How to build intrinsic motivation for studying?


There are thousands of studies on motivation and people are still dependent upon the talks given by the motivational speakers. They are great if they work for you but remember, these talks and inspirational stories have a psychological effect on our brain that only lasts for a few minutes. That is why we are motivated one day and totally out of motivation the other day. Why do you think this happens? Maybe because they are not as influential as we found them in the first few minutes. Or maybe we are missing something inside of us that these motivational speeches cannot provide.  

Yes, both of these points are correct. External motivation is never effective if you are not motivated intrinsically. In fact, you do not need motivation from outside sources if you have it inside of you. Intrinsic motivation is the one that is derived from within. It comes from reason, needs, and understanding. If you have it, you will be motivated daily to take on the challenges and work for them with all your passion. You will have to understand the psychology of intrinsic motivation to know how can you develop it. 

Self-determination theory 

Self-determination theory proposes that the motivation people have is determined by the inherent tendencies of development and growth and innate psychological needs. It is important to understand these psychological needs in order to be motivated intrinsically. The basic needs are autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Everyone who wants to have this form of motivation has to understand these needs within them and set their goals according to them. For example, if you want to start studying consistently without missing a day, you will have to establish a need for it. Here are the three needs explained for you.  


Every person has a desire to control their life and be the decision-maker for it. If you want to know what you really want to do in life, think about yourself without any external influences or expectations. You do not have any pressure from parents, from teachers, or any other force lying above your head compelling you to make a decision. Now, analyze what do you need to study and why. This will give you a reason for your actions that you understand by yourself. In short, this theory believes in giving you the reason instead of the external pressure behind your actions or decisions. When you analyze it on your own, you understand why do you need to study, why is it so important for you, and why do you need to be consistent in it.


We, human beings, also have an innate need to feel competent. We want to have the outcomes of different life situations in our control. When we feel competent, we are motivated intrinsically. Now there are many ways to feel competent. First, you can set small challenges for yourself for daily or weekly evaluation. You can test your abilities and enhance your capacity of studying and solving problems through them and when you are able to achieve them, you will feel competent too. Moreover, we need positive feedback to feel competent. Show your work to someone who can assess you and give you feedback. Positive feedback enhances the will and intrinsic motivation to work. Set learning goals for yourself and put all your struggles to achieve them. This will automatically make you feel good about yourself and also, motivated.  


Human motivation is also derived from fulfilling the need for relatedness. We want to interact and connect to the people around us. So, in your journey of studying, there is no need to get isolated as most so-called serious students do. This reduces their motivation with time. Interact with people who are doing the same studies, discuss things with them so that you may feel related. Not just that, hang out with friends during your leisure time and have all the fun. It is important to keep a balance between studying and socializing with other people. If you are unable to do it, there is a high chance you will lose your intrinsic motivation with time. 

So, stay aware of what you need and why, make sure to feel competent by achieving your small goals, and connect to the people around you. Stay determined and stay motivated. 

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