Staying Motivated

I have been struggling to stay motivated in my studies lately. I promised myself that this year would be different.

I only took one paper last year. I gave myself plenty of excuses and good reasoDesk with books, highlighters and listsns to only take one paper… I was too busy, I wasn’t sure if I could do the full degree so if I did the introductory paper only, I could get a certificate and call it a day if I realised this was not for me… and so on. Truth to be told, I was too scared of failing. I was covering my bases in order to comfort myself once the time came… Surprisingly enough, I did better than I expected and even more surprising, I enjoyed myself… A LOT.

I had the fun that I had been missing in my career and it was the fun that kept me going at night when I was too exhausted to study. So I sat with myself late August and promised that this year I would not find excuses, I would take as many papers as necessary to finish the first year and I would power through the exhaustion to reach the finish line and if I could add a couple of Firsts to the list, even better. Atta girl!

Well, we are reaching the end of November and I haven’t fulfilled ANY of my study objectives. Not even one. Thinking about it I realised that I was setting my goals based on last year’s experiences and circumstances and so they became impossible to achieve in my current environment. I believe this might be a problem we all face to a certain extent. We chose this program because of its flexibility. We have other commitments (not necessarily other priorities) that need to come first. Life is happening and has to come first, for whatever the reason. But life is always changing and setting our goals based on past experiences, although helpful and not always wrong, it can bring us to catastrophic results. My life right now is completely different than it was last year and I realised I spread myself too thin when it came to my study ambitions, and with this realisation, my own motivation dropped. More than dropped. I should say plummeted. Circumstances change, relocation, new job/position, etc… (add a newborn to the list and you got my life) and so must our study objectives.

I found myself summarising the Republic from Plato to my little one the other day. I also found myself listening to a philosophy podcast while folding laundry. Like these, many other small situations that, separately, did not add to a full day of study but all together added up to a respectable amount of hours per week. I decided then, to throw my old schedule out and make a new one, factoring in the tiniest study opportunities. Why? because even if they alone won’t help me pass my exams, at least they will engross the list of things I did towards achieving my diploma, and if the list grows, so does my motivation, and if my motivation grows, so does my energy to sit down and study when all I really want to do is lay on the sofa and watch stranger things with my husband.

Let’s find those small moments in the day that can boost our motivation. Listen to a podcast related to your degree while walking the dog/cooking/waiting for the dryer’s cycle to end. Do some of the essential reading on the train to work, even if it’s only 15 minutes. By the end of the day if we add up all of those minutes you will find that you did more than you realise and even though some serious study will still be required, it will do wonders for your motivation.

Maria is studying the BA PhilosophyPhilosophy by distance learning in the USA.  

One thought on “Staying Motivated

  1. Hello Maria, It’s great to hear your passion to study come back, and you are doing very well. 1 more year, I’ll reach to 40 years old, and am doing MSc of UCL. Let’s enjoy our study path, even we fail few papers! Learning from mistakes are opportunities, my dear! Wish you all the best in coming year!

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