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Motivation

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Connecting with your sense of purpose can have a profound impact on the energy you bring to your work. Motivation affects your studies, work, and other daily activities.

Maintaining motivation allows you to:

  • Stay on a path toward your goals
  • Recognize and overcome challenges
  • Put forth the necessary effort for starting, maintaining, and completing tasks and assignments
  • Reflect on progress 

Questions for Reflection

  • What does motivation look like to you?
  • Do you feel you put the necessary effort into successfully completing your assignments and tasks?
  • Identify your demotivators – what obstacles or factors affect your motivation?
  • Identify your motivators – what keeps or increases your motivation and influences your effort and diligence as you work? 

Basic Strategies to Try

Deactivating your demotivators: Once you’ve identified the factors or obstacles that affect your motivation, think back on how you’ve overcome them in the past.  Do you notice any patterns? Can you anticipate how you react in specific situations? Create and keep a plan for how you can deal with each of your demotivators. 

Maximizing your motivators: What are your short-term and long-term goals at Stanford and beyond? What or who inspires you, especially in the difficult moments? What or who helps you stay accountable? Create an Inspiration List or Vision Board. Review your list or board from time to time and edit or add to it. 

Now that you have identified your demotivators and motivators, brainstorm ideas and write down how you can use your motivators to combat your demotivators. 

Ideas for keeping and increasing motivation

  • Celebrate your accomplishments and the moments you overcome challenges – no matter how big or small!
  • Create a motivation mantra. Say it aloud and keep it visible in your workspace.   
  • Make connections with peers, mentors, and communities that align with your interests and goals and support your motivation.
  • Maintain a healthy balance of activities. Make time for exercise, hobbies, or other activities you enjoy. 

Ideas for preventing demotivation

  • Recognize the small steps and give yourself credit for each one you make. 
  • Often, we can be demotivated when we’re overwhelmed or stressed by the amount of work and commitments we have. Check out the tips on time management for ideas on organizing and managing your schedule.
  • Practice self-care and mindfulness. Allow yourself to step back and take breaks when needed. 
  • We can be our own worst critic; reflect on affirmations you’ve received from others and make your own self-affirmations. 

Questions about how to implement these strategies? 

Email your question to stanfordlearninglab@lists.stanford.edu or attend one of our drop-in sessions.

Additional Stanford Resources

Resources Outside of Stanford