Make a fresh start: Getting back into a study routine

a student reading in a library with a stack of books on the table

Starting a new calendar year provides us with the opportunity to make positive changes.   

The start of a new year is a good time to review our priorities and decide where to spend our time and energy. As we reflect on what is meaningful to us, we can identify the direction we want to take. However, we may be too ambitious and start with grand plans we may not follow. It is best to align our goals with what matters most to us and break them down into small, realistic, and achievable goals. As we notice progress, it will motivate us to persevere until we get to where we want to be.

Getting back into a study routine can be challenging at first. When you look back, wondering if you could have done better last year, can be distracting and have a negative effect on your motivation. To get into a positive mindset, start by acknowledging these feelings, then focus on what you did well and consider what you could do differently going forward.  

Here are some strategies to manage pressure and stay motivated:

Practise gratitude: Reflecting each day and identifying what we are grateful for can redirect our attention to what matters most. It can be energising and motivating. 

Establish a routine: Having a flexible structure helps us manage our energy and time to do our work. It will also support our health and wellbeing. 

Get out of your comfort zone: especially after the holidays, we are more likely to be reluctant to discipline ourselves and get on with our work. Acknowledge this feeling, and then focus on what you want to learn and the skills you want to develop. It is helpful to think about where you want to be by the end of the term/year. Then, consider what you would need to do to get there. Identify concrete steps or goals you can take to start now. 

Notice what is working: When dealing with ongoing challenges, we tend to focus on what is wrong and anticipate negative outcomes.

When we notice we have fallen behind and not kept up with our efforts, instead of criticising ourselves, which has a negative effect, redirect your attention to what you can do different to make progress.

Practising the skill of noticing when we are making progress, even the smallest things, keeps us motivated.

Look after yourself: By taking time away from screens and pausing for a moment to let our eyes and our minds wander, we can restore energy and motivation. As we restore our energy level, we can maintain our efforts and protect our wellbeing.

For more ideas and strategies, check this blog post and this one. 

“Every day is a new beginning. Treat it that way. Stay away from what might  have been, and loot at what can be.” (Marsha Petrie Sue)

Best wishes for your studies!
Keep well and keep learning 

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