Here’s what I’ve learnt from years of self-study and extensive reading about how we learn.
- Accept responsibility for your own learning and success
- It may be an uncomfortable truth for some but whether you achieve your learning goals or not depends mainly on you and the decisions you make. You’re free to make any decision you like but remember that every choice has its consequences and be prepared to face them. Plus researchers claim that students who feel that their achievements depend on factors within their control (e.g. the amount of effort put in or learning strategies used) are likely to have a stronger belief in their ability to achieve goals and change their lives as well as higher levels of motivation.
- Develop a growth mindset
- Some people are convinced that intelligence is like the shape of the ears you’re born with – you’ve got what you’ve got and that can’t be changed. In psychology, this belief is known as a fixed mindset. However, research has shown that you can boost your intelligence with hard work, the right study strategies, perseverance and self-belief.
- Think positively about yourself and your learning
- As humans, we tend to focus of the negative. And it makes total sense from the evolutionary point of view, as our ancestors stood a much better chance of surviving in a world full of predators if they were on a constant lookout for threats to their life. We no longer live in the wild but the ancient instinct is still with us. The good news is that we can harness it by consciously paying attention to the things that go right rather than wrong and feeling grateful for them.
- Find your own ways of motivating yourself when you don’t feel like learning
- Your motivation will go up and down, and that’s okay. For this reason, be kind to yourself but also discover how you can pump it up when it’s low. Motivation can be found not only in your future dreams, achievements and treats you’ve planned for yourself but also in what’s already there, be it an inspirational quote, a walk with your dog or a song that makes you sing your heart out (I just love Sia’s Unstoppable which never fails to empower me and make me feel good about myself). To sum up, don’t waste time waiting until you feel inspired to study – what if you never do? So just get down to work, and motivation will come in the process.
To be continued…