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Mr Tamplin's Thought for the Term

Posted on: 12/02/2021

Self-MotivationYes I can

Motivation can give you that extra push to get something done and to get it done well. Sometimes we obtain motivation from others (our parents, friends, teachers, or coaches), other times it needs to come from ourselves. I often find that I need to dig into my reserves of self-motivation in the Winter months. It's dark, cold and there's the post-Christmas lull to contend with, but I do try to keep positive and know that the mornings will get lighter, days longer and the weather warmer.

I have heard people say that they just don't have self-motivation - "I just can't motivate myself"- but it's the same as any skill - it can be learned, trained, and developed. For some it can take longer to achieve but it's possible for everyone to improve and build one's self-motivation.

So how can you "learn" to be more self-motivated? Here are some useful tips:

  • You are often more self-motivated when you understand why you are doing it. This can involve thinking months or years ahead. Try to really think of the "why" when you are doing something - there is always a significant point to doing a task. For example, to improve your knowledge to help you get a higher grade in your GCSEs, to keep connected with friends, to get healthier etc.
  • Self-motivated people can break big tasks into smaller chunks, so they don't appear too overwhelming. For example, people who will run the London Marathon won't try to run the full 26.2 miles the first time out, they will build up their training - a mile here, 3 miles there etc until they can take on the whole run. For students with an upcoming assessment, you could try revising a smaller section of the topic first, then another, and build on that revision bit by bit.
  • Make tasks more enjoyable - revising for an assessment can be quite monotonous, but not if you turn it into a quiz game show or make up a challenge, I've seen others turn their Biology revision into songs! Reflect on what you find enjoyable so you can use this to your advantage.
  • Make sure you have a reasonable work/life balance. Reward yourself when you've completed a challenging task or put the hours in - a couple of hours of work on an essay, can be met with spending a couple of hours with your friends or playing on the Switch or watching your favourite film, this reward needs to be merited otherwise it can become an easy excuse to relax too much! I advise Year 11s to work hard during the week, but to leave themselves some quality time to relax over their weekends.

Self-motivation can be tough at different times of the year and in different situations but do know that we all have it within us and with good practice and perseverance it can be improved, just like riding a bike.

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