Motivation in the Dog Days
You can feel it. There is a sense of unease as the final days of summer arrive. After spending two months away from school, the return is daunting. Maybe you do not want summer vacation to end. Perhaps you fear the idea of stepping up to a higher, more challenging grade level. Motivation is key to getting back into the swing of things. But it is also easily lost amidst those worries. Here are a few things you can do to build up your motivation for the new school year:
Listen to your emotions!
If you are feeling nervous, lazy, or frustrated, it is tempting to think the solution is to just ignore those feelings. Yet many scientific studies show that is not the solution. Emotions are too intertwined with how our brains work to rely on logic alone. If you find you are procrastinating and do not want to think about the new school year, this is your body’s misguided attempt to help your mood by avoiding a seemingly bad situation. Accept that you are sad, angry, or confused, and take time to truly understand why. Only then can you turn towards a more positive mindset.
It may seem simple, but rewards work. Set a reminder in your phone’s calendar to accomplish something by a specific time, and include the reward you receive for doing so in the notes – perhaps you get to purchase something you wanted, or give yourself more binge-watching time. If you do not meet the deadline, you do not get those rewards. It may feel disingenuous, as though you are not doing it for the right reason. But it is a proven way to change behaviours, which in turn helps you see the more substantive reasons for doing them.
Get out there!
It may be tempting to do all this from your bedroom. But your home is filled with distractions. Step outside to a coffee shop, library, or other spot with wi-fi, and you will likely get much more done. Get together with your friends to form a study group, and set goals that you will follow up on. This is a very positive form of peer pressure that can push you to get things done. Try to find a time that the group can meet on a regular basis. This will create consistency as responsibilities start to pile up, and make everything feel less daunting.
As you venture your way to high school, university, and beyond, the mounting workload can feel like too much. Taking time off is vital, but getting back into the swing of things is never easy. It is important to remember that this is not unique for you and not unique for younger people either. So it is important to build good habits. Do not keep yourself locked up inside. Most importantly, work hard to stay positive and understand why negative emotions creep up when they do.
Eric Barker. How to get motivated, according to science. The Week. http://theweek.com/articles/445446/how-motivated-according-science
Hooie, Lauren. How to Stay Motivated This New School Year. The Odyssey Online. https://www.theodysseyonline.com/stay-motivated-school-year