College tends to get in the way of friendships, relationships, personal life, and even your mental and emotional health. Students get busy, and a busy mind stresses to stay motivated. Early success starts out strong but it can burn out, along with you, as the semester progresses. I struggled with staying focused with multiple campus organizations, 5-7 classes every semester, a part-time job, family and friends, and just trying to find time for me. After making my resolution to get motivated, I began seeing actual results in balancing my life out. Boosting your motivation and encouraging positivity can make every day a great one. Whether you're a freshman or returning student, I'm spreading the knowledge and sharing odd tricks that I've found can help you get motivated.
1. Write Down Your GoalsGiphy
Grab some paper and write out your goals for the new semester. Don't set your expectations impossibly high. Ask yourself "What do I want to do? What do I want to accomplish? What do I want to improve?" Keep a simple list with only 1-3 things for each question. This may be "Spend more time with friends", "Get an A in Bio", or "Save money this semester". Whatever it is, put the list somewhere you'll see it. I used to place mine on the back of my bedroom door or over my desk. Just seeing your goals will remind you of what's important and how close you are to completing them.
2. Don't Hit the Snooze!!!media.giphy.com
You just want 5 more minutes in bed, it's harmless. And how many times have you woken up drowsy or slept in? Hitting the snooze button relaxes your instincts and enforces sleeping in habits. I stopped doing this and only missed getting to class once or twice a year. When you hear that alarm, the first thing you should do is tell yourself to resist. Don't turn it off until you are physically out of your bed. Teach your body to do whatever it takes to get out of bed just to stop the alarm.
3. Mom and Dad Were Right. Make Your Bed.Giphy
Okay, this sounds boring. And it is. But you'd be amazed what it's like daily recreating the moment you walk into a hotel room and the bed's already made. When you rise in the morning, make your bed right there while waiting for your brain to wake up. Just pulling the sheets over and rearranging your pillow makes a huge difference! You'll feel ready to do more. And when you come home after tiresome work or classes, seeing a neatly styled bed transforms your room and helps you unwind.
4. Pack a SnackGiphy
When I was in high school, I chose to skip eating breakfast. To no surprise, I was miserable, drained of energy, and couldn't pay attention some days. I've learned from that and made it a habit to pack a container of snacks in my bag. It's emergency fuel when you need it in class, the library, or just getting to college. Pack energy bars that aren't entirely chocolate, a package of salted almonds or peanuts, dried pineapple or apple slices from the grocery store, or even plan a to-go lunch if you have time at night.
5. The Pomodoro MethodGiphy
Weird name right? Okay, let's call it the 25-5 Method. I started using this studying trick when I was in my sophomore year. For every 25 minutes of work, take a 5-minute break doing something you enjoy. Watch funny videos, doodle, or talk with your study partner if you're not alone. Do anything but look at your notebook or the computer screen during this time. Then after your 5 minutes, repeat the process. This keeps you aware of time and refreshes your mind. Is it a long chapter? Use 25 minutes for 10 pages, take a 5-minute break, and then read another 10 pages. It takes some time to get used to it. Although, I can personally say this pays off.
6. Need to Study? DON'T GO TO YOUR BEDROOMmedia.giphy.com
Unless you're sick and need to go home, don't use your bedroom as a study room. Even if your bedroom has a desk, you are too comfortable with everything around you and your brain will tell you to relax. You can get distracted by the TV, food, the bed, clothes lying around, your roommate, really anything. Your bedroom should be just for relaxation. If you have a favorite table in the library or a quiet corner outside, use it as your primary study spot. Or better yet, try to find multiple study locations in case one's taken.
7. Play Music with no Lyrics
I play music when I walk to class and study, like anyone else. But when I listen to music I know the words to, my own thoughts get pushed out my brain. Instead, you can look up or download music without lyrics. If you like classical music, this is perfect to perk up your day or study session. However, if this sounds too dull for you, there's options. You can listen to background music from films or instrumental versions of songs you know. There's endless piano versions of your favorites. Even violin covers of pop songs sound bad-ass sometimes.
8. Procrastinate That Energy Somewhere Elsehttps://giphy.com/gifs/dog-chores-aSZSj0mT8f6tW
We all get those essays and research projects we'd rather do anything but. If you do tend to procrastinate, this is the best opportunity to get productive. Don't get confused, what I mean is… get up and do anything but the assignment for a bit. Pick up your room for a few minutes, take out the trash, email your professor with that question that bugged you, or go over your syllabus schedule. When I wanted to walk away from my homework, I'd get my laundry done or go through my emails. So when you feel like rolling your eyes or texting someone how much you hate your assignment, do something else that's helpful. Two birds with one stone!
9. Check Your Planner DailyGiphy
This sounds easy, but I can go a few days without checking my planner and forget a thing or two. If just remembering to pack it in your bag or updating it is tricky, work on making a habit of looking at it. Put your calendar or planner someplace open that you can get to it. Attempt to glance at it daily around the same time. Maybe it's when you're doing your hair in the morning, pulling out your books before class starts, making food in the kitchen, or preparing for bed. This will mentally prepare you for exams, appointments, and hanging out with friends. And hey, while you're reading it, keep a pen close to write down your thoughts.
10. Mental Health DayGiphy
Having felt the weight of anxiety, I can say this will be your lifesaver from burnout. When you feel dangerously stressed, ask yourself just how much you have on your plate. It may be particular things about family, relationships, or grades. If you know school is upsetting you more than usual and you have more planned, drop what you're doing. Take care of you! This doesn't mean Treat Yo' Self every day. Just spend a few hours enjoying a good meal and a movie, take a trip walking downtown, head to the park, or ask your friends or family to hang out soon. Know your limits and know when to take a break.
My best advice is to act like it's getting a runner's high: starting slow and then feeling the rush of energy as you keep working. And don't feel pressured for trying to get motivated. There's no right way to do it because it's about what your mind and body respond to. Try new things, keep asking yourself what you want and how you're doing, and stay committed until you realize what doesn't work anymore.