How to pick up your motivation to study, or to do anything, again?

Most of you would have finished with your exams already but for those who are still fighting through the final days, your mind might already be wandering off to the fantasy land – where all post-exam ideas are planted. And for whatever reason you might have for clicking into this article, it is certain that you are losing your motivation to study or to pick up what you have been working on.

While each of you can have a different studying goal and motivation, the ways to get motivated follow this universal rules of “CREST”. Here is the formula for creating your motivation mojo: 



1. C for Cleaning 

“A cluttered space is a cluttered mind.” is beyond just an expression. This New York Times article reported that a disorganised place tends to be a stressful environment for working. And it can bring negative impact to our mental well-being. So it is no surprise that you don’t feel motivated if your books and notes are scattered around your desk. And if you don’t feel motivated studying, you can use this opportunity to get yourself into the mind-set of working as a warm-up. After all, there is no harm of cleaning your own room!

Tips on cleaning: If your desk or room is an absolute chaos, no need to be all Marie Kondo. Focus on a corner first and start decluttering there. Pile up your unwanted things and trash them at the end of finishing up a corner. Put your trash can in the middle of the room to make it easier. 



2. R for Refreshing

After cleaning your room, it’s time to work on your mind. One of the best ways to declutter your mind is to take a break. Don’t feel obliged to work all the time and don’t feel bad about resting. Your brain, much like a machine, needs to rest and recharge in order to perform smoothly. Limit your media time also during your break – no phone, no computer, and no TV. 

Tips on refreshing your mind:

•  Eat normally – don’t skip meals.
•  Take a cold shower.
•  Do meditation.
•  Try stretching or some yoga poses.
•  Breathing exercise: Lie on the floor for 10 minutes and focus just on your breathing.



3. E for Exercising

I am certain that you have been lectured the benefits of exercising from your parents, teachers, and college talks throughout your whole life but do you know exercising can also give you a motivational boost? 

This psychology research points out that exercising autonomously can enhance your intrinsic motivation because you perform “an activity for  its inherent satisfactions”. And it is widely known that endorphin is released in your brain during exercising, which explains why we often feel “at ease and happy afterwards”. So when you feel unmotivated and lazy, it’s best if you exercise rather than letting the plaguing laziness getting the best of you/

Tips on exercising: If going to the gym or exercising seems like a foreign idea to you, then go out for a walk or just a 15-min run. It will help you to clear your mind and get some fresh air before you start studying again.



4. S for Small Steps

Our brains get hooked on achieving short-term goals, where having a few consecutive wins will spike the release of dopamine in our brain, hence the accelerated productivity. The trick is to set up “realistic and specific” short-term goals by leveraging your strength. 

An example of that may be igniting your motivation to go to the gym again. Figure out what is your goal for going to the gym: fitness, aesthetic, health etc. Then set up specific small goals for your to achieve. You may start by doing 10 push-ups a day if you are building up strength, while you can choose to run for 15 minutes instead if you hope to slim down. 

*Much like my article on handling  deadline stress where I taught you to set small deadlines to tackle the final deadline.



5. T for Take it slow

A lack of motivation can be caused by constant multi-tasking, physical fatigue, and increasing pressure to perform well. Therefore, if you rush the  “CREST” strategy, your body will only react adversely to the changes – and you are not getting a real mind refresher! For you to regain your motivation again, try the following:

Tip: Don’t cram all the changes and memorise all the goals at once. If allows, jot down your goals and track your progress with a notebook (or a schedule book). Over time, you will see the result of the your great plans!



Note: Avolition is not to be confused with “laziness”, as the former refers to the lack of motivation or ability to do tasks or activities that have an end goal, such as paying bills or attending a school function. Please seek medical assistant if you have been experiencing it for 12+ months.


Adas is an English language graduate from the U.K., now transiting from recruitment to academia (exciting!). While she is not at her desk working or researching, she likes argue with strangers or watch strangers arguing in debating competitions as an avid debater and debate judge. Feel free to reach out if you want some advice on job application, public speaking, or career planning!

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