When life is comfortable and everything is going swimmingly, it is easy to be motivated to do the hard things but when you finally face challenges that truly push your buttons, motivation is not going to work. That is where you have to rely on drive.
What is drive?
Is your desire to succeed. This is the fan that should feed your inner flame to get you driven to taking the necessary steps towards achieveing your goals and aspirations because if you rely on motivation to get them, it will not work.
How did you find your drive?
- Connect with real people who are driven individuals. There are brilliant and talented people out there but they must be driven and desire getting life’s full-experience.
- Realize that scrolling through social media and watching pointless videos will not get you to where you want to be.
- Be in the present. Be mindful about your choices.
- Stop caring about the smallest things and the things out of your control.
- Read books like “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins to master your mind and defy the odds. This book is a useful tool to help you understand what motivates you to do the things you do. Additionally, it explains the reason for Goggins’ drive and the things that knocked him down but got back up!
- Whether it is 4 weeks, 4 months of 4 years, be prepared for it to be a processes with hurdles and you must keep pushing yourself. This is why motivation will stop, but drive will help you continue and get through the plateau.
It is essential to figure out what you truly want and why you want it. Be sure to clearly define these things because once you are on the battlefield, you might forget why you are there and you have to ask yourself, “why am I even doing this?” It is important to remember why you are doing it. What drives you, why you want to be a better person, and you have to remember your drive!
After you figure out drive, consider building strong habits through systems.
- Keep a journal to track your streaks and to cross out each time you complete a task or achieve something.
- In the book, “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, there are a number of methods presented on how to build habits. These habits are what keep you consistent and stops procrastination.
- Remember that if you are doing something persistently, then you do not stop and think twice about doing it. For example, “should I brush my teeth this morning?”, no, you just do it! It is part of your routine, it is a habit.
- Turn things in your life into habits, like studying, and do not think about doing it, just do it. Over time as you train yourself, your mind and body wil become accustomed to the routine and it will know it is that time again! Whether it is time to study, to work out, do the dishes, etc. just do it.
Measure your progress
There is a lot of noise in this world about doing something for a length amount of time, but that is not the right way to do it. You need to become concerned about how deep can you get. Another book is “Deep Work” by Cal Newport which focuses on studying deeply and how focused can you get in this noisy world.
For example, you are on an 18-hour plane trip versus a 2-hour plane trip, and during that time, there are different things you could do but if you are not conciously concerned or care about how deep can you get with what you are doing in that allocated time, then you will not make good use of your time. There are significantly better things to do than shallow work. So in this book, Newport introduces a formula:
High Quality Work = Time Spent x Quality of FocusDeep Work by Cal Newport
If the second variable, Quality of Focus, is low then you are not going to get a lot of work done regardless of the time you spend studying. Quantifying how well you can, or how deep can you go is not easy, but that is why this book is recommended – to provide methods on how you can quantify this and get into the zone.
Figure out where are you comfortable studying right now. Whether that is two or three hours, or even longer than that; morning or evening; and your surroundings. For that span of time established, do not change it for awhile. Just focus on trying to get as deep as possible during your study session because as presented in the formula above, there is an upper bar on how long you can study everyday. It would be impractical to study from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep because there is just no balance in that. It is still important to have a life, maintain friendships, volunteer or work a part-time job.
It takes time to develop the capacity to study irregardless of where you are. For now, focus on how deep can you get studying.
Some people may get a headache after two hours of studying and it will take a lot of deliberate effort to push yourself in terms of depth and length to achieve studying for longer. That is why it is important to be aware of your depth (in relation to the formula above) and remember that the depth is where you have a lot more room for growth.
In order to grow, you must train yourself so take into consideration the amount of sleep you need to be able to concentrate and focus for 12 hours of studying (if that is your goal). Most people need at least 8 hours of sleep. By understanding your depth, which is far more important that how long you study, it will prevent burnout and allow you to stay committed to the lifestyle of studying.
Be patient with yourself and accept that there are always ups and downs. Staying committed to this lifestyle is achieved through diligence and hardwork. If it were easy, then everyone would do it. There is a rebound between pushing yourself to the extreme and pushing yourself too hard. For the majority of people, it is hard so if you get burned out, try to observe what caused the burn out so that it can be prevented next time. For the meantime, while experiencing the burnout, just wait, do something different like sing, dance, lift weights, draw, freedive or garden to help your mind and body step away and unwind. Everything that you do in life comes with positives and negatives, but it is a matter of what you are willing to choose to live a purposeful life.
If you plan to study for 6 to 12 hours away, allocate at least three days a week towards achieving moderate to high intensity physical activity. This can be running, training for a marathon, weightlifting, high intensity interval training (HIIT), cycling to transport yourself instead of motorized vehicles. If you have more questions on how to incorporate physical fitness into your life then be sure to check out my diet and fitness coaching services.
Aside from physical activity being a stress reliever, it also have great benefits towards maintaining proper posture. It is important to not slouch in the kyphosis position because this hunchback has an effect on the psychological, such as your confidence. Take your posture seriously, invest into a chair with a supportive back and not coushiony on the bottom. It needs to be firm in order to force your abdominal muscles and latissimus dorsi to be engaged to maintain the right posture. Additionally, invest into an angled book stand to prompt it in a position that is easy to read. Make these investments or you will regret it, and pay for it later. Chiropractors are not cheap and time cannot be returned.
In addition to the above, eat correctly and at the appropriate times, engage in enough physical activity and socialization because these factors do affect your mental health as well.
Is this for you?
If you have strong aspirations, are ambitious, want to become a better version of yourself or would like to help others and the world, then there are a lot of benefits to pushing yourself to becoming present, focused and driven.
In the end, it is up to you. If you decide to embark on a study-centric lifestyle, all the best of luck to you and let me know how you are doing in the comments below.
This article was inspired by two people I follow on YouTube so for more inspiration, check out James Scholz and Ali Abdaal for their methods of improving study skills!