The above mentioned motivation techniques will help you to know how to get motivated to study!


The article “Ultimate Motivation Techniques – How to motivate yourself effectively” will show you 10 in-depth techniques that will boost your motivation!

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  1. Vishal (Reply) on Nov 25, 2014

    Sir,

    Myself Vishal and age is 30.I have done my graduation and even i am married.

    The problem here is,

    1. I want to continue my education and do higher studies,but i am not able to focus or concentrate.

    2. The reason is i am married and even my brain is not able to concentrate.

    3.I am too much addicted to movies(all sorts) and for a week i try to distance from that but again i start addicted to it.

    4.Even though i know too much is too bad,i am not able to control it and it has become addiction to me.

    5.Nowadays there are lots of Negative Thoughts too.

    Sir,Please let me know how to control mind and focus on studies and get rid of Bad Habits and thoughts,as the Roots cause for all the problem is this Negative thoughts and Bad Habits.

    Regards,
    Vishal.

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Nov 25, 2014

      Hi, it’s very good that you have already identified what the problem is: watching too many movies. Now what you might not have considered is that the movies create a vicious circle if you so want. Because quite frankly when I watch a dramatic movie I have great issues in controlling my mind after wards. All kinds of thoughts will emerge and some of these thoughts are quite negative in their nature. So if you write that you are even addicted to watching movies this might even worsen in your situation, as watching many movies will decrease your concentration and also have negative effects on your mind control.

      In my opinion, the movie problem is the problem you will have to tackle in order to improve your concentration and ability to focus. It is difficult, because studying seems when compared to watching movies pretty boring.

      But if you make this effort and reduce the number of movies you watch drastically, you will be able to make quick progress. The only thing is that it will take a lot of will power to stop watching movies.

      Something that might also help you to strengthen your concentration is meditation, as this really helps you to learn techniques to focus your mind and to work lets go of negative thoughts.

  2. Vishal (Reply) on Nov 27, 2014

    Thanks a lot Sir,from now onwards i will try to reduce watching movies and even try to start practicing meditation.So that i can overcome these problems.

    Regards,
    Vishal

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Nov 28, 2014

      You’re welcome, I know that you can make it. Just keep going and never lose your goal out of sight.

  3. Mamoni. (Reply) on Dec 28, 2014

    Hi! I asked about my problem in another blog of yours. But i think i got my answer in this article. What i need is Motivation! Its so nice to control my mind & studying effectively. This tips are very helpful. I will definitely follow them.

    Thanks so much for the amazing writing.

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Dec 30, 2014

      You’re welcome, I hope the article can help you. But you can feel free to ask right away if you should have any questions left. I’m glad to help.

  4. ash (Reply) on Jan 6, 2015

    Whenever I start to study….. What comes to my mind is ‘I have completed just few pages but there are still sooo much left and not enough time!!!!!!’. I keep thinking about how much things I could have finished if I had started before…. This attitude of mine really nags me so much that I stop my studies . . I have big dreams in my life … I am motivated so much in my college…. But at home it is just the opposite…. Do give any suggestion to change this..

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Jan 9, 2015

      The solution to this problem is clearly that you need to plan a lot more time for studying. If you give more time then you will be able to avoid the problems that you describe. This will give you a lot more time for studying and in turn will decrease your fear of not being able to finish all the tasks you need to do. The other problem seems to be that you somehow have a environment at home that decreases your motivation or drive for studying. Now this is up to you, because you will have to look around and see what the cause for this problem is. Is it may be that there is something that distracts you? Television etc.? Then try to get rid of these distractions.

  5. ash (Reply) on Jan 6, 2015

    I have very important exam next month. I know I can do it but the thing is whenever I try to imagine the contents of what I read, all other sorts of fantasy come to my mind and I end up daydreaming. Also when I try to meditate this fantasy keeps happening . I had this habit from my pasts and now it seems interfering in my studies . I have a wandering mind…. Do give me suggestions

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Jan 9, 2015

      Regarding the fantasies that come to mind: that’s a difficult issue and I also have to face it many times. But in the end it is all about concentration. If you are able to concentrate these fantasies might come to mind, but they’ve been not distract you because you can easily turn them of again. Now you have to ask yourself the question what it is that distracts you so much that you begin with your daydreams. I have the feeling that when I watch a lot of television or spend a lot of time surfing on the Internet or doing similar activities, these kind of daydreams drastically increase. So what else for me is to try my best to concentrate myself on my studies, while neglecting those activities that cause my mind to be stirred up.

  6. ash (Reply) on Jan 6, 2015

    hi sir, when I try to study I end up daydreaming. I am motivated only in college but at home its the opposite . I find it difficult to start studying. also I find it hard to manage time . when I put up a study time table and at times(many times I dont) when I do not follow it I end yp closing my books.

  7. kindaichi (Reply) on Jan 7, 2015

    i am finding it difficult to concentrate while studying .i am easily getting distracted at home. i do not know whether it is overconfidence or laziness that is hindering my studies.

  8. ash (Reply) on Jan 7, 2015

    I am not able to focus my mind on studies. I am not even getting scared of exams…. I am 17 and my mind wander quite badly and I daydream a lot

  9. anni (Reply) on Jan 29, 2015

    i did 2year coaching for psu and then i got admission in m.tech. in m.tech,i am not concentrate on my studies. i want to study for government job(psu) but cant do.i have sufficient time. i m fully waste my time.tell me some suggestion what i have to do

    • Steve Mueller (Reply) on Jan 30, 2015

      hi Anni, first of all it’s excellent that you have enough time for studying. That’s something you can build on. Now we have to work on that time wasting issue. But don’t worry about that, with the right tricks you’ll be able to change that as well. Now think about it, you waste your time because there is something that distracts you. And these distractions keep you from studying. So my suggestion for you is to put all your focus on identifying these kind of distractions. What you want to do is to identify these distractions and then to get rid of them during the time you study. Your goal should be that you will not get distracted whenever you study. Now these distractions can vary from television to the Internet or your smart phone, but also thoughts can distract you. This means for you that you will have to apply a combination of willpower (not giving in to distractive thoughts) and self-observance (not allowing yourself to turn on the TV, switch to the Internet etc. etc.) while studying. This will be difficult at first, but it will pay off. Secondly, you could set yourself time periods during which you want to study intensively. Let’s say for the next two hours you want to study. During this time you will have to force itself to not allow any kinds of distractions too divert your focus away from studying. If you manage to put up with this you will be rewarded with a focused study session and after this you could reward yourself by allowing yourself to waste a little time. But only after you finished studying. I hope this helps so far, but few free to contact me again if you have any further questions.


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