Home Lifestyle 7 Common Reasons Why You Are Not Motivated to Study

7 Common Reasons Why You Are Not Motivated to Study

There is value in knowing different ways to combat a lack of motivation but they might not be as effective if they are not tailored to your specific situation.  After all, how can you effectively deal with this issue if you don’t really understand it or why it is there in the first place.


Here are seven common reasons why students aren’t motivated to study or generally why people aren’t as motivated to get their work done. See if any of these apply to you and have a think about how you can change them moving forward.

1. Tiredness and Stress

Oftentimes when students are lacking motivation they can be quite harsh on themselves and immediately jump to the idea that they are just being lazy or they are not trying hard enough. But sometimes your lack of motivation is just a sign that you are tired and you need to rest.

It is better for you to understand this as it’s happening, take the time that you need to rest, and then come back to your work instead of just forcing yourself to push through. You’ll end up working with a better attitude and most likely get more work done and to a higher quality if you give yourself the rest that you need.

Sometimes it can be hard to differentiate between being physically tired and mentally tired or just having a lack of motivation due to a bunch of other things. So try to think about how often you’ve been working, other factors in your life that might be causing you to be tired,  or if you have been physically pushing yourself more than usual maybe. Think about your life holistically and consider whether you just need some time to rest and recover.


You might also be feeling low motivation because of stress. Having a lot of stress can become really overwhelming which can just lead to you sometimes shutting down when it comes to being productive or getting things done in your life. It can become really hard to compartmentalize all the different stressors in your life and focus on your priorities.

In these times, try and reach out to the people around you for additional support and when it comes to studying, use all the tools that you have like scheduling, prioritizing, or making to-do lists to try and sort of lighten the load that you have.

2. Distractions

There are a lot of distractions in life and they can easily keep you from getting work done. Going out with your friends compared to sitting at your desk and working is a tough comparison. The temporary discomfort of studying for future success is something that’s really hard for us to work on in the present moment as it is much easier to pick the option that’s going to offer immediate pleasure.

If you find that you’re constantly blowing off your work for other things in your life then you might want to start thinking about making a list of priorities and being honest about how much time you can give to other parts of your life that are not your immediate priorities. It is important to create these boundaries and stick to them if you want to reach your chosen goals.

3. Worrying about Failure

Worrying about failure can easily backfire on you. You can feel so flustered that you spend all your time fixating on the fact that you might fail so you avoid work in the first place. You convince yourself that you’re going to fail and the panic of it all means that getting your mind to focus on work seems impossible.

The key here is to talk to yourself or be your own hype man or hype woman and see if you can change your thinking and your mindset into believing that if you put in the work now, this actually gives you a better chance of success in the future.

Not trying in the first place or not trying at all is pretty much the only way that you’re guaranteed failure. Doing even a small amount of work or a small amount of effort towards the goal or towards the exam is going to result in some sort of improvement no matter how small or how big and spending all your time worrying about failure sabotages your own success.

If you can relate to some of these feelings or thought patterns then remember that you’ve gotten this far in your journey for a reason and that reason is unlikely to be that you are a failure. It’s much more likely because you deserve to be here, you are capable of being here, you can do this and you can get through this.

If you can overcome the negative thoughts and feelings and see the time that you have to work as an opportunity to succeed instead of a certain path to failure, you are going to do much better.

4. Difficulty in Getting Started

So we have all been in a place where we are sitting in front of our computer or workbook and we don’t know what to do next. Coming up with any sort of game plan seems impossible because you just don’t know if anything you come up with is actually going to work.

This is one of those situations where just starting is all you need to do. It doesn’t matter what you start by doing just start with something, after that your resources will become your best friends. You can also speak to your tutors or students in the years above you, you can look online to try and get some advice or strategies on how to get going and how to get started.

But if you already know what the plan or strategy is and it’s just that initial starting of the work that’s the problem then that can be tough. It is advisable to start with the easiest little piece of work in front of you.

There are so many different ways to study the exact same thing and if you’re finding particular difficulty sitting through a boring boring lecture, try and get creative and find other ways to study the exact same knowledge. Just find any way that you can get started and get into that studying zone and mood. Get flexible with your study style, get creative and just work your way around that initial block.

5. Forcing Yourself to Study Too Much

It makes sense that you are going to feel less motivated the more you study if you are already studying for long periods of time. For example, you have been working for four hours but you start to feel unmotivated. Instead of realizing that you have probably hit your limit for the day and need to rest, you decide to push yourself for another four hours of work, you grind out these four hours of not-so-great studying, and end your day feeling like trash.

When you wake up the next morning, you’re so much less likely to do another full quality day of studying because you have overworked yourself the night before.

Working too much or too hard is really tough to gauge especially when there are all kinds of peers around you who are probably working very long hours. All of us think we are kind of programmed to feel like we need to work more and that we are not working hard enough or as hard as other people.

This is not the case for everyone but particularly amongst people in competitive environments like medical school, law school, and engineering. If this is you then try to come up with boundaries that you can use to work with.

6. You Think the Task is Too Difficult

The perceived difficulty of the task can be one of the biggest barriers to motivation. To overcome these feelings, it is important to understand the difference between perceived difficulty and actual difficulty.

It could be that the work is objectively just really difficult and in this case, you need to employ all of the techniques you know about studying and motivation to help you get through it. This can involve breaking up the work into bite-sized manageable pieces, reaching out to more experienced people like tutors or older years, using online resources, and so on.

If this isn’t the case and it just seems that the task is really difficult then you need to take a different approach. You need to figure out why this seems so difficult to you. It might be that you’re really struggling with the topic because you haven’t done well on previous tests and so now you are worried that it is going to happen again. It might be that you are worried about tackling this subject because of your lack of prerequisite knowledge or you just find it really boring.

All these things can build up in your head and mean that you perceive the task to be so difficult that you don’t end up doing anything at all or you just feel terrible about it, to begin with. If you can figure out why you think the task is so difficult then you can come up with a game plan to tackle it. Just getting started and giving the task a go is one of the best things you can do.

7. Having a False Sense of Security

For some students, having a false sense of security can prevent them from studying altogether. If you think that you have got plenty of time to work, the work is not that difficult or that it doesn’t require a lot of time when it actually does then you are actually underestimating the amount of work that is involved and you might not study at all or get started way too late.

You can easily talk yourself into not studying and you are okay with it because you have convinced yourself that you don’t need to. This can sometimes be a cycle of being unmotivated and then convincing yourself that you don’t need to work which confirms your need to not work in the first place,

It is difficult to recognize but often it’s worth speaking to people around you to get some sort of idea of what other people are doing. It acts as a litmus test as to whether you’re doing enough or not. If you are the only one who starts to study a week before the exam when everyone else has given themselves four weeks then you might want to reconsider your mindset around how much time you’ve given yourself to work.


Hope these help you to think about some of the reasons why you might be feeling unmotivated. If you have got any additional reasons why you think you might be unmotivated or looking for advice from anyone else studying or in a university community, please do leave a comment down below.


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