We love to make goals and plans, but most of us pretty much suck at keeping them. Often times this sudden urge to make a plan, to set a bar, blooms under the influence of too much soda at 11 PM on New Year’s Eve or emerges from scribbles on a planner the night report cards are released. This isn’t without cause: making plans is a great way to cope with stressful events or embrace the opportunity to start anew with zest.
But, what is the point if after the first couple months, weeks, or even days our self motivation gives out? We find ourselves sitting in a bedroom coated in with a thin layer of dreams turned to dust … or, in other words, we don’t end up feeling too great about it. So, thinking specifically about academic goals (but many of these can be applied to other resolutions), the following are my self motivation tips.
- Have a reminder of what your end reward is. For example, if you already have a dream college, then have its motto or picture pasted onto the corner of your computer. For me, I have the bookmark of a college I would love to get into. So, whenever I feel like watching Netflix instead of working or want to go to sleep early, I see the bookmark and it reminds me what my large, end goal is. While I don’t recommend using this method for fitness goals – such as “thinspiration” where people look at photos of fit or thin people to motivate them to lose weight – it can apply to an array of resolutions.
- When you feel like not finish your work or not putting in all your effort in, think about the consequences. If I look at my bookmark and think “Eh, I will do it later. It will not affect my future that much,” this is the next step. While that is true: missing one homework assignment, letting everything slip for one week, or not trying for one day won’t be extremely detrimental to your overall grade or future outside of school, you will still face repercussions. For example, when I’m feeling lazy, I remember that not finishing my homework today will give me stress tomorrow, or skipping one night of studying for a standardized test will lead to more skip-days down the road.
- It’s okay to have mental “cheat days.” They shouldn’t even be called cheat days because that implies one must feel guilty for having them, so let’s call them “chill days.” Sometimes, we need to be lazy. We need to procrastinate, watch netflix, distract ourselves from that big goal, and just not care. I give myself 1 – 2 days per week to not care which, for me, means still doing my work but doing it super slowly with frequent BuzzFeed interventions.
This whole self motivation mumbo-jumbo, it’s all in your head, which is actually a great thing because that means you have control over how you reach your goal. So, instead of waiting for 2016 New Year’s or grade releases after finals, just throw some glitter in the air, drop a ball down the stairs at 12 AM, and get started on those resolutions!