Tuesday, March 21, 2023 | Sha'ban 28, 1444 H
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Focus on destination, forget the pain of journey

Last week I was watching a movie about a group of people climbing Mount Everest. I was covered in my blanket in my sofa sipping a hot cup of coco and asked what motivated those people to climb through the snow storms risking their lives?

Motivation is defined as the behaviors we do to satisfy our wishes, desires or goals. According to psychologists, motivation is rooted in a basic impulse to optimise well-being, minimise physical pain, and maximise pleasure and performance.

Psychologists suggest certain tips to help you generate that motivation. You may recall a time we had to do a particular task such as studying for an exam, or preparing a report but found it a big challenge to do that. You may doubt thinking ‘am I going to be able to write something interesting or relevant?' 'Is it even important to my work? These thoughts can make you feel less motivated to do any productive work.

So what can we do when we lack motivation?

According to psychologists, the first step is to acknowledge these feelings and not deny them. If these thoughts come to you while studying, write them down so you can think about them when you finish your work. The second step is to avoid running away from doing the task. Remember the result of not completing your work is worse than having to go through the frustration of reading for your incomplete paper.

Stop blaming yourself for delaying your work. Try to think about why you are doing it. Are you finding the task difficult or is it boring? What can you do to motivate yourself to work? Try to make studying as interesting as possible. Take short breaks and discuss any questions you may have with your friends or colleagues.

Be aware of any negative thoughts that may slow you down, for instance we sometimes compare ourselves with people around us and think they are better and smarter. Such thoughts make us more frustrated and less motivated. Remember that every one of us is different and each one of us has strengths and weaknesses.

Start with small steps, even if it includes working for just 20 minutes. See yourself as an airplane accelerating on a runway and then taking off to its destination.

Prioritise the most important tasks to start with to avoid multitasking. Communicate to others any difficulties and/or what you intend to do.

This can help you engage with the process and identify the important tasks. Communication / externalisation can help you to commit to immediate goals and you could also find out others’ points of view and tips.

Schedule your tasks

Ask yourself how much can I achieve in the next 2 hours instead of can I complete all tasks? In this way you do not get overwhelmed by the volume of study you need to do. Remember that studying can be challenging and take you out of your comfort zone. Think of hiking in Mountain Kilimanjaro. Pain gives way to pleasure when you begin to see the view from the peak and feel the fresh air on your face. When you reach the destination you get a sense of achievement and satisfaction. Focus on the outcome and not the struggle to get there!

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