When You Just Can’T Motivate Yourself To Study, Consider This – College Info Geek
I got a question from a student recently that I think really highlights a problem that a lot of us have, and the problem is this, we think that we can’t get the motivation to do something, when, in reality, we’re simply not willing to get the motivation to do it. So, I wanna read you this question real quick, and give you my thoughts on it, and, hopefully, it’ll help you if you’re having your own motivational problems. So, it says, “one of the biggest problems I’ve been having “is the struggle to see the consequences of not studying “or not doing an assignment until the last possible second “and by last, I mean really last. “I really need to be getting onto these things earlier, “but I just can’t bring myself to do it. “I try to imagine the way it would feel to have it done, “or even the consequences of not doing it “which is always a lower grade than I want.
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“I’ve just found myself lying around, doing nothing “or literally doing anything else that I could “possibly do besides actually working.” So, one thing he also mentioned in this email is he liked the method I use to force myself to wake up in the morning. How I schedule a tweet to go out at 6: 10, that I’ll give people $5 if I don’t wake up on time to delete it. But he said, also, that he’s not willing to put money on the line, and that he doesn’t have Twitter, and it’s really highlighted to me that he has the ability to set these systems up, it’s very easy to set up a Twitter account, and it’s very easy to pony up $5 to do something that’s really going to benefit your life, but, at this point, he wasn’t willing to actually do it. So, really, in my mind, this highlights the difference that I mentioned earlier. It’s not that he can’t motivate himself to do something, it’s that he’s, as of yet, been unwilling to set up the systems to create that motivation. Now, your motivation to do something that will help you in the long term has to compete with your impulses to do other things at the same time.
Which means, that, motivation is determined by a few different factors. Mainly, there’s the desire to get the Reward for doing that thing, you want to get a good grade on a test, so you have to study for that test. But there’s also the possible Consequences for not doing that thing, the pain that you’ll bring upon your future self if you don’t get this thing done. But there’s also the impulse to get into other activities, to go on Reddit, to go on Facebook, to hang out with your friends, or go on a Netflix binge. These are always competing with your motivation in the moment. So, essentially, you have to find ways to tweak each of these values, in order to generate the right amount of motivation to get yourself to do whatever it is you’re not currently doing. And here’s the key insight here, you can build systems to create that motivation.
You can build a system that creates heavier consequences for not doing what you were supposed to do. Or, you can build systems that give you ancillary rewards in addition to the main reward it’s given by the task. You can also set up systems that make it harder to get into those distractions, you can find apps that will block the websites that you don’t want to be distracting yourself with, or you can go to the library so you’re not near your friends when they decide they want to go bowling. Now, all these are things that you can do, so the problem isn’t that you can’t motivate yourself, it’s that, right now, you’re unwilling to lay the groundwork, and build the systems in order to generate that motivation. The pain or discomfort of not doing what it is you’re supposed to be doing has not yet become great enough that you’ve decided to make a change in your life.
This reminds me of a comment that I got recently on that video about my wake up system, somebody said that, basically, it’s ridiculous, nobody should have to threaten themselves to get up on time, or to pursue their goals. And yeah, in an ideal world, I agree with that, ideally, we would be able to generate the motivation we need to do the things that are gonna benefit us in the long term, that’s what long term thinking’s all about, but we don’t live in a perfect world, we don’t live in an idealized world where we’re always looking to the future. We live in the real world, we live in a world where our impulse of desires in the moment are often the things that rule our minds. So, we have to work within those parameters, work within those limitations, and create systems that can help us overcome those impulsive desires. So, the question to ask yourself is simple, have you actually done all that’s in your power to create systems to generate motivation? When you tell yourself that you just can’t get the motivation to study or do your homework, are you being honest with yourself, or, in reality, are you just not willing to put in that groundwork? Are you not willing to build those systems to create the motivation? If that’s the case, then look at what you’ve been doing in the past to create that motivation. If it’s not sufficient, then it’s time to make a change: Hey guys, thanks so much for watching this quick video on motivation.
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