Students perform better academically and enjoy a higher feeling of self-esteem when they are more driven to learn. Unfortunately, evidence and the practical experience of many educators demonstrate that a lack of motivation impacts many students.
Nowadays when students can choose to write essays themselves or find a website to send a request: “Can you do my assignment online for me,” they should set their priorities straight. When students are genuinely motivated, they aren’t worried about getting the best grade in the class or collecting a prize for their achievements. They are more concerned with gauging their own learning and growth than with comparing themselves to others.
Students who have a strong sense of self-motivation are not only better prepared to excel in the classroom. Being self-motivated is an important life skill. It’s an essential component of attaining goals, feeling fulfilled, rising up the work ladder, and experiencing more personal fulfillment. According to recent research of 200,000 employees, those who were more intrinsically motivated were three times more interested in their work than those who were more focused on external rewards.
Many, if not most, experts believe that four factors work together to foster intrinsic motivation:
- Autonomy: a degree of control over what needs to happen and how it can be accomplished
- Competence: the belief that one has the ability to succeed at anything
- Relatedness: participating in the activity helps students feel more connected to others and cared about by people they respect
- Relevance: the task must be perceived as fascinating and meaningful to students, and relevant to their current life and/or ambitions and dreams for the future
Strategies for Increasing Motivation
1. Take some time to consider what motivates you
This is one of those things that are easier said than done. We may more easily set ourselves up to optimize our motivation — and hence boost our likelihood of success — by actually taking the time to think about what intrinsically and extrinsically motivates us on an individual basis.
A few helpful questions to ask yourself to determine whether a particular work is motivating are: Do you look forward to completing it? Do you feel energized after doing it? Do you light up when you talk about it after you’ve done it? This can apply to being analytical, leading a group, solving an issue, being creative, and so on. Find methods to incorporate those things into the task at hand to improve your willingness to plunge in and get it done.
2. Maintain a good attitude
Most people do not realize that negativity has a considerably greater negative impact on an outcome than they think. The simplest approach to avoid it is to keep it in check and not let it infiltrate and take over. Focusing on the positive and looking for the silver lining in a circumstance can be beneficial.
Try recalling prior accomplishments, detecting and halting negative self-talk, abandoning all-or-nothing thinking, and severely limiting (if not completely ignoring) the most negative people and sources of information in your life to accomplish this. A wonderful technique to practice optimism and self-love is to pretend you’re offering counsel to a friend in your circumstance, then really adopting your own good advice.
Another simple strategy to promote positive thought patterns is to recall three things you’re grateful for on a regular basis, combined with adequate self-care, which includes eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. Remember that negativity is the single most common cause of procrastination.
3. Compare yourself with yourself
Some people prefer to compete with themselves. Setting a goal and tracking individual progress toward that goal makes it simpler to see how far a person has progressed in comparison to where they started. It’s an excellent method to call attention to progress, capitalize on the momentum, and keep it going. That’s because it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we compare ourselves to others. This can have the opposite impact of making us feel more discouraged, especially when we compare ourselves to someone we regard as having “made it.”
Consider weight reduction as an example. If you’re 50 pounds overweight, dropping 10 pounds is a wonderful place to start — you’re already 20% closer to your target. However, if you compare yourself to a swimsuit model, you will most certainly feel as if the task is enormous and that you are a failure. Setting smaller, bite-sized mini-goals (rather than focusing on the big picture) makes it easier to achieve. Furthermore, this provides you with more mini victories to celebrate and reward yourself for along the path.
4. State your intentions verbally and visually
We’re one step closer to making our dreams a reality by putting them into words and planning how we’ll get them. Talking about our intentions with others we trust and care about is a great approach to begin the process of giving them shape and form. Telling someone about our plans helps to guarantee that they become a priority. It makes us responsible for taking the required measures to make it a reality (because we said we would). Without communicating our intents and goals with others, they are more likely to slip by the wayside and never be realized.
Visualizing exactly what it will look like when you achieve your goal or fulfill your desire enhances the likelihood of it becoming a reality. If getting into a specific college is your objective, spend time imagining every minute aspect and feeling — from the moment you receive your acceptance letter to the way your dorm room is furnished and how you’ll feel walking across campus to class.
5. Spend time with those who inspire you
Your surroundings are important. While most people can attest to having a brighter view in a place with lots of windows than in a dark basement loaded with boxes, the same can be said for the people we surround ourselves with. It is critical not to underestimate the importance of spending time with (and energy on) people who bring out the best in us. We are the people we surround ourselves with, which can be both inspiring and terrifying. Befriend people who already have the attributes you wish to embody to ensure it’s the former and not the latter. You are not immune to negativity and ill influences, no matter how strong you are. Peer pressure is real — just make sure it’s the positive type that will help you reach your full potential.
Recognize that everyone’s motivation is unique. What motivates one person may not motivate another, and what motivates an individual changes and evolves with time. Sometimes it is day to day, and other times it is according to the scale and breadth of the task at hand. However, the better students grasp the benefits of cultivating a strong sense of self-motivation, the more likely they are to make the required modifications to incorporate those abilities into their daily behavior.
- Tracy, B. (2007). Eat that frog! 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
- Larry Ferlazzo – Strategies for Helping Students Motivate Themselves – https://edutopia.org/blog/strategies-helping-students-motivate-themselves-larry-ferlazzo
- Henrique Bertulino – Critical Thinking Skills – https://studybay.com/blog/how-to-improve-critical-thinking