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How do you remind yourself that what you're doing/studying is important in the long run and let it truly sink in and motivate you?


Thank you all so much for answering my question. Just out of curiosity, how have you all applied the advice you just gave me in your own lives? I just want to get a feel for what I could be doing because sometimes it can feel like I'm stuck in the middle of an ocean and I don't know which way to swim. Kaela S.

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Ramona’s Answer

I try to remember that we are a constant work in progress. The goals we set are what drives us forward. What we learn today are the building blocks of our foundation towards those goals. These building blocks such (i.e. classes/studying/life experiences) is what helps us learn and grow. We might feel at times that these building blocks are unrelated to what we are trying to achieve. However, by focusing on these when they challenge us and our motivation, consider this as an opportunity to grow in your thought process, learn from your mistakes and celebrate you successes.

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Gloria’s Answer

This question is something that you will probably struggle with throughout your life, not just the school experience. I have a lot of project-based work and sometimes it can be hard to stay motivated when a project takes a long time to complete. My challenge is to remember why I am doing the work and what is the goal that I am hoping to achieve. That can mean walking away and trying to come back to the task at a different time. The project that I am currently working on has so many components that I can jump from one to another and get some relief from bored or frustration. Sometimes I have to remind myself that the project is important and that if I do it well, I will get some type of reward. At school, that would be graduating. At work, it means something good to put on my annual review that can result in monetary compensation. That can work. Sometimes I have to make the tasks smaller and make it like a TO DO item. I like to get things done, so I create tasks that give me a sense of achievement in the short term. Like, I would complete the next chapter of the training that I am creating by the end of the day. That gives me a sense of accomplishment. I like to finish things and that can make me happy today. I also share what I have accomplished so people can help me stay focused and positive.

You are going to have days where what you study doesn't sink in. If you do your homework earlier enough, you will have time to revisit the work before you submit it. I would also say ask other people for help. They can give you ideas that you wouldn't have on your own. For one of my friends, I also did an editorial review on their papers for college. It allowed him to get feedback from someone else, especially when he wasn't feeling inspired.

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Patrick’s Answer

Hi Kaela,

If you do not enjoy what you are doing, my advice would be to explore other area. Granted, everyone needs a paycheck. I believe it is possible to enjoy what you are doing at the moment without abandoning long term dreams. My advice would be to be honest with yourself about what it is that you want in life. If you are having a rough spot, that is one thing. If you are finding yourself constantly disinterested, there may be other avenues in life to explore.

I am a film maker. I felt a calling to it for my whole life, always having love entertainment. I didn't go to film school until I was 31. Being on set fills me with incredible joy and I could work on film projects endlessly. I am still in a customer service job, because you have to pay the bills ( I happen to enjoy that as well, but it's not the long term goal). I am doing practical things to fuel the cultivation and the eventual realization of the things I want in life. It looks like working two jobs sometimes. What you are doing now, if it will lead to a paycheck in the short term, is a good thing. But there may be something better out there for you and using where you are to get where you'd like to go is an even better thing.

Patrick recommends the following next steps:

Be honest with yourself about what you love more than anything else in the world
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Imagine ways to make it lucrative
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Craft a practical plan to get there (which may include time spend where you are now)
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Be happy
Saved!

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Colleen’s Answer

Kaela, for starters, you should congratulate yourself for thinking this broadly while you're still in school - well done! There is value in nearly every task or activity we perform, both positive and constructive. The habits you develop today will either support your longer-term goals or they will become blockers, you get to choose. I remind my 14 year old high schooler every week when he's tackling math and telling me for the 100th time he will never use this (and he's probably right :)), that the process he has developed for preparing to study, applying analytical methods to problem-solving, and completing the task - those are the memory muscles that will be ingrained in him for years to come. Maintain your focus on what is important, the bigger picture, but not at the expense of picking up lessons along the way.

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Michele’s Answer

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going....very cliché right?? But there are always things in your way , obstacles, maybe a road that is not easy to travel... remind yourself of what you are trying to accomplish. There will be things that will in your way that will suck the joy out of an experience. Don't let that happen.

This is more of a mental game in how you gaze. Do you think...this is impossible? or I can do this! Lean on others...have that person in your life that can help pick you up, make you laugh, and blow-off steam.

Plan how you are going to celebrate after you achieve your goal.

Thank you for your question...you give me great hope in the future!

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Riley’s Answer

For me, this is something that I have learned to take one day at a time. When you are in college taking 5 classes per semester as well as having a job and trying to maintain a social life, it is pretty easy to want to just slack off and give up because you are so overwhelmed. To help myself stay focused on my goals, I try to break things up into individual tasks. For example, if I were to get a 50-page paper that I need to write in 2 weeks, instead of just getting overwhelmed and putting it off until I feel like I'm drowning, I would require myself to write around 10 pages per day for the entire period. That way you are more likely to actually complete your assignments in a timely manner because it is much less stressful to just say, "okay just 10 pages then I can watch tv," than it is to wait until the last minute and then panic and not do well on the paper.

Sorry if this was rambling, but the point I wanted to get across is just to take it one day at a time. By focusing on just one small task at a time, you will be done with college before you know it, and reaching your goals will seem like a much more attainable task.

Riley recommends the following next steps:

Take one day at a time.
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This really makes sense, thank you!! Elle A.

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Dave’s Answer

I think continuing to frame it for yourself as: this is a small piece of a much larger picture. Being able to compartmentalize and focus on small tasks will always be important regardless of the field you choose or career you end up in. Having that context has always been really helpful for me.

Best of luck!

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Melanie’s Answer

Hi!

Goal setting is one way to do this. First, list out your short and long term goals and when you'd like to complete them. Once you have a time frame down, think about all the things you will need to get there. This can be daunting, but it is very motivating. For example, I am currently a senior in college and want to become a counselor. When I graduated high school, I planned out what classes would be useful, what experience I would need, financial constraints and if I needed to pursue further education. Now, I am currently working on writing personal statements and asking for letters of recommendation for my Master's degree. It's really a matter for finding an overarching goal, then applying smaller goals to that to realize that in the long run, the 'useless' stuff will be useful and help you gain the knowledge you need to succeed.

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Zainee’s Answer

You are so right - sometimes we can get stuck in the weeds and just go through the motions. You asking this question already shows a level of self awareness.
How to reaffirm vision and focus will vary from person to person. I'll share with you what has worked for me.

1: Have your own big picture goal, your mantra - I put this on a letter board and have it in my office. It especially helps on tough days.
2: Prioritize work based on what matters most.
3: Think of ways to re-energize. This can be a daily, weekly habit.

Hopefully this will help you put your plan together so you can stay motivated on areas that are most important to you.

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Kaela! This is a pretty good question and one that I have also had when studying premed. I think you always need to remind yourself of your end goal, where do you want to be and what do you need to do to get there? It's true sometimes you get so much coursework or it may seem like it's taking forever to get to the next phase in your life but everything you are doing is building up for it. It's important to realize that the classes you're taking and the studying you're completing are preparing you for your future endeavors. Take it slow, focus on the classes and activities you have now, sometimes rushing can lead to setbacks. Keep working hard and take time to plan carefully; I would recommend to write down your thoughts and classes to take and what your goals are, then keep that nearby as a reminder!

Best of luck!

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Rashid’s Answer

Hi, hope you are doing good. Motivation can come from anyone or anything, even the simplest of things and simplest of beings. Studying and learning is just a part, choosing the correct option and be passionate about it is another ball game altogether. So, its good to think your carrier option first whatever you are passionate about and then lean towards it.

HI Rashid, although I might be mistaken, I believe the student meant that they already found something they are passionate about but are having trouble remembering the big picture. We've all had that experience where we are passionate about our major but we have to take a boring/difficult class to get that degree. How do you motivate yourself to keep going even during those moments? Gurpreet Lally

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Hanna’s Answer

I sometimes think about those who are holding a position I am working towards and think about the impact they are making and all that I have learned from them.

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Estelle’s Answer

When I was an OB Gyn resident, I would work long hours and spend many nights away from my children. During times of great stress or fatigue, I would think of my children and the life that I wanted to provide for them. That was motivation enough for me.

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Megan’s Answer

I always ask myself: Why are you doing all of this?

And I take a minute to think about the end goal, and why it is all worth it.

When I get overwhelmed, consistent exercise has been so beneficial to my overall mental health, and giving myself breaks when I need them has allowed me to keep going.

I also like looking at interesting videos, documentaries, audiobooks, podcasts, in my field that remind me how interesting and meaningful my career will be. It reminds me that the all the work and stress is worth the reward.

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Karen’s Answer

Great question. Looking at the big picture can be overwhelming. Focus on one task at a time. Try to study when its most effective for you. If you are not a morning person then that may not be the best study time for you. After each semester look back at what you accomplished and be proud of yourself.

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Rachel’s Answer

I chose my career based on previous life experiences. I lost family members to cancer and decided that I wanted to become a cancer surgeon. When I lost motivation, I spent a little time thinking about people whom I cared about deeply but who had passed away. I couldn't spend time with them anymore, but I could take care of others with the same illnesses and challenges. That was incredible motivation to get through med school and residency.

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Rashid’s Answer

Hi, hope you are doing good. Motivation can come from anyone or anything, even the simplest of things and simplest of beings. Studying and learning is just a part, choosing the correct option and be passionate about it is another ball game altogether. So, its good to think your carrier option first whatever you are passionate about and then lean towards it.

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Haley’s Answer

Hey Kaela!

That is a great question and at times I still get overwhelmed by how large the projects/goals I set are. When I ran long distance in college, we had a mantra that you eat an elephant one bite at a time. I think its important to set long-term goals and then break down those goals into smaller "bite-sized" pieces. That way you can mark things complete as you are on your way to accomplishing your bigger goals without feeling like you are drowning in an ocean. This is something I continue to do everyday with projects at work or even as I finish up my masters program.

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Britni’s Answer

Personally, I remind myself every day that the things that I am working hard at will pay off in the long run. Sometimes, it's easier said than done because trust me, I've had my share of good and bad days. It's great to be able to focus on the now as well as think for the future, but you can only prepare so much. Learn from your mistakes and try not to dwell on them and move on. Focusing on smaller tasks and getting them done will lead you in the right direction. Best of luck!

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Seul’s Answer

This is a such a great question, Kaela, and perhaps a question that we all mull over continuously. I think it's something we have to continue revisiting - kind of like yoga to remind yourself that every muscle in your body is important to your body in the long run. One thing I do to remind myself that what I’m doing/studying is important in the long run is drawing connections between what I do and the larger world, whether that is the environment or social structure. Identifying specific connections between those two help me re-evaluate my work and refocus. Hope this helps :)

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Giovanni’s Answer

Hello Kaela,

It is a good idea to write down your short term and long term goals in order to remind yourself where you want to be in the long run. When you have a future vision of yourself, you will always remind yourself with the help of the goals. You'll be able to set these goals for work and education; you'll be able to set yourself personal and professional goals. Write these goals down and constantly remind yourself which goal you'll complete until you get it. Once you complete the first goal, you'll be very motivated to complete the second one and from there the other goals that you have set yourself. Along with consistency, patience will be needed; with time comes great results.

Thank you. I hope this tip helps your develop a reminder in pursuing your goals; short and long term.

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