10 Steps to Overcoming Demotivation

You're more emotional than you think

We all need help with overcoming demotivation when we’re in a tough battle.

Studying is quite an emotional rollercoaster. As accounting students, perfectionists, and most of us have fixed mindsets, we don’t like to acknowledge that emotions are a large part of our decision-making criteria. 

We like to believe that we’re logical, rational, objective. We see emotional people as ‘artists’ or ‘creatives’, people who need to ‘express themselves differently’, perhaps even drama queens! 

The reality is that we’re all emotional, and by not acknowledging the role that our emotions play in our daily lives, we are not able to take control of them. If we pretend something isn’t there, we can’t do anything about it, we don’t manage it and we don’t deal with it.

"I'm too demotivated to study"

If you’ve ever said this, than you need to acknowledge that you’re basing your actions on your emotions. 

First. STOP and breathe. 

This does not make you a bad student, a bad accountant, or a drama queen. 

You’re pursuing a tough goal, and what makes it tough is not the technical work, the formulae, the knowledge. What makes it tough is the sacrifices you make, the things that go wrong, the deadlines, the feelings of uncertainty, the performance anxiety, overcoming fears, self-doubt that creeps in when things go wrong, working when you’re exhausted, and putting one foot in front of the other when you just want to stop. If it was JUST the knowledge and the theory, you’d nail that stuff! With enough time and energy, of course you can do it all! BUT, there is never a lot of time, and life takes a lot of energy. 

So, how can I help you overcome demotivation?

You don't need motivation

Wow, that’s tough to think about. I know that. 

It is a LOT EASIER to do what we need to do when we FEEL motivated to do it. When we wake up feeling positive and energised, when we’ve gotten a test back that we did well on, then it feels good to get back to our studying. 

BUT, we cannot only study when we FEEL like it. We cannot control everything that happens to us to only be productive when we feel good.

Doing what you need to do is a CHOICE. Sometimes it’s an easy choice, and sometimes it’s not. 

But… it’s still YOUR CHOICE

How you Feel vs What you Do

I sometimes say to students that I don’t care how they feel, they need to study. This sounds really harsh, and anyone who knows me, knows that I do care a lot about your studying!

There are some really good reasons that I say this. 

Why are your feelings irrelevant?

Of course I want you to be happy and motivated and positive and all these other great things! The reality is that this isn’t how life works. We need to be able to work towards our goals, regardless of how we feel. 

Before I give you the steps to overcoming demotivation, here are a few reasons why I want you to separate your feelings from your actions:

  • Feelings are fickle. They change from day to day, based on all sorts of things we have no control over
  • We feel worse when we don't do what we know we need to. It's a downward spiral
  • We develop emotional resilience when we work THROUGH the tough times. This serves us well in our careers
  • We're not always great at assessing how we've done. We feel bad, but do well
  • In a few months, we'll forget how we felt in the moment, and we'll be dealing with the results of the actions we took
  • Doing what we need, makes us feel more motivated

10 Steps for overcoming demotivation

It’s all easier said than done. Here are some tips on how to overcome demotivation when you’re in the moment and are basing your actions on emotions:

  • Acknowledge your feelings. They're valid and they're not going anywhere. Write them down
  • Write a list, side-by-side, of what you feel you want to do, and what you need to do, so you can actively see how your emotions are affecting you
  • Sit for a few minutes and imagine yourself in 6 month's time, a year, 5 years. What would you want to be able to say about this moment?
  • Think about the future, and the impact that your choice in this moment will have on your life. What will the consequence of your feelings have? And your actions?
  • Think about the fact that in a few months time, after the exams, you won't remember how demotivated you were, but you will be left with the results of what you chose to DO. What do you want that to be?
  • Find a short, motivating video on YouTube, from someone who has energy, a challenging backstory, and has overcome tough stuff to find success. Use that energy, even if it just gets you to MOVE, and gets you through ONE hour.
  • Now, make an active choice over which you're going to CHOOSE to act on. Feelings? Or what you need to do. Put a big tick next to it, so you 're making a very active decision
  • Go do it. Even if it's just for ONE hour.
  • Come back to your list, and think about how you feel now. Are you still feeling the same? Are you feeling like you overcame something? Do you feel stronger?
  • Repeat this process all the time. You may need to do this every hour. You're reprogramming how you make decisions, that doesn't happen in one session.

I'm right here with you

I will always push you, always tell you the truth, and sometimes it doesn’t feel as ‘nice’ as we’d like. 

But you always know I care enough to be honest, and give you sound advice.

Now go DO IT!

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you.
    I have realised to pass CTA/PGDA I need to have my motivation levels all the time at 100%.
    Even if I know my work well if I write awn assessment with low motivation levels there is a risk of being unsuccessful.
    Motivation is what will force me to answer that question that I want to leave blank.

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