University is a constant rollercoaster with various uphill battles and downward spirals. People come into university with great ambitions and dreams of working in a certain profession, or for a Fortune 500 company of some sort. Overtime though, this spark of ambition fizzles out. Rather than striving towards our initial goals we begin to settle fo whatever comes our way. Reasons for this tend to do with a loss of motivation and inability to see the bigger picture as vividly as we once did. So here are a couple steps you can take to maintain your motivation in university,
Do away with motivational videos/quotes.
When we lack motivation, it’s easy for us to go on Youtube and seek inspiration from motivational speakers. Or we follow quote pages on Instagram, read about 20 quotes, repost them and receive some small sense of purpose. This sense of purpose you feel has no real lasting value. The thing about motivational videos and inspiring quotes is that they only really have extrinsic value. They look good to the eye but they don’t really mean anything. You can watch motivational videos and learn every motivational quote and regurgitate them like a Jedi but they don’t get the work done.
There seems to be a direct correlation between motivational video and procrastination. For some of us, we go 20 videos deep listening to what Tony Robbins said or watching how a 17 year old made an M with his business. We take all that inspiration to do nothing with it. Almost as if watching these videos were our forms of productivity for the day. Rather than focus on what others say to motivate you, find ways to motivate yourself. Be your own driving force.
Find a source of Intrinsic Motivation
We need to find what motivates us. For some of us it’s the satisfaction of seeing a solid grade on a piece of work. For others it might be the end goal i.e. running a hedge fund in Canary Wharf. People get motivated by the material things too; the cars they aim to buy at a certain age for example.
When you find what motivates intrinsically, harvest that. Surround yourself by it. Visualise it, Imagine yourself attaining it. To make this easier fill your room with pictures relating to this thing. Pictures of cars, pictures of your office, a picture of your family. There are days where I have literally no energy left to give, but then I look at my phone’s wallpaper (a penthouse) and I get a little extra boost of energy. We need to find what keeps us going.
Understand that you have to be able to work while demotivated as well
Most people only work when they are motivated. This isn’t sustainable, we will never be motivated at all times. We need to get out of this fantasy and get to working, even if we are not in the mood to. This is what fuels most people procrastination – the lack of motivation. Have you ever forced yourself to do a piece of work that you weren’t in the mood for then later found yourself cruising through it. That’s how life is. It’s usually when we start the work that the motivation kicks, in not before. Start the work then the motivation will come, don’t wait for the motivation to come before you start the work.
Find a way to make things fun
When the work we do is fun, we don’t feel like it’s work. So find a way to make the work you do fun. That could be by having a partner you get along with to work with. Or it could be through watching YouTube videos that teach your course in a fun and more understandable way. You could make your work fun by switching up where you work. It’s not everyday you need to work in a dull library, switch it up a bit. Work in a cafe in town or on the grass in a park with a cold drink (weather permitting). If you can handle it, work intoxicated (you’ll have to face the consequences though).
If you can find a fun way to get things done then you won’t rely on motivation to start working, in fact you’ll look forward to it.
Make sure you’re working towards something you enjoy
Sometimes we get caught up in other people’s dreams for us. Make sure that the goals you’ve set for yourself and the work you do in order to achieve these goals are of your own ambition. Don’t work towards someone else’s goals for them, because no matter how hard you work there will always be that underlying unhappiness and dissatisfaction within you.
Breaks are alright
This is something I’ve been trying to drill into my head a lot more. It’s fine to take a break and feel demotivated. Sometimes when we are working towards goals, we get so engrossed in the journey that we forget to take breaks and eventually burn out. We take on unhealthy habits, we stay couped up in a room trying to pump out assignments on 5 cans of Red Bull, rather than taking a day off or even a couple hours to refresh our mind.
This will have an impact on you mentally, physically and emotionally. Take your breaks and don’t feel bad for doing so. Alongside taking breaks, reward yourself. Order takeaway, go for a meal with a few friends, spark up. Rewards give you something to look forward to and they can serve as your motivator, no matter how small
Like I said, nobody can be constantly motivated, so your job isn’t to seek motivation but create your own motivation and a sustainable way of living and working towards your goals. When you’re driven by ambition you’ll slow shift from being the motivated to the motivator. People around you will aim to improve their lives as they’ve seen you improve yours.
I hope you find what drives you out of bed in the morning and fuels you, whether it’s to do with university or not.
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