Feel like you have low or even no motivation to study? Friend, we’ve all been there. Whether you need help keeping your inspiration alive or you’re not sure how to find motivation to study in the first place, we’ve got some tips and quotes to help you climb this academic mountain.
Sometimes you need to change your whole routine to regain motivation to study. Other times, all you need is a couple of wise words – some motivational study quotes – to get into the right headspace.
To cover both scenarios and get you back on track, we’ve compiled a mix of study motivation quotes and practical tips for staying motivated to study. Much of the advice here comes from Zoe Cumming, Emily Nilsen, Aditya Neurgaonkar, Luke Liu and Penelope Spears, 5 UQ students who graduated Year 12 in 2021 with an ATAR over 99. (If that doesn’t prove you’re highly motivated, we don’t know what does.)
How to get motivated to study
The way to get motivated now is to think about where you want to be in the future. Often the things that motivate us are immediate rewards:
- We’re motivated to eat chocolate because it tastes good.
- We’re motivated to play videogames because they’re fun.
- We’re motivated to scroll through TikTok because it’s full of cheap, fast laughs.
There’s nothing wrong with any of those things. The trouble is, when we think about how to be motivated to study, the rewards aren’t so quick or easy to see. “Getting good grades” seems vague, and “getting into university” feels very distant.
So, how do we turn these abstract goals into something that can motivate us daily?
The trick that works for some students, like Zoe Cumming, is to represent your studying motivation in a physical form.
Zoe had an advantage that we don’t all get – but one that can be very powerful in finding your motivation to study. She already knew that she wanted to become an engineer after high school.
“Sometimes I needed physical reminders to stay motivated,” she says.
“So I taped an engineering information card to my desk to remind myself what I was striving towards.”
For Emily Nilsen and Aditya Neurgaonkar, envisioning a bright future was the key to getting motivated to study.
“Reminding myself of my long-term goals and getting excited for the future helped a lot,” says Emily.
Aditya feels the same.
“I kept thinking about how amazing and worthwhile the end-of-year celebrations would be and thinking that if I kept going there is light at the end of the tunnel,” he says.
“And eventually I would look back at this journey with joy and pride knowing I didn’t give up when the studies got tough.”
Take a moment now to think about what you want to do when you graduate Year 12. It might be a specific career path like Zoe’s, it might be an academic scholarship you’d like to receive, or it might just be the idea of getting into university and making your family proud.
Whatever your goal is, find a way to embody it and place it somewhere you’ll see it every day. It could be:
- a screenshot of the scholarship you want to get, glued onto the inside cover of your planner
- a photo collage of people doing your dream job, saved as your laptop wallpaper
- a picture of your family members who will be proud of you, in a frame on your bedroom desk
- a website about your planned Schoolies destination, bookmarked in your web browser
- a weekly catch up with your best friend(s) to chat about your plans for the future.
How to stay motivated to study
We all know finding motivation to study can be challenging. So, once you’re in the zone, it’s best to keep yourself there.
Here’s the problem, though. When you’re 25 and looking back at high school, each year will seem like a tiny flash in your memory. But right now, in the thick of it, every school period is like a hike – so staying motivated to study is a daily battle.
When your spirit starts to fade and your focus begins to wander, those external motivators we listed above may no longer cut it. This might be when you need to dig deep and find inspiration within yourself instead.
The urge to make themselves proud is what pushed Luke Liu and Penelope Spears on whenever their motivation stumbled.
“I think I just wanted to achieve my full academic potential,” says Luke.
“I always believed that I could do well, and I didn’t want to waste my Year 12 by not trying my hardest and getting the best possible ATAR.”
Penelope was much the same.
“Ultimately, I wanted to be proud of my final results and not leave anything left in the tank,” she says.
If this mindset gets you back in the game, that’s great. But, if not, don’t freak out – there’s nothing wrong with you. Some of us don’t have that internal “motivate myself” switch that we can just turn on at will. This just means we need some practical strategies to keep ourselves going.
For Aditya, the Pomodoro Technique worked wonders for keeping his mind focused and his motivation fresh.
“An example could be 50 minutes of concentrated study and then 10 minutes of break time where the goal is to do anything but studying,” he says.
“The idea is to stop thinking about work while you are on a break – I found it to be quite useful during heavy assessment periods.”
Approaching homework and revision like this means your subconscious never feels like your whole world is being overrun by study. You still have regular intervals to relax and recharge, which means your motivation to study has a chance to refuel as well.
Why don’t I have motivation to study?
We hate to throw this dreaded word around, but if you’re asking this question, there’s a good chance it’s burnout. Burnout can leave you feeling exhausted and uninspired, along with a whole host of physical symptoms like catching more colds and a change in appetite.
The good news is there are ways to prevent and recover from burning out. The key is maintaining a balance between your schoolwork and all the other stuff in your life. This is why we’ve covered burnout extensively here: How to balance study and life in Year 12.
Motivational quotes for studying
Look, if you’re sceptical about the power of “motivational” quotes, we don’t blame you. Sometimes they feel tacky or even downright silly. But we’ve seen them help enough students that we can’t help but think there must be something in them.
So, just in case the right combination of words will kindle your motivation to study, here are 10 quotes to consider adding to your inspo wall (whether that’s a physical wall in your room or a virtual wall online).
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela
This is a great study motivation quote for anyone who has big ambitions for making an impact on the world.
“Procrastination makes easy things hard and hard things harder.”
– Mason Cooley
If you’re a serial procrastinator (no shame in that), a quote like this can push you back into your study if you go off the rails.
“The expert in anything was once a beginner.”
– Helen Hayes
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”
– Zig Ziglar
Both of these quotes are really telling you: Don’t let perfectionism stop you from learning new things or revising a topic you don’t understand. The first few attempts at anything can be challenging if you don’t like the feeling of “not getting it”. But persevering through that awkward stage is the only way to understand and eventually master a subject.
“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”
– Beverly Sills
If you want the good results, you’ll need to put in the hard work. At least you already know the potential outcome – your dream degree or a valuable scholarship – will be worth the effort.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss
Silly rhymes? Check. Simple words? Check? Surprisingly insightful wisdom that forces you to see things in a new light? Yeah… check.
“We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.”
– Ariana Huffington
Too often as students, we let a minor setback convince us that we’re “not good” at a certain subject or that we can only do so well. The truth is that making mistakes on the path to getting it right is a more valuable journey than getting it right the first time. Falling and getting back up shows us the obstacles to watch out for, and it teaches us that we can overcome them.
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
– Jim Ryun
“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”
– Edmund Hillary
Year 12 can indeed feel like a mountain. But, in the end, getting the best results will happen if you focus on defeating your own challenges. This means overcoming any barriers you have (like a habit of procrastinating), celebrating your accomplishments, and not comparing yourself to others. You don’t have to be the first to the top of the mountain – you just need to get there at your own pace.
“I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.”
– Coleman Cox
If you revise half of your subject’s content before the final exam, you’ll either get lucky or unlucky. If you revise all your subject’s content, you can only get lucky.