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Highly-motivated students experience an emotional feeling of being “fired up” about getting their degree. Having a strong emotional connection to academic goals can make tiresome study sessions and less-than-interesting classes seem bearable and in some cases, enjoyable!

This enjoyment might have nothing to do with the study material or class content; rather, this enjoyment stems from the reasons that are causing you to feel “fired up” about earning your degree. Consider your other life experiences -- When you are “in the game” and strongly believe in the importance of your objective, motivating yourself to work through tough tasks becomes highly doable.

So, how do you identify and maintain this source of long-lasting motivation?


Getting “Fired Up”

Getting “fired up” is more than just creating a list of reasons you’d like to graduate. You must determine the root motivator for obtaining your college degree – something that stirs deep emotion inside you.

For example, maybe you want to graduate so you can attend medical school and become an M.D. This in itself might not stir your emotions.  But let’s say that the reason you want to become an M.D. is because it pained you greatly to see homeless people live without medical access in your hometown. It’s this emotional connection that gets you “fired up”.

Your emotional connection might be based on creating financial wealth or believing in a social cause. There is no right or wrong answer to identifying your “fired up” emotional drive; the only requirement is that your source of motivation be authentic. It must be rooted in your personal life experiences.

Uncovering these feelings will be easier for some than others. If you can’t get “fired up” right away, don’t give up. Periodically, apply the following five steps to develop your “fired up” emotions.

How do you get and maintain being “fired up”?

1.   Identify one or two primary reasons that graduating is important to you. Write it down in less than one paragraph.  e.g., “I want to be an M.D.”

2.  Identify your personal story behind those reasons and write it down in less than one paragraph.  e.g., “I want to serve homeless people who don’t have ready access to medical help.”

3.  Find pictures or symbols that reflect this personal story.   e.g., A picture of homeless people receiving medical care.

4.  Place your pictures or symbols in places where they are visible to you throughout the day. When you are feeling less than motivated, look at those pictures or symbols and experience your emotions of being “fired up”.

5.  At the beginning or end of each day, read your personal story and get “fired up” about graduating and then attend your classes and complete your study sessions.

Whatever level of “fired up” emotions you develop, leverage them the best you can to override temptations that are pulling you away from classes or study sessions.

At some point, we all need to employ the following perspective shared by Walt Disney - “The best way to get started is to stop talking and start doing.”