How to Motivate Yourself to Keep Learning

Have you ever tried to learn something new? Whether it was a language, a skill, or information for a job certification, learning is serious work.

If you’re trying to learn something on top of a full-time work schedule, learning can feel like just one more thing that needs to get done. After a long day of work, it’s easy to push aside something extra like learning.

The instant gratification of doing anything else can make us skip our learning goals. That’s why it’s so important to keep motivating yourself to learn.

It would be nice if motivation just came naturally. Sometimes it does. But most of the time, we have to take motivation into our own hands. Below are five tips to help you stay motivated to learn more.

5 learning motivation strategies

1. Write down why you want to learn something

It’s important to write down the reason or reasons why you want to learn. Keep your reason somewhere where you can see it often. When you’re not motivated to learn, you can refer to your reason to help give yourself the willpower you need to keep learning.

For example, if you’re trying to learn Spanish in preparation for a trip to Spain, you should write down your plan for that trip. If you have a date and travel plans set, put them up somewhere where you’ll see them often.

Sometimes it helps to leave notes for yourself where you’ll see them. For example, you might put a note on the fridge that says, “Have you studied Spanish yet?” If learning is the last thing you do before bed, it might help to have a note by your nightstand that says, “Take time to learn Spanish so you’re prepared for your trip.”

Notes like this can seem awkward, but having constant visual reminders can help you stay motivated to learn. It doesn’t matter what your “why” is when it comes to learning. What matters is that your reason why matters to you.

If your reason for learning is “It’s what’s expected of me,” you may find that your motivation runs dry. Your reason for learning has to be deeply meaningful to you. Whether it’s “so I can get a promotion” or “so I can travel,” what matters is taking the time to write down the reasons for your learning goals.

clear goals quotes brian tracy

“People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.”
– Brian Tracy

2. Set aside a time to learn each day

If you’re trying to learn something, make sure you set aside some time to learn every single day. When you’re learning something new, it helps encounter the information several times. Although there will be days when you have more time to learn, learning happens by taking small, consistent actions.

Set aside some time every day that you can reliably work on learning. For some people, that means getting up half an hour earlier to have time to learn. Others who struggle with mornings find that learning best fits right before bed.

If you have a job that gives you an extended lunch break, you might work on learning during that break. What’s important is that the time you choose is one you can consistently use to learn.

Once you’ve decided what time of day you’ll dedicate to learning, stick with it. There will be days when you don’t feel like it, but to keep learning, you’ll need to stick with your pre-appointed time.

3. Set goals to guide your learning

set your goals learning

It’s easier to stay motivated to learn when you set goals to guide your learning. You should set small, medium, and large goals. For example, a large goal might be to “pass the test to be a certified pharmacy technician.” Your smaller goals related to that may be things like “memorize generic names of top 200 drugs” and “pass a practice test online.”

When you break down your bigger goals, you give yourself a clear roadmap to guide your learning. When you set goals, it’s helpful to remember the acronym SMART. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Specific: a specific goal will leave no doubt about what it looks like to reach your goal. Instead of giving yourself a vague goal like “learn more,” you can give yourself a goal like “read ten books about psychology.” The more specific you can be, the better.

Measurable: a measurable goal will have a clear metric for tracking your progress. Some goals, like learning a language, may not have an inherently obvious way to measure progress. In cases like these, you might make the goal “study Spanish every day for six months.” You can measure your progress by noting how many days you’ve studied over six months.

Attainable: An attainable goal should challenge you while still being realistic about your abilities. For example, you’re unlikely to master a new language in a week. An attainable goal will carefully consider what learning goals are realistic for your abilities and life situation. For learning a language, an attainable goal might be to be reasonably proficient after six months of consistent study.

Relevant: a relevant learning goal will be one that matters to you or helps you move toward your goals. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to focus all of your energy on learning Spanish if you’re actually planning a trip to France. Your learning goals need to make sense for the plans you have.

Time-bound: a time-bound goal has a deadline. It helps if you can give yourself a deadline to get things done. Many people like 90-day goals because a lot can be done in 90 days without losing momentum. If you have a larger goal, like “finish grad school,” you might want to break up your goal into smaller pieces.

Having goals to guide your learning can help you stay motivated. If you know your goal’s deadline is approaching, you may find the extra bit of motivation you need to focus on learning.

4. Find an app to help you learn

There are a lot of learning apps available for use on your smartphone or tablet. A large number of these apps have free versions that can help you learn a language, a skill, or information for certification.

One major benefit to using an app to learn is the portability of learning. With an app, you can learn from anywhere. You can learn while taking public transit while waiting in line at the grocery store, or during breaks at work.

Most learning apps have the option to send notifications to your phone. If your goal is to work on learning every morning at 8 a.m., you can have your app notify you at that time as a reminder.

Many people have learning goals about how many books they’re going to read during the year. Reading apps like Kindle, Overdrive, and Scribd offer a great resource for reading on the go. You can download books to read during your downtime, making reading accessible to you anytime, anywhere.

5. Celebrate your progress

As you make progress toward your learning goals, take time to celebrate your progress. It may help to have a small reward for yourself at certain points in your learning. For example, if your goal is to read fifty books in one year, you might give yourself a smaller reward each time you finish ten books.

Rewards can be something small, like a meal out or a small purchase you’ve been wanting to make. What matters is that you celebrate the progress you make. When you celebrate your progress, you motivate yourself to continue learning.

The progress you’ve already made toward your learning goal can be a major motivating factor for your future progress. Take time to celebrate with others. Whether your friends have similar goals or not, take time to share your progress.

The encouragement, congratulations, and energy that come from sharing your progress can help propel you to your next learning goal post. Although we tend to shy away from bragging on social media, it’s okay to celebrate your progress.

If you share that you’ve studied Spanish every day for a year, you might discover that you have a few friends who have been learning Spanish as well. This connection can help you stay motivated.

rewards quotes mary kom

“The truth is, the harder you fight, the sweeter are the rewards in the end.”
– Mary Kom

Conclusion

Saying that you want to learn something isn’t enough to keep you motivated. Every day, there are things we “want” to do that don’t end up getting done. If you want to stay motivated to learn, you should take the time to write down exactly why learning is important to you.

When you’re less motivated, refer back to that reason to keep you moving forward.

Progress toward your learning goals is only made through consistent action. This makes daily learning a powerful and essential habit to develop. When learning becomes a part of your daily rhythm, you equip yourself to learn more.

Faith Taylor
Faith Taylor
Faith Taylor is a writer living in Mount Vernon, Ohio, USA. She loves reading memoirs, writing, and doing anything that involves being creative.

We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. Disclosure

Related Articles

You Should Never Give Up on Your Dreams: 6 Reasons

You have dreams, don’t let anyone or anything stop you. 6 reasons why you should never give up on your dreams. Giving up is easy...

Why Are Goals Important? 7 Reasons Why

Why are goals important? and why goal is important? Goals can help you move toward your ideal future. 1. Goals can help you focus...

60 Speak with Kindness Quotes to spread Love

Speak with kindness quotes. Words with actions are like perfume that can attract the people who smell it and become influenced by kindness...

7 Effective Study Techniques for College Students to Try

Good study habits start with setting goals, being consistent, and learning from our failures. Effective Study Techniques for College to Try..

Quotes to Inspire Yourself: 42 Short Quotes to Say to Yourself

To be successful, we should use every day as an opportunity to change. Short Quotes to say to yourself that will inspire you...

How Reading a Lot Can Help You Succeed

When you keep reading, you set yourself up for success. How reading a lot can help you succeed. Here few reasons why reading can help you...

60 Just Be Yourself Quotes | Yes, YOU!

May these Just Be Yourself quotes give you the inspiration to get better in your life. Be yourself, but always your better self...

60 Sad Quotes that Heart can’t Express

Sad quotes. The good times of today are the sad thoughts of tomorrow. Sadness quotes. Please remember, sad things do happen in our life...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here