No motivation to study? You’re not alone. Many people experience difficulty getting into the mood to study or struggle to start studying. But don’t worry, the following 37 creative ways may be just what you need to regain study motivation!
1. Print out a photo of a graduation hat
You are studying for a reason, most likely to complete your degree. Therefore, it can be immensely motivating to have a constant reminder of why you are studying in the first place, symbolized by your future graduation hat. Place it next to your desk, your fridge, or your bathroom mirror!
2. Study in a library
There is a certain indescribable quality to libraries that fosters an atmosphere conducive to focused study. Libraries can evoke a sense of belonging to a grander whole, characterized by a formal ambience and a profound reverence for books and knowledge. Immersing yourself in a dark academia-inspired library setting has the potential to profoundly influence your motivation and drive.
3. Study in your favorite café
While some people may discover motivation by studying in the serene environment of a library, others may find it more effective to seek inspiration in their preferred café or coffee shop. Associating studying with a pleasurable setting can alter your perception and help you establish a productive studying routine. Indeed, studying becomes a more enjoyable experience when you can immerse yourself in the familiar atmosphere of your favorite place.
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4. Clean your desk
Cleaning is often mocked as the primary activity of procrastinators. However, there is a rationale behind it, and cleaning can actually enhance your motivation to study. It falls under the concept of ‘positive procrastination.’ When you sit down at a meticulously clean and organized desk, free from distractions, it can create a significant impact on your mindset and productivity.
5. Do a workout
You may think that a workout is just a way to avoid studying. However, accomplishing one task can have a positive ripple effect and actually motivate you to continue being productive. Completing a workout can instill a sense of pride and achievement, making it easier to approach your studying with renewed energy. It’s like being on a productive streak, where each accomplishment fuels your motivation to tackle the next task.
6. Reward yourself for studying
Even as an adult, you can employ a clever trick to motivate yourself to tackle unpleasant tasks. Remember the rewards you used to receive as a child for completing difficult chores? Well, the same concept can be applied to studying. Consider treating yourself to your favorite meal or planning a fun night out with your best friend as a reward once you achieve your study targets. This way, you’ll be motivated to make the most of your time and avoid unnecessary delays.
7. Ask your supervisor to give you a tough deadline
Motivation can be elusive, but many of us have experienced moments of incredible productivity when faced with looming deadlines. If you find yourself in this category, you may benefit from external pressure to spur your studying efforts. For example, if you’re working on a thesis, consider requesting your supervisor to establish a series of smaller deadlines. This way, the knowledge that specific tasks must be completed within set timeframes leaves no room for procrastination. Instead of relying solely on motivation, you’ll be compelled to dive into your studies and make progress, knowing that there’s no way around the work that needs to be done.
8. Have a friend check up on you
In addition to other forms of external pressure, a friend can play a crucial role in ensuring your commitment to studying. Better yet, enlist a friend who can hold you accountable and tie your studying progress to a shared reward or activity. This way, there will be significant stakes attached to your studying routine, which can be highly motivating. However, it’s advisable to choose a friend who possesses a firm and strict demeanor, someone who won’t hesitate to remind you of your study goals and keep you in line if you fall short. Their unwavering expectations can provide the necessary push to help you stay on track and maintain your focus.
9. Study in a group to feel less lonely
One of the challenges in starting to study is the sense of isolation that often accompanies it. After all, who enjoys being alone for extended periods? However, it’s important to remember that many others are in the same situation. To address this, consider joining or creating a study group. Establishing ground rules from the outset can be helpful, such as allocating 10 minutes for casual conversation, followed by 45 minutes of dedicated quiet study time. After this focused period, reward yourselves with a coffee break, providing an opportunity to socialize once again. By incorporating social interaction into your study routine, you can combat the loneliness and create a supportive and motivating environment.
10. Listen to study music
Study music has gained immense popularity on platforms like YouTube and Spotify, and its ability to aid concentration is undeniable. Although I cannot precisely explain the science behind it, there is a certain effect that study music has on our brains, allowing us to get into the groove of studying. Typically instrumental and designed to be in the background, study music serves as a companion to our study sessions. Whether it’s the soothing melodies or the way it minimizes distractions, I don’t question its impact—I’m simply grateful that it helps me maintain focus. So, if study music works for you, embrace its benefits and let it create an environment conducive to deep concentration.
11. Turn off your internet connection
Distractions are everywhere, and the internet stands out as one of the biggest culprits. When motivation to study eludes you, it can be a wise decision to temporarily turn off your internet access. This strategy makes sense because consuming short video clips, binge-watching series, or engaging with social media triggers a surge of dopamine, making it tempting to prioritize scrolling over studying. However, with this powerful distraction removed, you are left with an opportunity to channel your focus towards studying and accomplishing your tasks.
12. Quit social media (temporarily)
One effective approach, when completely disconnecting from the internet isn’t feasible, is to consider temporarily quitting social media. At least temporarily. Various apps and tools are available to assist with this endeavor. Initially, it may be challenging to break the habit of checking social media every few minutes, as we have become accustomed to its constant allure. However, with time and consistent effort, you will find it easier to regain motivation to study and maintain concentration.
13. Create a vision board
Vision boards are incredible tools for visualizing and solidifying your personal goals. Many of these goals likely depend on your commitment to studying. Take the time to create a vision board that encapsulates your ultimate motivations and aspirations, and make a habit of looking at it whenever your motivation to study wanes. This visual representation serves as a powerful reminder of why you have chosen to pursue a path that requires diligent studying. It reinforces the significance of your goals and helps you stay focused on the bigger picture.
14. Do self-affirmations
The power of self-affirmations may seem silly to some, but many people swear by them. It’s definitely worth a try, as you have nothing to lose. So repeatedly and confidently tell yourself, out loud, that you are motivated to study and why, and that you’re doing a very good job at it. See what happens!
15. Eat non-sugary protein-rich food
Studying can be significantly challenging when your body lacks proper nutrients. Likewise, consuming meals that are high in sugar and carbohydrates can lead to a subsequent crash, leaving you feeling lethargic and unmotivated. Therefore, it’s important to nourish your body with the right foods, as it can greatly contribute to gaining study motivation. By prioritizing a balanced and nutritious diet, you provide your body with the fuel it needs to function optimally, supporting your focus, energy levels, and overall motivation to study.
16. Listen to white noise
White noise is an absolute game changer if you’re easily distracted, as distractions can greatly reduce your motivation to study. It’s one of those things I wish I had discovered much earlier. White noise can effectively block out the sounds of your talking housemates, people passing by your window, or your social media notifications. When nothing is distracting you, it becomes so much easier to stay motivated and focused on your studies.
17. Buy a nice notebook and colorful post-its
To enhance the studying experience, it’s important to equip yourself with nice pens, papers, notebooks, or post-its. While it may sound trivial, having a pleasant study environment and quality study tools can make a significant difference in your motivation. Remember the excitement you felt as a child when you received new school supplies at the start of the school year? Recreate that feeling by investing in appealing study materials, and you’ll appreciate the impact it has on your motivation and enjoyment of studying.
18. Listen to instrumental movie soundtracks to feel victorious
Movie soundtracks have a remarkable ability to inspire and set the mood for focused work. Consider selecting soundtracks from fantasy movies like Lord of the Rings, which evoke the sensation of embarking on a heroic journey and achieving remarkable feats, because that’s exactly what you’re doing. Alternatively, you can opt for soundtracks from movies like Harry Potter, which transport you to the enchanting atmosphere of Hogwarts and channel the determination of characters like Hermione Granger. Ultimately, the choice of soundtrack is personal and should align with what motivates you the most.
19. Plan your breaks before you study
Planning breaks before you start studying is another game changer when it comes to motivation. It’s much easier to begin a task when you have a clear idea of how long it will take and when you can take breaks. The key is sticking to your plan, which helps prevent exhaustion and reinforces the idea that studying is not as daunting as it may seem. By keeping your own promises of taking regular breaks, you create a positive association with studying and cultivate a sense of accomplishment.
20. Do Pomodoro
The Pomodoro technique is widely recognized and highly effective for studying, and its inclusion in this list is well-deserved. While it may not be the most innovative approach to boosting motivation, its effectiveness has been attested by many. The technique involves breaking study sessions into focused intervals, typically 25 minutes long, followed by short breaks. By implementing the Pomodoro technique, you can optimize your productivity and motivation during study sessions.
21. Dance in your room for 5 minutes
Now, this suggestion may seem peculiar, but trust me and give it a try. Engaging in a brief moment of spontaneous, lighthearted dancing in the privacy of your room can have a remarkable effect on your mood. It may be difficult to believe, but it truly works. Initially, it may feel silly, but the key is to laugh at yourself and let go of any self-consciousness. This liberating experience can leave you feeling uplifted, lighter, and less stressed. By not taking yourself too seriously and breaking free from a monotonous routine, you create an atmosphere that makes it much easier to find the motivation to study. So, take a few minutes to let loose, have a laugh, and watch how it positively impacts your study mindset.
22. Smile to change your mood
Smiling is another simple but effective way to elevate your mood and, consequently, enhance your motivation to study. Studies have shown that the mere physiological changes in your face when you consciously smile can send messages to your brain, leading it to perceive happiness. Not only is this connection fascinating, but you can also harness it to cultivate a study-friendly mindset.
23. Keep track of your accomplishments
Studying can often feel like a never-ending task, making it easy to overlook what you have already accomplished. The presence of an extensive to-do list or study agenda can be demotivating. Instead of solely focusing on what lies ahead, it is important to also maintain a list of everything you have already covered and achieved. Seeing this list grow can be incredibly motivating and helps shift your mindset towards acknowledging your accomplishments rather than solely fixating on what remains to be done. It serves as a reminder of your progress and encourages a positive outlook, empowering you to stay motivated and focused on your studying journey.
24. Print out a calendar where you can cross out every successful study day
Periods that demand intensive studying are typically time-limited. Therefore, printing out a calendar that visually displays the remaining days and the ones you have already completed can significantly enhance motivation. This tangible reminder serves as a constant visual cue that, although studying may not always be enjoyable, you are committed to giving your best effort and working diligently. It reinforces the notion that the current intense study period will eventually come to an end, and you will be able to take pride in your accomplishments. Having a clear timeline in front of you instills a sense of urgency and purpose, bolstering your motivation to stay focused and persevere until the end.
25. Change your location
Studying can become monotonous and dampen motivation if it becomes a repetitive routine. One effective tip to boost motivation is to vary your study location regularly. For instance, begin at your desk, then after two hours, transition to the kitchen. In the afternoon, you could consider meeting up with friends to study at their place, or visit a cafe or library. By changing your study environment throughout the day, you introduce novelty and variety into your study routine. This change of scenery can make a significant difference in your overall motivation and satisfaction by the end of the day.
26. Change your posture
Have you heard of the power pose before going into an interview or giving a presentation? The idea is that a change in your posture can lead to mental changes. While this technique is controversial, we all know the feeling of being sluggish with bad posture on the couch or in bed. But once you get up, move your body, stretch, and keep your head upright, you may feel very different—even about studying. So if you lack motivation, try to create confidence with your posture, even if it is just a placebo effect.
27. Combine movement with studying
There are numerous ways to study, and one method that significantly aids in memory retention is combining studying with movement. For instance, if you need to listen to a lecture recording, why not take your headphones, listen on your phone, and go for a brisk walk? Engaging in physical activity increases the oxygen flow to your brain, making you more alert compared to sitting and staring at a screen continuously. Additionally, you’ll likely feel better and more motivated after your walk. It’s an effective way to boost both your physical and mental well-being while studying.
28. Take a nap (yes, really)
Sleep is incredibly important, so I’m not advocating for napping all the time and never starting to study. However, if you are feeling extremely tired and lacking motivation to study, it is sometimes better to take a (power) nap to refresh yourself and be ready to go afterwards. Just make sure to set an alarm, as you don’t want to accidentally sleep the entire day and disrupt your circadian rhythm. When done correctly, a nap can be incredibly powerful in helping you kickstart your studying.
29. Find an accountability partner
Accountability partners hold you accountable for your actions. For instance, you can pair up with one of your peers. At the beginning of each day, you can have a conversation and share your study goals for the day, afternoon, or even hour. Then, once the designated time is up, you report back to share what you have accomplished. Studying as a solitary activity can be incredibly challenging, but having an accountability partner—someone you know you have to report to at the end of your study time—can be highly motivating.
30. Reward each 1h of studying with an episode of your favorite show
If you have reached a stage where intense studying is necessary, but you struggle to find the motivation to do so, you may benefit from rewarding your study time with an episode of your favorite show. Just ensure that the episode doesn’t take up too much time. In the past, for example, I would reward myself for every completed hour of focused studying by allowing myself to watch one episode of my favorite show, which typically lasts around 25 minutes. So, after a successful afternoon of studying for three hours, I would watch three episodes. Sometimes, I would even watch an episode in between study hours, alternating between one hour of studying and one episode. Give it a try, as I can only recommend it!
31. Drink coffee or tea to enhance your concentration
Obviously, you should not overdo your consumption of coffee or green/black tea. Everything in moderation. However, if you are struggling to find motivation, a big cup of coffee can be a game changer. Ensure that you have no distractions and are seated in front of your computer or books when the caffeine or theine kicks in, so that you can channel your energy into studying.
32. Listen to your study material instead of reading
Sometimes, you simply reach a point where you’ve had enough of reading. Did you know that many programs have a read-out-loud function? In fact, most PDF files can be read out loud, and the quality isn’t as bad as it may seem. It can be very useful to switch up your study methods from time to time to increase motivation. For instance, you can start by listening to an article while doing the dishes. Afterwards, you can sit down and take notes. Not only does this improve your memory of the material, but you can also multitask and get your dishes done at the same time!
33. List your accomplishments every day
So, if you are feeling unmotivated, it may be because you are not recognizing the progress you are making and the achievements you have already accomplished. It’s possible that you are focusing too much on the negatives. Try training your brain to focus on the positive aspects. Even if you haven’t been able to cover everything you initially planned, there is still a small accomplishment every day. Learn to be proud of yourself, and you will have less fear of failure and, as a result, more motivation to study.
34. Pretend to commute to work even if you study at home
This is something people started doing during the pandemic: even when working from home, they dressed properly in the morning, followed their morning routine, left the house, walked around the block, and returned home to sit down at their desk to start their working day. And at the end of the day, they did the same thing, pretending to come home. The advantage of this approach is clear boundaries between work and free time. This can also be a great way to increase your motivation to study. By setting a clear start and end time, you can avoid constantly thinking that you should study more and prevent it from dragging on. It allows you to relax and switch off at the end of the day.
35. Listen to a motivational speech
The internet is full of motivational speeches, and sometimes, that’s all you need. Just a random person telling you to seize the day, stop complaining, and get things done. So if you’re feeling unmotivated to study, try listening to a motivational speaker. After just a few minutes into the content, you may feel a significant shift in your perspective, with newfound motivation and drive to tackle your studies.
36. Take a break (!)
Taking a break can be the most effective method for regaining motivation to study. Although it may seem counterintuitive, if you have the time available, it is crucial to set aside all tasks and obligations for a day or two. You will be pleasantly surprised by how significantly a guilt-free break to rest can revitalize your motivation to study.
37. Speak positively about your ability to study
Fake it till you make it! We’ve all heard of this concept, and it can also be applied to your motivation to study. How? Instead of constantly repeating that you struggle to study, that you are bad at studying, or that you find it incredibly challenging, speak positively about your ability to study. Share with others that you are doing your best when you study, explain why you believe studying is important, and express how motivated you are to tackle your academic pursuits. Remember the power of the self-fulfilling prophecy!