How to Find Motivation in Our ‘New Normal’

How to Find Motivation in Our ‘New Normal’

Photo Credit: Annie Spratt, Unsplash

Tips to get you through this online school year 

Setare Safara, The Mike Contributor    

Like thousands of you out there, I enjoy nothing more than plopping into bed and putting a blanket over my head– especially when I  have a 2000 word essay due the next day. 

The ugly truth is that during Covid-19, I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride. My emotions and productivity levels were all over the place. Sometimes I would find myself jumping from one task to the other, just to keep myself active, appreciating the satisfaction of getting things done! Although this process proved to be unproductive, I decided I needed to implement some sort of plan to stay motivated this year. 

Here are some tips which get me through long hours of studying dedicated to my passion

Consistency is key!

Be your own competition. Make a deal with yourself at the beginning of each week, for example: I need to complete 4 hours of studying every day this week.

Turn into a scientist by keeping track of your daily hours to see how you perform to the task. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses; understand that productive behavior needs to be rewarded, but most importantly be kind to yourself!  Positive reinforcements work like magic.

Always have a plan.

I’m among the minority of people who run away from calendars, agendas and to-do lists. But the truth is we are the most focused when we make the least decisions in a day. As funny as this may sound, try to minimize the number of decisions you make each day. Take a few minutes the night before to list out what you need to get done each day. Don’t forget to look at the bigger picture, be mindful of your week ahead in regards to what you’re doing.

Prepare the night before.

It takes a lot of strength to become motivated, but the reality is we are more likely to choose things that are decided for us, like how you grab a candy bar when you’re hungry without thinking. We are prone to do it if it’s in front of us! 

I actually conducted a little experiment of my own. For 10 days, every day that I woke up, I had my journal and running outfit in front of my bed, so I forced myself to grab both and  go for it. The first couple of days were challenging but after day 6, I found myself getting up and falling into this routine without hesitation. 

Dedicate a place just for studying.

Putting aside an environment that is just for studying automatically alerts your brain that it’s time to work. I understand that not everyone can do that especially in the current conditions, but making a separate space can be as simple as working outside, studying somewhere that is not your bed, playing classical music or lighting a candle. These little things might not seem like much, but it can be highly effective on both your mood and motivation.

Remind yourself why you are doing this.

Do you remember the first time that you walked on campus with your favorite hot beverage? The first time that you entered Robarts Library and wondered if it’s a peacock or a turkey? First time you went to a lecture and you just lost track of time because what the professor was saying was capturing all your attention and curiosity? Do you remember why you chose to be here in the first place? This is what I do when I get down and lose all interest in my priorities; I use these questions as reminders to give me the motivation to refocus. 

I know every day isn’t going to be a walk in the park. Everyone is struggling and this isn’t the academic year we hoped for, but I just want to let you know you’re doing great so far. The roller coaster ride only goes up from here.