The simple trick that can help you stay motivated

This article was first published in June 2020.

It can be difficult to keep motivated at times, whether you're doing revision, coursework or just doing chores like tidying your room. Once your mind wanders and you fall down the rabbit hole of procrastination it's often hard to get back on track. If that sounds like you, don't worry.

We've asked leading mental health campaigner and author, Natasha Devon, to talk you through why you might find it hard to keep motivated and what you can do about it.

People who understand what drives them are better able to make choices which lead to them being happy, healthy and fulfilled.

1. Understand the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators

One of the key things to keep self motivated is knowing the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Natasha explains, "Your intrinsic motivators are the things that you would choose to do even if no-one else knew about them, and extrinsic motivators are things like treats and money."

2. Find your intrinsic motivators or driving force

Finding what motivates you intrinsically can help you understand what drives you to work hard. If you could choose the perfect day and it wasn't affected by grades, money or anything other than making you happy, how would you choose to spend it? "What you choose to do with your ideal day gives you a HUGE clue as to what your driving force is," says Natasha.

3. Find ways to make the task look and feel more like something you actually want to do.

Knowing what drives us means we can make tasks more intrinsically appealing, so we are more likely to want to do the task. But why does knowing what drives us help keep us motivated? "When we find it difficult to stay motivated," says Natasha, "it's usually because the thing that we are trying to do doesn't resemble our intrinsic motivation... the trick is to make the thing that you don't want to do look more like something that you would choose to do."

"People who understand what drives them are better able to make choices which lead to them being happy, healthy and fulfilled." Natasha explains, "Taking time to understand your intrinsic motivators now will really prove helpful in the future." Some things that Natasha suggests you could do to help stay motivated are: turning studying into an event using a digital platform, creating a presentation for your classmates or teaching another pupil who may be struggling, you learn by teaching others.

If you need support

You should always tell someone about the things you’re worried about. You can tell a friend, parent, guardian, teacher, or another trusted adult. If you're struggling with your mental health, going to your GP can be a good place to start to find help. Your GP can let you know what support is available to you, suggest different types of treatment and offer regular check-ups to see how you’re doing.

If you’re in need of in-the-moment support you can contact Childline, where you can speak to a counsellor. Their lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There are more links to helpful organisations on BBC Action Line.

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