Study Motivation Tips for Winter

3 Strategies for Learning Motivation in Winter

Study Motivation Tips for Winter

Motivation doesn’t strike by waving a magic wand or by drinking a special elixir. It isn’t something you’re born with, and you don’t stumble upon it by accident.

True motivation requires a strategy. A strategy that you can rely on when the going gets rough. And of course, if you are learning anything worthwhile – if you are striving for something great – then the going will almost certainly get rough at one time or another.

Whether you’re in the middle of a guitar course, mastering a new language, or studying ballet – you may hit seasonal slumps or encounter scheduling roadblocks. That’s when a motivation strategy will be more important than ever. 

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One of those times is mid-winter – during that tough, cold stretch between the holidays and springtime. Long after the New Year’s resolution spirit fades, the middle of winter requires a carefully honed motivation strategy to keep you on track.

Let’s take a look at three proven ways to build a motivation strategy. Apply these tips to your life and stay inspired on the harshest winter day.

Winter Motivation for Learning

1. Revisit the Reasons

Whether it’s singing, sewing, or mathematics; there are personal reasons why you chose to pursue that specific skill. There was a driving force, a spark of inspiration, and a deep-held impetus that set you on the path you’re on today. 

It’s essential revisit those reasons in winter; to remind yourself why you’re running at sunrise, practicing the piano after work, or reciting Greek verbs before bedtime.

“Keep that list close by and within sight every day – stick it on your refrigerator, or post it above your bed.”

Sit down with a pen and paper, and make a list of the reasons why you started this journey. Keep that list close by and within sight every day – stick it on your refrigerator, or post it above your bed. A visual reminder of your personal motivation story will re-energize your learning and keep you on pace to reach your goals.

2. Visualize the Outcome

Even on the brightest summer day, it can be hard to see the big picture – hard to imagine life beyond the current moment. During the mid-winter months, our ability to put circumstances into context is further challenged by seasonal struggles. When you experience a winter slump, it’s extra important to stretch your imagination.

Make time to sit down with a warm mug of tea and picture – very clearly – what it is you want. Go a step further and either draw a sketch of yourself achieving your goal, or write an outline describing what life will look like when you reach the finish line. A morning exercise of putting pen to paper will fuel your motivation for the day ahead.

“Draw a sketch of yourself achieving your goal, or write an outline describing what life will look like when you reach the finish line.”

Perhaps your goal is to have a real conversation in Hungarian or dance salsa at a club competition. The process of visualizing yourself living your dream is a powerful reminder of why you are doing what you’re doing right now. And that will make all those hours of practice and study more meaningful than ever.

3. Evaluate Your Toolbox

When you’re in the thick of your learning journey, you will likely experience a mixture of successes and hardships; elements that are working well and items you are struggling with. Mid-winter is the time to evaluate what you need to improve your experience.

“Taking the time to pause and evaluate can help you identify problem areas. Use this newfound perspective to enhance your toolbox and motivate your efforts.”

Start by making a list of what’s working. List all the tools you have that are helping you thrive. These tools could include a great vocal instructor or a well-equipped writing desk. Create this list with an attitude of gratitude for what has helped you come this far.

Then, make a wish list of the tools you still need – learning resources that could make your education more effective. Maybe you realized that you need a dedicated mentor, or that you would like a study buddy on the weekends. This list could also include tangible items like a new musical instrument or physical space for practicing.

Taking the time to pause and evaluate can help you identify problem areas. Use this newfound perspective to enhance your toolbox and motivate your efforts.

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The Secret to a Happy Relationship? Learn Something New Together

The Secret to a Happy Relationship? Learn Something New Together

The Secret to a Happy Relationship? Learn Something New Together

There’s a reason why “The Bachelor” contestants are whisked away on extravagant dates, often including frightening physical challenges, with the hope of bonding through shared experience. From ziplining to bungee jumping and horseback riding, reality TV show couples are encouraged to face their fears in the name of romance – a recurring theme designed to inspire connection through vulnerability. Beneath the guise of Hollywood production is a universal, grounded truth: Learning something new brings people together and keeps relationships fresh, happy, and fulfilled.

Do you have to risk your life jumping off a building? No. Simply choose a subject or activity that both partners are interested in learning, and challenge yourselves, together. Whether you’re in a new relationship, or are looking for ways to reignite the spark, working as a team to tackle a new challenge is beneficial for your brain and your bond.

Embrace Vulnerability for Enhanced Romantic Connection

The relationship between new learning experiences and human connection is rooted in vulnerability. In essence, if we never let our guard down and embrace the unknown, we will never grow as individuals, or as couples. When you choose to learn something new together, neither person is an expert in that field. It may feel scary to imagine putting yourself out there, with the potential to fail and the risk of feeling embarrassed, especially in front of your partner. That tension is the struggle between fear and vulnerability. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston and the supreme resource on this topic. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity,” Professor Brown explains. In order to connect on a deeper level through meaningful human experiences, we must embrace vulnerability.

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Taking action to learn something new, together, is a great way to start.

The Secret to a Happy Relationship? Learn Something New Together

The Risk of Routines for Relationships

If vulnerability is essential for growth and human connection, then comfort and routine can be defined as the pathway to siloed complacency. If an individual is not challenged at work, and not pursuing new hobbies or interests outside of work, life can lack the diversity and passion that are often associated with real fulfillment. Similarly, if two individuals are set in a static routine, year after year, the spark and bond may begin to fade. While it can be beneficial for partners to have their own hobbies and friend groups, there is risk when all that newness is outside the relationship. A couple can grow apart, rather than grow together. One reason people are scared to try something new is shame. Professor Brown says: “The culture of shame is driven by fear, blame, and disconnection.” If you feel space between you and your partner, the answer isn’t to recoil back into your shell; the answer is to honor vulnerability, mix up the routine, challenge your identities within the relationship, and try something new, together.

“A couple can grow apart, rather than grow together.”

The Joy and Excitement of Learning Something New, Together

Let’s not forget about fun! There is the purest joy to be found in challenging yourself and learning something new. The smiles and benefits double when enjoyed with your partner. There is science to back our theory that new shared experiences bring couples closer together. One study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology examined the lifestyle habits of couples in relationships spanning a few months to 15 years. After analyzing laboratory experiments and surveys, the authors concluded that “exciting” activities increased relationship satisfaction across the board. Additionally, the lack of shared activities influence the “decline of relationship quality after the honeymoon period.” And if you don’t have the time or financial resources to book weekend-long retreats, don’t worry. Couples in the study reported relationship connection improvement after an activity that lasted seven minutes. Just imagine what one hour per week can do!

The Secret to a Happy Relationship? Learn Something New Together

The Best New Activities for Couple Connection

The personal interests of each partner should always be considered when choosing a new activity to learn together. Where there is passion, there will be motivation. Are you indoor intellectuals, outdoor thrillseekers, or class clowns seeking a stage? Let your interests guide the process. Some examples of fun activities for couples include learning a foreign language, trying an improv comedy class, learning a musical instrument, signing up for cooking classes, or training for an outdoor adventure race.

  1. Learn a New Foreign Language: Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you enroll in a lengthy and expensive college course. There are many ways to engage with foreign language learning in today’s high-tech world. Maybe you always wanted to learn French, and your partner has been itching to go on a European vacation. Challenge each other to learn French together at home, with the help of a web-based online teaching platform that you can design to fit your schedule. As you learn the language, reward your accomplishments with savings toward that dream vacation to Paris.
  2. Sign Up for an Improv Comedy Class: Do you have secret inside jokes and funny routines you perform around the house? Do you love watching stand-up comedy shows together on Netflix? Take the plunge to share your unique brand of humor with a new audience, and challenge your partner to conquer his or her fear of public speaking. You’ll gain self-confidence and a new community.
  3. Learn to Play a New Musical Instrument: Few things are as rewarding as learning to play your all-time favorite song on piano or guitar. And as a bonus, your partner is sure to love a romantic serenade. Choose to take music lessons learning the same instrument to stay in sync with a healthy sense of competition. Or, opt for complementary instruments and work toward creating the ultimate family band. Whether you’re more comfortable with online lessons or in-person instruction, there are a variety of methods for learning musical skills with your partner.
  4. Create Your Own Top Chef Competition: The art of cooking, eating, and gathering has brought people together for ages. Transform dinner into date night by signing up for cooking classes with your partner. You’ll learn new recipes from professionals in a fun and flirty environment. Keep the spirit alive at home by challenging each other to a weekly “Top Chef”-like competition. Take turns trying new recipes and daring to go way beyond your culinary comfort zones. You’ll learn, bond, and eat like kings.
  5. Train for a Fun Run or Adventure Race: If physical movement is more your speed, try mixing up your regular gym routine. Fitness, just like romance, needs variation for evolution. In every major city across America, themed fun runs and obstacle course adventure races are gaining popularity and momentum. If you and your partner typically work out separately, sign up for an outdoor challenge together. When you cross that finish line as a team, you’ll feel more united than ever.

Browse ideas for music lessons, language lessons, and more in your town.