Motivation Techniques for learning to help you reach your goals

Ok, we all know learning is beneficial but what can we do to keep ourselves at it? Let’s face it. Learning and staying motivated is a BLOODY HARD thing to do.

Typically, I start off all excited about a topic, have dreams about what I’m going to achieve and accomplish. I begin and it is all going well! Piece of cake you say. If you’re like me, (i’m currently learning French), you start imagining a day where you are impressing everyone with your French vocabulary.

And then halfway (I’m exaggerating here! Maybe 1/10th?) into the process, it ALL FALLS APART. Things in your life get in the way. The excitement dies off. Suddenly, it is so hard to get there! Your progress slows down and then, the learning gets swept under somewhere and your goals desert you and in the worst cases, you blame it on something other than yourself.

Motivation techniques for learning

So what motivational techniques are there to help us stay on track with our learning? To be successful learners, we need to learn how to learn.

1. Break down your learning into chunks

Plan your learning and divide it into digestible chunks. Be realistic. It’s okay if it is only a really small chunk. You want to make sure it is do-able, something that you can regularly commit to. This will help you slowly build your routine.

2. Try the “Pomodoro” technique and reward yourself

Learn how to learn - Motivational techniques for learning - PomodoroBarbara Oakley teaches a course on learning how to learn. In her highly rated book, Learning how to Learn, she recommends the “Pomodoro” technique, which she believes is one of the most powerful methods to help one learn. Decide on your task and do the following:

  1. Set a Pomodoro timer or any timer (traditionally to 25 minutes, but its up to you to decide).
  2. Work on the task.
  3. End work when the timer rings and checkmark the task.
  4. Treat yourself for completing the task! And continue again.

3. Set a regular routine and work it into your daily activities

When I learn French, I do it for 15 minutes on my daily commute on train. I’ve found this highly effective.  You can do it too. Find a reasonable time within your daily activities and fit a small chunk for learning. 

4. Exercise your brain by doing different types of tasks

One can easily get bored if they keep doing the same tasks. So spread your learning out with different types of tasks. For example, you could be reading one day, listening to a podcast or doing some practice exercises. 

5. Take a train your mind course

Train your brain to not procrastinate. We all procrastinate and once we do, it is goes downhill. Read books on how to train your mind or even better, participate in courses such as John Kehoe’s Mind Power.  There is no hard and fast rule. So, try and experiment and find something that suits you.

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