Finding motivation and focus is a real and common struggle. Too often have I gotten lost in the black hole of YouTube or the never ending scroll of Facebook. So determined to make a change and discover some real science behind self-control, my research has led me to compile three ultimate actions which summarise a plethora of self-motivating advice.

  1. Identify your goals and understand your motivations

Beyond the sheer dread of having 2 assignments, 2 maths tests and several university readings to complete, a gentle reminder of exactly why I choose to torture myself really does help get me through those “WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER?” moments.

As found by Spanish researcher Juan Moreno and other researchers, “dispositional goal orientation and the perception of motivational climate were related to students’ self-reported discipline/indiscipline.” Furthermore, another study he conducted found a predictable relationship between self-determined motivation and goals.

So whether your aims are long or short term, to become the next Hillary Clinton or just to finish off that last maths question before dinner, identifying goals helps create achievable benchmarks which really do have surprising power to inspire motivation.

  1. Set yourself up as best as you possibly can

The ultimate reason to set yourself up as best as you possibly can, is because you deserve to have the best opportunity to achieve what you want. And yes, to do so is within YOUR power!

This is why countless of sources recommend to remove distractions, eat right and sleep heaps. Having more time to do purposeful activities, looking after your body and getting a joyful 10 hours of sleep is not just good for focus and self-discipline, but seriously good to just feel great.

Thus, being in an optimal physical state and mental frame of mind is probably the best preparation possible to tackle that nasty assignment or revision for that maths quiz.

  1. Be kind to yourself

If focus and discipline is what you want and need, be aware that it’s very similar to a fitness; it requires exercise, commitment and you must make time for it. Similarly, I can PROMISE it gets easier the more you do it!

Don’t be disappointed if focus is still hard to come by despite practice. If so, go back to your goals and motivations to find a way to stick it out, or reassess your methods to find something that works best for you. When you do, Wihelm Hofmann research from 2013 then suggests that “Self control positively contributes to happiness. This build up of discipline similarly helps dealing with motivational conflicts.”

So remember to reward yourself, take breaks, be kind to your body and don’t give up. In the wise words of Dory from Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming….”