Subscribe Here!

    | 4 min read

    5 Ways to Get Motivated to Study

    Updated 08/31/2022

    Over the course of your career as a physician, you'll need to take a lot of tests. Whether you're a medical student, resident, or practicing physician you'll usually have a test in your future.

    Motivation powers your commitment and provides you with the enthusiasm, focus, determination, and persistence to reach your goals and pass your next test. Study STRONG by integrating these five mental exercises in your daily routine! 

    Remember Why You Are Doing This

    You are progressing toward the incredibly desirable goal of becoming a doctor, passing the boards, or gaining expertise in your field. Your goal is attainable only by taking on and conquering the challenge at hand! 

    Practice being mindful

    Mindfulness is an excellent tool for preventing burnout, improving cognitive function, and more effective studying. Mindfulness is as simple as paying attention to yourself and your environment, in the present moment without judgment.

    Practicing mindfulness regularly improves your ability to recognize and dampen emotional swings as they happen.

    Try it out next time you think about studying. How do you feel about studying? How motivated are you to get started? If you're lacking in motivation, it's ok! Don't judge yourself for it; just accept it and focus on working through it with these next exercises.

    Change your mindset 

    Try putting yourself in a “growth” mindset rather than a “fixed” mindset. These mindsets determine how you handle challenges and setbacks. Chances are, you naturally gravitate towards one or another. This is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness and pay attention to your mindset and if you need to make adjustments.

    What's a fixed mindset? 

    A fixed mindset is learning behavior based on the belief that intelligence is fixed or static. You are either smart or not smart. Period. And that intelligence and talent alone are responsible for success.

    People with a fixed mindset fear failing at a task or challenge because they think that doing so will prove that they are not so intelligent after all. A setback is felt like a confirmation of inability, and “failures” are felt like just that—with profound negative emotion.

    People with fixed mindsets tend to stick with what they find easy to do and with what they already know. They tend to not take on new challenges they might fail at because they fear what may happen.

    How to set your mind to growth

    A growth mindset is a belief that learning and intelligence grow with experience, effort, and persistence. And that the amount of effort put into overcoming a challenge has a direct effect on success.

    Setbacks are simply learning nuggets, and “failures” are big learning experiences—important stepping stones on the path to success. This belief allows people to take on big challenges without fear of failure.

    The funny thing about these mindsets is that they are a self-fulfilling prophecy: Your actions will follow whichever mindset you adopt! 

    How to get motivated to study

    Focus on problem-solving and getting things done, rather than attributing your lack of productivity to another person or thing.

    Example: “I don’t have enough time.” Don’t even think that, much less dwell on it! Simply figure out what you must do to get the necessary time, given that you’ve committed to the task.

    And the best way to figure out what needs to be done? Personal Trainer, of course! 


    Keep a positive outlook

    Remember that you are an awesome, future expert doc with amazing grit. Everything you are doing now, even though it is difficult, is preparing you for success. Focus on why you wanted to become a doctor and keep it in your mind for those moments when motivation is lacking.

    These are our 5 mental exercises to help you stay motivated while studying! Can you think of anything we missed? Tweet us with your best tips. 

    If you haven't checked out our free StudyWise guide, it goes further into detail about each of these tips and the science behind them.

    get more science backed learning techniques for free


    Related Categories

    Behavior science

    You may also like:

    Board prep Behavior science

    4 Tips for Your Last Week of Board Prep

    High-stakes exams have been part of your life since you chose a career in medicine. You’d think by now it would be easy!...

    Learning science Behavior science

    6 rituals that cultivate expertise in your field

    Key takeaways:

    Med school Learning science Behavior science USMLE

    6 study mistakes everyone makes in medical school

    You’ve been studying the same way your entire life—and so far, it's been working! You are in medical school for a reason...