How Students Can Create Motivation For Success

Stone wall that has a black arrow pointing in the direction to show how to create motivation

Knowing how to create motivation is crucial for students. Studies have shown that motivation in education dramatically impacts a student’s academic performance. Motivation helps a student put attention toward a particular task such as doing well on a test and even graduating. It also helps improve the retention of material. Additionally, motivation influences the way a student perceives classes, classwork, and college in general. Without motivation, the will to complete a task becomes difficult.

What Is Motivation

The word motivation is derived from the word “motive”. A motive is a reason why a person engages in a particular behavior. Therefore, motivation is the psychological process that a person has which allows them to achieve a goal. Motivation is a mindset. Basically, you have to “psych yourself up” to get motivated.

Motivation is an internal process. It is a feeling or the driving force within you that you are ready to do the work to meet your goals. You will fight for what you want and work hard to achieve it. For students, learning how to create motivation can be difficult.

I Know A Little Bit About How To Create Motivation

I graduated high school at 16, received my AS Degree in Business Administration at 17, earned my BS in Business Entrepreneurship at 19, and my MBA in Entrepreneurship and Global Business at 20. In addition, I worked 60+ hours a week for a global Fortune 500 company, opening one of their $500 million properties while working on my master’s degree. I finished my MBA a semester early. By 21 I was promoted within the same company to a management position.

While I was earning my degrees, I was studying karate too. I earned my 1st-degree black belt at 17 and my 2nd degree at 19. My plate was full, to say the least! I am not gifted, super smart, or crazy athletic, what I am is motivated. The motivation was all that I needed to accomplish the things I wanted to accomplish.

This is how I view motivation. Motivation for me is nothing more than what is in between point A to point B.

Mindset And Motivation For College students

It is this middle area that I focus on when I have a goal. So, when I look at my goal of getting a bachelor’s degree, going to college is point A, and graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree is point B. Or my goal of earning my 2nd-degree belt, training and learning from my senseis is point A and testing in Japan to achieve my 2nd-degree blackbelt is point B. I had to identify a starting point and then make a plan to reach these goals. The middle part of getting from point A to point B—that space was my plan, that space was my motivation.

When you set your goals, the middle part is the hardest and the most important because it’s easy to “drift” between the two points. When you start “drifting” you lose motivation. You have to have a plan.

Below are 5 steps on how to create a motivation plan and how to stick to it.

Let’s jump right in…

1. You vs You

Most people think that it’s me against everyone else. That’s simply not true. It’s not you against the world. It is you against you. Read that again. Your number one competition is yourself. You have to be disciplined enough to do consistent daily work to reach your goals. Once you overcome everything that holds you back you are unstoppable.

Empower yourself by getting out of your own head. I know this is easier said than done. We are our own worst enemies. We create so much doubt and fear we inhibit ourselves.


This was hard for me to overcome. And I still work on it to this day. When I first began college and martial arts, my greatest fear was failure. When I was in college, I had no fear of my classes, professors, grades, or graduating. What I feared was letting myself and my teachers down. When I was in Okinawa, Japan testing for my 2nd black belt, in front of my Grand Master I didn’t fear getting hurt, the pain, or the exhaustion. I feared disappointing my Grand Master and all my teachers who had trained me and ultimately myself.

When I reflected upon myself, I knew I had the grades and the drive to graduate college and I knew I had trained hard and had the skills to perform well during my black belt test. However, the fear sometimes trumps what I know.  

I was getting in my own head. As I started earning my degrees and moving through my ranks in karate, I knew I could do it because I was accomplishing it. However, I was choosing to be fearful along the way. There was no reason for me to be afraid.

Let Fear Go

Fear is a choice. It can create self-doubt and tear you down. Don’t allow fear to inhibit you and what you want to do with your life. Let go of all those negative emotions and you will free up so much energy you’ll be able to accomplish anything.

2. Define Your Goals

Defining your goal is a huge part of how you create motivation. When you clearly identify your goals, you reduce any misunderstanding as to what needs to be accomplished. A goal is specific and measurable. Therefore, it differs from a dream which is a vision of what you want to achieve. Goals have a deadline, dreams don’t. I want you to define your goals and break them down so that you can accomplish them.  

What Do You Want To Accomplish

Think about that—it’s very important. Answer this question: why do you want to go to college? Take your time and consider this question. It makes no difference the reason or combination of reasons. The answer is for you and you alone.

  • Do you want a specific degree or profession?
  • Do you want to make a lot of money?
  • Do you want to help people?
  • Do you want prestige or power?
  • Do you want knowledge?
  • Do you want to be the first in your family to get a college degree?

It can be anything, there is no wrong answer. Be honest with yourself because what you identify will be what will create your motivation.

Every student can learn, How To Stay Motivated To Graduate College In 4 Years.

3. How You Are Going To Meet Your Goals

Now that you have identified your goal it’s time to move on to the next step which is how you are going to meet that goal. This step is important because it will map out how you are going to reach your goal. As I mentioned above, motivation is what is between point A to point B. It is what is between you and your goal. In order not to “drift” and stay motivated you need to know the steps which will lead you to your goal.

Create A Plan

Create a strategic action plan. An action plan is a detailed plan outlining the specific steps that you need to take to reach your goals. Without an action plan, you will waste a lot of time on things that aren’t necessary. Brainstorm everything you must do to make your goal a reality. If your goal is to get a good grade on a test then create the steps to achieve this. Step 1: schedule extra study time…Step 2: go over class notes…Step 3: read the assigned chapters in your textbook…Step 4: create flashcards…and so on. Create the steps so you have a clear path to your goal.

Always remember your goals are yours. You might have family and friends who want you to graduate from college and be successful but no matter how much they want it for you, they can not give it to you. You must decide to do it yourself. Their support can be part of your motivation and how you create it.

A close-up of a hand holding a pen writing in a notebook. there is a list of points that show how to create motivation

It’s Temporary

Always remember, college is not forever, it’s only temporary. I was never frustrated that I had another test, report, class, semester, or year. I embraced each of these moments because it was through them that I was getting closer to my goal. Embrace the process, it’s only temporary.

Koby Bryant once said, “Those times when you stay up late and you work hard; those times when don’t feel like working — you’re too tired, you don’t want to push yourself — but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream. That’s the dream. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”

My Schedule

This is what my schedule looked like when I was in grad school and working. My MBA classes were Monday through Thursday from 6 pm to 9 pm. My job was from 7 am to 4 pm Monday through Saturday. That meant four days a week I woke up at 5:30 am and didn’t get to bed until 10:30 pm (I had an hour commute to and from campus). Add on top of that, I ate dinner in my car during my commute and only had one day off a week to do my homework.

Koby Bryant said it was about the journey and I agree with him. My journey was exhausting yet very rewarding. It taught me a lot. It pushed me and gave me grit and tenacity. I had to dial in my time management and adhere to my schedule. And when it got too hard, I would remember that it was only temporary.

Enjoy the journey because it not only helps you reach your goal it builds character. It teaches and reveals what your capabilities are.

4. Create Motivation Through Time Management

It’s hard to get motivated when you can’t organize your time. Think of time management as a tool that will help you reach your goal. Managing your time well will ensure you stay on task and do not “drift”.

I had to manage my time extremely well so I could be efficient and fit everything in. If I didn’t, I would get overwhelmed and stressed out. Time management skills are different for everyone. Finding what works for you and your schedule is key.


For me to go to school full-time and work full-time I had to be organized. First, I had to prioritize. My priorities were school and work. I couldn’t fit in karate, so for the 3 semesters I was in the master’s program I didn’t train in the dojo, I trained on my own.

Create A Schedule:

Honestly, by the time I got into grad school, I had homework and studying dialed in. This was because I already knew how to create a schedule that would keep me on task. This is the next step, create a schedule that will keep you on task.

During my master’s program, I did homework every single lunch break, every Friday evening (I didn’t have class on that day), and all-day Sunday as it was the only day off, I had from work. As a result of fitting it in during the day and the fact that I was good at it, I often had the afternoons free on the weekends. I would swim, hike, spend time with friends, and train. Anything to unwind and destress.  

I laid out my clothes the night before. My company had a cafeteria, so I ate my dinner on the hour commute to my classes. When I got home from class, at about 10:30 pm every night I would shower and repack my backpack, so it was ready for the next day. I tried to be in bed by 11 pm. This was my routine for 3 semesters.

5. Staying Motivated

Knowing how to create motivation is hard, and keeping that motivation is going to be even trickier because it is so easily influenced by stress, depression, life changes, etc., Becoming motivated and staying motivated are two very different things. Remember and remind are how you are going to stay motivated.

  • Remember why you are going to college. Remember why you want your education. Remember why you want the degree.
  • Remind yourself what you need to do to accomplish your goals. Remind yourself of the plan that you have created. Remind yourself not to “drift”.

A Few Last Words Of Advice

You must be willing to do what others aren’t doing. If everyone is partying, hooking up, wasting their weekends, and making excuses—do the opposite. Don’t get caught up in what everyone else does. If you put in the time now, you will be able to do whatever you want later.

Your goals need to build upon each other. My goal of a bachelor’s degree led me to my goal of a career job. My goal of a bachelor’s degree also led me to the goal of my master’s degree. Earning my master’s and securing a career job led me to my goal of a management position. Always have goals. They are never going to stop throughout your life. Whether they are academic, career, financial, or personal. Allow the achievement of one goal to introduce another.

It’s worth noting, my goal was to get a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, NOT to have a 4.0 GPA. Because the degrees were how I would reach the goal of a career job, not the 4.0. Be specific and don’t put too much on yourself.

In addition, don’t fall into the trap of trying to get a 4.0 GPA. For most students, it is important to Get Good Grades, Not Straight A’s .