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What motivates you?

Motivation is essential to study success, but unfortunately it does not always come naturally. At some stage we all encounter slow or challenging times when it is difficult to stay motivated. Fortunately, there are ways to increase motivation and ultimately focus on the outcomes you hope to achieve while studying at university.

It might be helpful to reflect on your reasons for pursuing your study goals. Your reasons might be influenced by internal, external, positive or negative motivators.

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation comes from within. This motivates you to complete a task because it is interesting, or has high value to you; the satisfaction comes from completing the task itself. A student who is intrinsically motivated might think:

  • I really enjoy learning new things
  • I am broadening my horizons
  • I want to contribute to my field
Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation draws on external forces that influence our actions, and is usually focused on either attaining a reward or avoiding punishment. Examples of extrinsic motivation:

  • I need to get good grades to get approval from others
  • I won’t get a job without doing this degree
  • If I don’t do well I will lose my scholarship
Positive Motivation

Positive motivation is driven by the enjoyment that you associate with the task. This might sound like:

  • I like what I’m learning and the time I spend studying is worth it
  • I can achieve my study goals
  • What I’m learning right now will be useful in the future
Negative Motivation

Negative motivation is mediated by the negative consequences associated with failing to meet a certain goal. Some examples of negative motivation might be:

  • My family will be disappointed in me if I don’t get a degree
  • I won’t succeed in life without tertiary qualifications
  • Everyone will think I’m stupid if I don’t get a certain mark

We’ve put together a selection of useful tips for helping you improve your motivation.

  • Reflect on the reasons you originally enrolled in university. Write a list and keep it in a visible place.
  • Set goals. Get a clear picture of what you have to do and set some short, medium and long-term goals.
  • Our self-help resources can provide you with more information on time management, dealing with perfectionism and procrastination.
  • Create a work environment that encourages you to study. If you are motivated by working with others then think about joining a study group.
  • Celebrate successes. Reward yourself for the tasks that you have achieved and deadlines that you have met.
Apps for improving motivation
Useful Links
USC Services to access when motivation is low

More information

Student Wellbeing

General enquiries

Tel: +61 7 5430 1226

Opening hours

Monday–Friday: 8.30am–4:30pm, Ground floor, Building E

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