Nothing is worse than the mid-semester slump, when projects are piling up and motivation is lower than ever. It may be tempting to put off your homework, neglect your personal projects and develop a debilitating caffeine addiction, but you don’t have to succumb to the apathy of April. There are a number of strategies you can use to rediscover your motivation. Though it takes time to develop new habits, you can use these tips and tricks to get you on the path to meeting all your goals.
Start by breaking down your ultimate goal into a series of smaller, more achievable objectives. Perhaps your goal is to train to run the Bearathon next year, even though you’re an amateur runner. Start by aiming to run a mile without stopping, and focus exclusively on that goal at first. After that you could move on to running a 5K, then a 10K and so on until you’re ready for a half-marathon. Starting with a large goal can be intimidating and discouraging when you realize how far you are from your ultimate objective. By focusing on one smaller goal at a time, you can stay on the path to reaching your final destination.
As you meet each smaller goal you set, be sure to reward yourself as a way to stay positive about your achievements. These rewards can be as big or small as you’d like, depending on the type of goals you set. Several years ago, when I was writing my first novel, I would motivate myself to work by rewarding myself with an Internet break or a small snack after completing the day’s writing. Having something to look forward to after getting my work done helped me keep going for the day.
Accountability is another key to self-motivation. You don’t need to broadcast your goals to your entire social network, but telling a couple close friends or family members can make you accountable. If your goal is to film and edit a video every week, ask your best friend to check up on your progress during the week and encourage you to keep going. Having people who support you and your goals can help you find the motivation to stay on track.
Finally, in the words of the inimitable Shia LaBeouf, just do it! The hardest part of any task is getting started. It’s daunting to stare at an empty Microsoft Word document, with its little vertical line judging you each time it blinks, but it’s much less intimidating once you’ve typed a single sentence. After you jump the first hurdle, it’s up to you to keep going and finish the rest of your race.
Kalli Damschen is a senior English and journalism major from Layton, Utah. She is a reporter for the Lariat.