Booting Motivation

By Olivia Stumpo, ACH Clear Pathways/Community Writing Center Intern

As the end of the semester nears, the weather begins to change, and school becomes a drag. I’ve seen it happen in peers, students, and myself. The finals are on the horizon, but all that you can think about is summer. As this part of the year comes up again, it’s important to stay motivated. I did a little research, checked some old textbooks, and found some great tips to incorporate into my work habits. 

Across the boards, the types of tips I found centered on achievable goals that result in a reward. This can be as simple as having your favorite snack after working for so long or remembering that summer vacation comes after the semester is done. I can remember discussing this extensively in an Inclusive Education class. We discussed arranging a reward after a certain goal or behavior was achieved with IEP students. As these habits form, the rewards gradually taper off in an effort to enforce the new natural behavior. So enjoying ice cream after studying for all day, then a full week, then a month until the reward is no longer necessary. 

The important thing about these goals though, they need to be specific and measurable. Take the early ice cram example, that is not a well articulated goal. It’s too general about what studying will entail. Instead, a goal like by completing my Math homework, English homework, and class journal, I can have ice cream today, can be easily decided as achieved. It has clear steps that mean it is completed. It’s all about creating a to-do list and deciding the prize at the end. 

In my life, I know these motivation strategies will be important. As a teacher, I will have to inspire my students to keep going in their educational career. These goal making strategies will be implemented in many projects, both long term and short term. Rewards will be important then too. Movie days after weeks of reading a long book, moral discussion days to ease off content heavy days, will all serve as reprieves or rewards for their strong efforts in my class.

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