Motivation and success in education are strongly correlated. Without motivation, success is unlikely. Your feelings of motivation, or lack thereof, usually are the result of your habits. If you’ve lacked motivation in the past, you can learn how to be motivated and increase your success in education by practicing a few simple skills.
According to bestselling author and business consultant John C. Maxwell, if you believe you can succeed at something, you are more likely to try and do so enthusiastically. On the other hand, if failure is perceived as a high possibility, most people won’t have the motivation to even attempt to try. Therefore, if you struggle with motivation in education, it may be because you are worried about your ability to do well. Target what insecurities you are dealing with and start turning those negative feelings and thoughts into positive ones. For example, instead of saying, “I’m just not good at math, so there’s no way I am going to pass this class,” say something like, “I’m a competent, smart individual who can accomplish anything I put my mind to.”
Identify & Display Goals
Most people don’t love all the classes they take throughout their educational career. So it’s important to focus on the end goals. Ask yourself why you are taking the class or getting the degree in the first place. It may be because you want to qualify for a pay raise at work or better your resume for future career opportunities. Post your goals around your house where you’ll be reminded of them daily. These constant reminders will help you stay motivated and attain the success you are seeking.
Some of the best learning takes place when you can relate the importance of the class material and activities to your everyday life. It’s highly motivating when you can see why learning and participating will benefit you. Even if the material itself isn’t something you think you will use in your real life, think about the skills you are learning that will be helpful. For example, if you’re doing a group project but you usually work independently at the office, consider the communication and leadership skills you are perfecting by being in that environment. You have the opportunity to practice making a good first impression, clearly defining and communicating expectations, collaborating with people you usually don’t come in contact with, using critical thinking skills and employing negotiation techniques.
When you feel like you and your teachers are working together as a team, your level of support increases, which positively affects your motivation and success. Learning is a two-way street, and your instructors obviously are not mind readers, so it’s your job to stay in close communication with them. Most teachers are eager to work with students who ask for help and communicate openly about their needs and concerns. Be sure not to complain. Instead, go to your instructors with specific questions and a positive, thankful attitude.
- How to Influence People: Make a Difference in Your World; John C. Maxwell and John Dornan
- University of Wisconsin Whitewater: Motivating Students
Sydney Neely has worked in the education arena for more than 10 years, teaching general education, the arts, communication and finance. She holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education degrees from Arizona State University. Neely also holds several state and federal financial licenses in life insurance and investments (Series 6 and 63).