I wish I could fly out of my bed each morning and embrace the day with unwavering enthusiasm. The reality is that sometimes it happens, other times I need a push. Law school is often a rollercoaster when it comes to emotions. One day, you can look around your classroom in amazement that you have made it that far and be excited about your future. Another day, self-doubt starts eating a hole in your shield of confidence. When you feel down for whatever reason, it helps to look for internal sources of your motivation. Here is how to begin:
- Focus on your long-term goals. Remind yourself why you went to law school in the first place. Visualize your legal career as you want it to unfold. If you were to write a script for a movie about yourself, how would you tell your story? Are you a struggling character right now?
- Remember what you felt when you found out that you were accepted by the law school of your choice. Re-live that joy and excitement.
- Picture yourself five years from now. What would “You From the Future” tell “You in the Present”?
- Write down all the things you are grateful for at the moment. Sometimes, we forget how good our lives are.
- Notice what demotivates you.
- Talk to people who care about you. We all need support from time to time. Even if you are very busy, find time to connect with your family and friends.
- Remind yourself that you are in control of your ship. You have the power to decide where and how fast you go. Take an action that shows that you are indeed in control.
- Read autobiographies of people who inspire you.
- Notice what you tend to do or say to yourself when you lack motivation. We often choose a behavior because it benefits us in some way even if we are not consciously aware of the benefit. So next time you procrastinate, identify the upside of your procrastination. Does it give you a potential justification for failure? “Had I studied more, I would have done better.” But because you don’t study hard enough, you always have an excuse of why you don’t do so well. Face your fears and find a way to deal with them.
- Sometimes, just doing what must be done is the best way to overcome your blues. Act your way to success.
What are your sources of motivation?
Orientation Series: 21 Steps to Becoming a Better Learner:
Step 1: Setting your learning objectives
Step 2: Taking an inventory of your skills
Step 3: Taking an Inventory of Your Learning Tools
Step 4: Finding opportunities for cognitive apprenticeship
Step 5: Determining the "IIQ" of what you read
Step 6: Choosing helpful books for law students
Step 7: “The Three 'P's of Performance” in Action
Step 8: Tapping into your social networks
Step 9: Identifying your learning barriers