A degree, or similar higher education qualification, takes a long time to achieve – even longer if you’re studying part-time while working. At the beginning of your studying journey you’re eager and ready to learn. But this motivated attitude will likely not last unless you build sustainable study motivation.

In this blog I’m going to teach you about the two different types of study motivation and why you need both of them to get through your degree.


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Motivation is defined as having a strong reason to act or accomplish something. You need study motivation to compel you into doing the work to complete your qualification with the grades you want.

But we know study motivation can sometimes be elusive. One day you might feel motivated and enthusiastic, yet other days it seems impossible to wrench yourself away from your bed/sofa/phone/TV to study.

The solution for this is to understand your two types of study motivation.

The Two Types of Study Motivation You Need to Get Through Your Degree

1. ‘One day’ study motivation

The is the type that’s talked about most often. It’s about motivating yourself in the present by looking forward to the future; using your future dreams to compel you to work towards them now.

To work out your ‘one day’ study motivation – ask yourself the following questions.
Why did you start studying?
What do you want to do with your education?
What dream are you hoping to achieve with your studying?
Are you trying to prove something to yourself?
Are you studying for someone or in memory of someone?

I asked myself these questions when I started my business degree. I started studying to prove to myself I could do it. I had a shitty experience at Sixth Form and came out of it thinking I wasn’t good enough for higher education. I was enjoying my job but felt stuck without the skills or qualifications to move higher so I wanted a degree to create more opportunities in my career. I also wanted to learn more about business because, since I was a child, I had always dreamed of working for myself so this degree would help me get closer to that dream.

Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, take a piece of paper and write down your ‘one day’ motivation on half of the page.

2. ‘Everyday’ motivation

Now this type isn’t talked about as much but it’s the key to sustainable study motivation. It’s important to have an idea what you want in the future but when your graduation is far in the future you often need some motivation a little closer to home. Some students find it easier than others to make themselves work now for future reward. But a lot of students need more tangible motivations to help them study hard now.

‘Everyday’ study motivation refers to the little, day-to-day things you enjoy about studying and that help you get through your study sessions. True motivation is often made up of the real stuff, the small things.

To work out your ‘everyday’ motivation, ask yourself, what small things motivate you to learn and work hard every day?

I’ll share my list of what motivates me every day to help you work out yours.

My ‘everyday’ study motivation

- A cosy study space with fairy lights and pictures
- Setting small study rewards for the end of study sessions
- Completing a page of neat, clear notes
- A variety of yummy loose leaf tea to choose from
- Achieving a good grade or receiving great tutor feedback
- Study snacks (normally chocolate and crisps)
- Fun pens and highlighters
- The satisfaction and warm fuzzy feeling of understanding a concept straight away
- The fresh feeling and potential of a fresh notebook

Add your ‘everyday’ study motivation to your ‘one day’ list and keep it close as you study. When you’re lacking study motivation take a look at the list. First, reconnect to your reasons for studying because visualising your future opportunities and success will help you stay motivated in the present. Next, look at the ‘everyday’ list and check whether your study motivations are present in your current study sessions. If they’re not, what can you implement from your list right now to boost your motivation to study?

Complete this exercise and you’ll have an incredible, personalised resource to use over and over again to boost your study motivation.

I would love to see your lists so feel free to share with me on Instagram – chloe.burroughs


How to Actually START Your Essay

Workbook + video training to take you from procrastination and overwhelm to understanding your question and mapping out your ideas with momentum. Easier, faster essay writing (and higher grades) await.

Start Your Essay

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