How to study if you have zero motivation

on 22/10/2019

Study motivation


The only look at those textbooks and notebooks might induce a special type of student fatigue. The one that is usually called “no motivation to study”. Indeed, when you finally get some free time after classes, you have a look at your schedule, and you know that for real, there is not going to be any free time whatsoever. Because you need to study again. Aside from the regular homework, you also need to write your thesis and prepare for exams gradually. All this enormous amount of information that has to be processed by your brains comes as even more unbearable when you see a sunny day outside. Or in case of a rainy day, you feel like cuddling, cocoa with marshmallows, and a romantic movie. Is there really no good time to get some study motivation going? Let’s find out! We will share some truly working hacks that will ensure you do all your assignments with motivation to study that ignites not only you but other students too!

Why Do You Lose Study Motivation?


Lose motivation study


When it comes to studying motivation, it works just like any other activity out there that you might be doing. Every human being physically has some term of attention span, during which one can be totally concentrated at what is happening or what one is doing. Researchers from the Skipton Building Society found that the period that allows us to focus at its most is about 24 minutes max. The same research showed that four in ten people polled admit they have a particularly short attention span.

So, what happens after the average ability to concentrate passes? After you have been trying hard to perform some action or to listen and memorize some sort of information, you inevitably lose the sharpness of attention. That’s because our brains have their rhythm,too. Just like our breath and heartbeat, their waves must go up and down. Like muscles, after the hard contraction, there should be a relaxation to keep your body healthy. You must take a break after a certain amount of hard mental work; otherwise, you won’t be able to do your best later on.

What stands in the way of your study motivation?

  • Physical exhaustion (a day at school/workout in a gym/traffic jam);

  • Sleep deprivation;

  • You don’t believe in your success;

  • No reward for completing the assignment;

  • No significant consequences of not doing it;

  • Having more tempting activities at the moment.


Indeed, losing motivation for the study is nothing new. After a day at school, college, or university full of exercises and new information, it is natural that you feel little desire to do anything more related to study.  On the other hand, it is quite disturbing to think of it every day: “I have no motivation to study”. Experiencing the stress of having to do your homework is not a healthy thing if it makes you feel depressed day by day. In fact, many students were looking for the answer to the question about how to find a motivation to study too. Want to know what they have discovered? Check out our ultimate guide to study motivation below!


Study Motivation: How To Start Studying


How to start study motivation


Experts at the University of Rochester suggest that being motivated means being moved to do something. They also note that not only the motivation varies by its level, but also by its orientation. That said, they have studied two widely researched types of human motivation:

Extrinsic (external) motivation

Intrinsic (internal) motivation

Motivated by external rewards and consequences. Those could be positive or negative.

Examples of such:

  • Money;

  • Clothes;

  • Vacation;

  • Dropping out of the uni;

  • Not getting the rewards mentioned above.

A person gets motivated by the internal experience. That could either be a pleasure, meaning, pride, satisfaction, etc.

Examples of such:

  • The career of your dreams;

  • Membership in sorority/fraternity/Ivy League - it’s prestigious;

  • The pleasure of being an A+ student;

  • Recognition among family, friends, professors.


According to this concept, the motivation to do your homework asap and the best way possible could come from opposed sources. Those could be either external things like an internship in a renowned company or the internal drive like curiosity and interest in the topic. Thus, when seeking the study motivation, you should know where it’s coming from. Then you should think, how could you increase the reasoning that leads you towards the good grades?

The next time you will be looking for the lost motivation to study, take some time to imagine what rewards are waiting for you ahead. To sort it out, take a blank piece of paper and write something like “My study motivation.” Now divide the paper into two equal parts. One side of it would be dedicated to your external motivation that studying could give you. And the other side would be dedicated to internal sources of motivation within you. We have been thinking this concept through and jotted down some study motivation ideas for you in advance. Check them out and extend them to your own list! But remember - those motivational rewards should only be available when some amount of homework that you set for your study session is already completed! Also, it is useful to set some time for the break before you go on for the next task, set a time alarm for that, and not to ignore it.

Internal and External Study Motivation:


External Study Motivation

Internal Study Motivation

Tasty treats nearby (M&M’s, Cola, cheesecake, fruits, chips, snacks, etc.)

Chat with a friend

Break for gaming when the task completed

Imagine the approval of parents, professors, friends

Listen to a Song you love or dance if you like doing it. Watch a video

Imagine that the girl/boy you like will be totally into you when they know how successful you are

Punch a punching bag. Squeeze an anti-stress toy. Exercise. Freeze in yoga asana. In other words - work for your shape, babe!

Set the goals list for achieving the prestigious degree you’re heading to (like getting a high score on Maths) and mark milestones - e.g., every homework!

Make your vanity wishlist of what external benefits you get in case if you study good - a car, a house, tons of designer outfits, your own perfumery lab, etc.

Remember how good does it feel when you can do whatever you want with no guilt when the homework is done.

Start saving
on vacation and put some money aside each time you complete homework. Count days till you land on those Maldives islands.

Think about why you need this discipline for your life. For example, being good at chemistry makes you a great cook for a foodie blog you’re dreaming about!



Study motivation no distraction


Another secret of how to get the motivation to get started with your study is to eliminate all the tempting distractions that you might have at the moment. To do this, you can pick a period when they are simply unavailable. For instance, at 5 a.m. Think about it. Facebook and Instagram slow down the most. All your friends who want to chat, hang out, and do a whole bunch of other things (besides homework, of course) are in their deepest phase of sleep. Your parents are not going to call you, either. Professor’s working hours for your consultations are far away in time. The freshness of dawn inspires you to feel like the most successful person on Earth who builds the road to success while everyone else is sleeping. Perfect!

When you are ready to hit the books, there are still some little details to take care of. You need to eliminate virtually any kind of distraction that could arise during your study session. Let’s see how you can do it.

Ways to Eliminate distractions for Better Study Motivation:

  • Find a quiet place where no one will interrupt you;

  • Have some break after the classes and before the homework to feel more energized; eat low-calorie healthy meals like salad or vegan sandwich (meat, pizza, doughnuts will soak up energy for digestion and make you sleepy);

  • Surround yourself with inspirational stationery you’ll be wanting to use;

  • Pull up your favorite loose clothes;

  • Change the smartphone, iPad, DM notifications on a desktop to silent mode;

  • Seriously, block every single website on your laptop, not related to study. Just temporarily;

  • Clean up your desk.


Study Motivation: How to Stay Focused Along the Way


Stay focused


Okay, so you sure you know exactly why you need to study that Renewable energy Engineering. Your goal is to save the world and to make it a better place. You know you’re passionate about it, and you need this degree. But this fact alone doesn’t eliminate the lack of motivation for everyday studies. Now you have another set of quadratic equations for today, and you have no idea how to find that Discriminant. So, what can you do to keep yourself motivated throughout the year? You know what we are talking about. Those endless study days when you are tired, exhausted, and all you want to do after you come home is watch the Game of Thrones episodes.

We’ve collected some ideas about finding a motivation to study. After asking leading experts that research study motivation for years, we gathered a few sections of the most useful pieces of advice. Whether you need the motivation to study for finals asap or just a daily inspiration, these recommendations might work for you.

Make a Plan


Make a plan


It is hard to find any study motivation when you are assuming that the volume of work will appear enormous. Some students believe that happens because of a lack of planning. Your parents, teachers, and college advisors might have been telling you this before, and you dismissed this recommendation because it’s so boring. Nevertheless, there’s a certain sense in creating learning plans in advance. If you divide all the pile of homework into smaller and doable steps, it won’t appear to you as monstrous as it did before.

The secret to good homework planning is not to try to make it all at once. Long study sessions are proved to be less productive than shorter and repetitive iterations. Try to make it one step at a time. Meaning that during one session, do just one type of action. Those could be, solving equations, maths problems, chemistry problems, reading, revising, etc. Your brain won’t have to adapt each time to a piece of new information. Moreover, you won’t get tired of the excessive amount of the data of a single type.

In regards to study motivation, it is also an excellent idea to link your step-by-step plans to your overall study goals. For example, you could think of motivation to study hard concerning your career aspirations. Create your big plan and then gradually branch it off into smaller and smaller sections, until you reach your daily goals. You will be surprised how less effort it takes to make your dreams come true if you turn them into a real plan. Think of how learning this particular theme brings you closer to the job that you’ve always wanted. And voila! The motivation will arise like a spark out of nowhere, and you won’t have to try so hard to find any willpower to make the homework you barely understand.

Additionally, we want to mention that it’s important to keep your mental capacity for the particular time when you are planning to sit down and do your homework or prep for exams. This might not appear as a problem, but think of it a little bit more. How many times a day do you check your phone? Do you read the news feed, chat online, check email inbox? In actuality, that’s how you waste a significant amount of energy during the day. The truth is, we all have got a limited cognitive load of information to bear. The continuous processing of information and thoughts flow takes up lots of our daily cognitive load. As a result, when you have to study, you feel worn out. Give yourself a break for some periods during the day, and you won’t feel as drained when you will have to concentrate on studying hard.

Find Inspiration and Get Creative


Get creative


You can always find some value in a particular subject, even if you think that you don’t need it for your after-school life. If it wasn’t of any use, then it wouldn’t be a part of the academic curriculum, right? The thing is that, what might come across to you as deadly boring, is indeed appreciated by other trusted scholars. Thus, our recommendation is to search for people who feel passionate about the discipline that you feel is especially difficult for you. You can easily find them in certain sections of the library or academic basement. They might be talking out loud and arguing about something with fires in their eyes. You might not understand a word from what they say, yet believe us, being around such people means gaining the automatic study motivation that will get you across the whole academic year straight up to the new heights.

Another great advice is to make your study process creative. The only idea of heavy textbooks with monotonous language, old notes you made in a hurry that’s impossible to read, and loads of boring assignments, make you want to drop on your bed and sleep like a baby. However, studying is never going to be as fun as hanging out with friends. Nevertheless, it is possible to make it more engaging if you try.

Next time you will need to memorize something, write an essay, or solve math problems, think of the ways of turning it into a creative adventure. We know that it might sound unusual, yet lots of students have found their own ways to spice up their studies. Learning doesn’t have to be boring. In its nature, it’s a process of finding out something new and enhancing your knowledge about the world by building concepts in your mind. Thus, every study session is a creative process, just like drawing, singing, or making any other kind of creative art! You can create the rap song dedicated to Microbiology to memorize important details, draw a map of World War II, or create a student film with illustrated formulas from Physics. You will surely have a productive learning process without having to seek the study motivation.


Study creative inspiration


Sometimes, you feel so alone doing your homework. In occasional ruses of FOMO (fear of missing out), you might think that all your friends are basking in the sunlight while you are caged within the four walls of your room. To get rid of this unpleasant feeling, just arrange a study session with your mates or sisters! Studying with others, you can quiz each other, explain topics, read, write, and revise together, which makes your assignments better organized, thought out, and deserving higher grades. You can also switch places of studying if the dorm room is too chaotic or the library has too much foot traffic. Though, if you have your “own” little lurking-place where you feel safe and open-minded, make sure you come back there every time you need to boost your study motivation.   

Another great idea for study motivation is to heat yourself up by the competition. If you can’t stand the thought of losing in anything, and you keep looking at where your friends are comparing to you, this actually might not be as bad as psychologists say. You might be quite a competitive person and a team-player that plays to win. Hence, if you imagine your pals in front of you getting high marks while you are falling behind, the study motivation will appear out of the blue. To beat the visionary competition completely, think of haters and imagine how you prove they were wrong about you.

Believe in Yourself


Study motivation quote


Eventually, what you need the most always to have enough level of study motivation is not to presume your under-performance. You know that obnoxious feeling when you keep hesitating to get started with your homework. You feel almost as if you were the worst student on Earth trying to escape the duties you have to follow. When you fail to memorize, you keep picturing in your mind getting bad grades and even dropping out of the uni. Stop torturing yourself! Think that you are the best student ever known in your college. Even if you don’t completely believe this statement, as they say, “fake it until you make it.” If you pretend to accept it for the first time, you will end up really thinking so and being the best for real.

Relieve yourself from pressure of self-control by explaining something to a friend. This is another useful technique that has proven its worth. People tend to feel higher self-esteem, motivation, and confidence when they know they have to give a bit of advice.  

Finally, to make your studies more pleasurable and to mark it as something not-so-deadly-boring in your mind, try to spruce it up with other things that you love. They should become a background for your study session without distracting you or bothering you and others. For example, you can clean the table and leave only printed-out inspirational quotes for study motivation on the desk and the dorm walls.

Here’s the TOP list of the best study motivation quotes that we’ve found:

  • If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.

  • You don’t have to be great to start. But you have to start to be great.

  • The expert in everything was once a beginner.

  • Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.

  • The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well.


Another great idea is to create a study motivation playlist or listen to a podcast related to the subject that you are currently studying.

Here’s the TOP study motivation music:

  • Alpha wave music

  • Meditation and concentration music

  • Old-school instrumental bands

  • White noise playlists

  • Nature sounds


If you use the Internet or Microsoft Office documents, PowerPoint presentations, Excel, etc. for your studies, then you should also think of an inspirational wallpaper on your desktop.

Here’s a TOP list for the best study motivation wallpaper resources.


If you want to study real smart, download some study motivation apps. Perfect for tech-savvy millennials who can’t stop rechecking Twitter notifications and refuse to call themselves addicted. We’ve got some great news for you, folks. Instead of turning off your phone and still craving it, use your “non-addiction” for something that you really need. Like studying.

Here’s the TOP study motivation app list:

  • Written? Kitten!

  • Habitbull

  • Quizlet

  • Maths Alarm Clock

  • Clockwork Tomato


Do You Really Need Motivation to Study?


Study motivation is a great tool for getting success with your studies. However, as we already mentioned it before, multiple studies show that study motivation comes and goes naturally. Although school demands are always due. The truth is, there’s never enough motivation to go around. That’s why you probably should not rely on motivation itself that much, especially when it comes to exam preps and most of all, your finals.

Equally, what you often see as procrastination, might indeed be hidden guilt. Everyone does it, so you’re not alone. We, humans tend to put off the experience, including mental one, which may lead to something potentially painful. Doing homework also often counts as such because of your fear of failing exams and anticipation of hard work. To escape this hard feeling and to reduce the huge meaning of study hard motivation in your life, you should opt for a couple of techniques that we’ve found.

Make doing homework the habit that comes to you automatically. It is a perfect way of eliminating the stress of everyday studies. When you do this, you might not need the motivation to study every time the assignment lands on your desk. What you need to do is to set a certain study routine and keep doing it every day at the same time. Do this for at least 21 days to settle the new habit in your brain. Eat, sleep, study, repeat - and very soon, doing homework won’t be much of a problem to you anymore.

Also, make sure you come back for a few times to repeat something you’ve learned before. For example, repeat it in one day, then again in three days, and then again in four days. It’s no-nonsense -  studies show that newly learned information won’t stay in your memory until you consume it once again for a few times.


Start saving on vacation and pourCourtesy: Area 51 Productivity Exchange


Finally, one wise aphorism says: a busy mind is a devil’s workshop. Dr. Aaron Beck, in the 1960s, found the phenomenon of ANTS - automatic negative thoughts. Dr. Daniel Amen later popularized this idea. What they have to do with the lack of your study motivation? Let’s see.

According to Dr. Amen, during the process of negative thinking, the limbic nervous system becomes activated by chemical and electrical signals from the brain. When it happens repeatedly, these chemical transmissions establish a neural pathway in the brain, making negative thoughts recurring automatically. It’s like an instantaneous reaction to turn on the lights in your room - your hand stretches to the switch without you thinking of it and actually making any effort to do it. Similarly, a spiral of anxiety and depression, procrastination, and unwillingness to study might all come from your unrealized conditioned reflex to paint it black.

To get rid of this unpleasant habit, you can practice mindful living and meditation. To stay consistent with this attitude change, you can also create a list of your victories in your regular bullet journal. Mood Tracker is a great technique, too. You can either use an app for this or consider handwriting that would also count as a form of meditation. As Stephen Hawking once said, “work gives you meaning, and purpose, and life is empty without it.” So keep trying to study hard every day, with motivation or without one. After some time of hard work, you will inevitably reach colossal goals you previously hadn’t even been thinking about.


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