There will be times when you will have to motivate yourself to complete an assignment because it is uninteresting or difficult. In these situations, there are a number of strategies you can use to increase your motivation so that you can complete the task.
Try to make connections between the material and your life and interests. Each academic discipline relies on its own way of analyzing information and communicating arguments. If you are taking a psychology, sociology, or anthropology class, tie the material to your own personal experiences with people. You might not need to apply all of the material from the course, but understanding how people develop world views based on their culture and personality might make it easier for you to work in an organization or with clients from a variety of backgrounds different from your own. For science classes, you might focus on the value of learning the scientific method as a model for inquiry in all problem solving. In a math class, think about how you can apply mathematical problem-solving methods to other problems you face. English classes and other classes that require extensive writing can help you develop the writing skills that will be essential for you in any career that you choose. Because you are introduced to different skill sets in different classes, you can connect the development of new skills to your desire to do well and prepare for future classes and life after graduation.
Go for the grade.
A good grade is a sign that you have effectively learned the material for a course. It can also motivate you to put the effort into learning the material. There is no getting around the fact that grades can be a highly motivating factor for students. Sometimes you will struggle to find personal intrinsic value or situational interests in a class. In the end, you might fall back on achieving a high grade as the sole motivating factor for putting in the effort. Studies have shown that students can increase their motivation through consistent reminders that their efforts will earn them the grade they desire.
If you reward yourself for completing a specific task, the reward becomes the motivation for completing the task. This works best for short-term goals, such as completing a specific chapter or writing a certain number of pages. Make sure that you balance the reward and the task to be completed. For example, don't reward yourself with two hours of billiards after reading 5 pages. It might take some experimenting to find the correct balance of reward and time on task, but you should be able to create a balance.
Try to make the material more interesting.
Sometimes you might be able to create a game out of studying material. You might be able to create a song out of sequenced or itemized information. Or you might challenge yourself or a friend to complete a certain number of math problems within a time limit. These tricks might not lead to a permanent interest in the material, but they can help you maintain focus on completing the tasks at hand.
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