The most powerful way to stay motivated to study is to set goals. Once you know exactly what you want to accomplish, set as many goals as you can and work towards them. When you set goals for yourself, you put yourself in a position where you always know what you need to do to get there. You feel motivated because you always know where you're going.
So, Set clear and specific goals for yourself and set small, easy to achieve goals to build your motivation. Achieving small goals will build your self-esteem, make you feel successful, and provide you with a sense of mastery. Having clearly defined goals makes it easier to evaluate how you are progressing and to track your success or failure.
Neuroimaging provides information about how various brain processes work. By using brain imaging, scientists can actually see which brain regions are activated when a person performs a certain task. For example, if you want to study more effectively, then you might want to increase your exposure to images of things that stimulate your visual cortex. This is similar to what people do when they are reading a book - they read the words, scan through the page, and try to remember what the title of the book says.
One of the best sources of extrinsic rewards is curiosity. It is interesting to discover how the brain manages to get people interested in their own thoughts and trivia. When a person has a heightened level of curiosity, it is likely that they will be more susceptible to trying something new. Researchers have also found that those who are more curious about new things tend to perform better on tasks than those who are not as interested in the topic.
Some of the best perks for boosting motivation to study come from the nature of the reward itself. Intrinsic rewards are great because they are free and don't require that the person work hard to obtain them. Some types of naturally occurring rewards include chocolate, money, and free entries into the prize draws. Intrinsic rewards that involve work are harder to motivate than intrinsic rewards that don't involve work. Intrinsic rewards that involve effort are great because they require that the person put in some effort before they can receive the reward. Work is one of the few areas in life where the rewards are real - physical food, gasoline, shelter, and other goods and services.
Another way to boost motivation to study is to remind yourself that you already know a lot of things and that the more you study, the more you will learn. This line of thought is a powerful motivator. However, if you get caught up in this kind of thinking too much, it can have a counterproductive effect. Rather than focusing your thoughts and effort on becoming more knowledgeable about your subject, you can instead spend your time worrying about what you will have to study next week or the next semester and how you will pay for it.
The problem with worrying about what you would learn next semester is that it distracts you from actually getting started. If you are worried about studying, then chances are you wouldn't be studying if you weren't motivated to do so. Worrying about whether you will be able to do an assignment, project, essay, exam, etc. can lead to less motivation to study and more motivation to just get started. This means that you won't necessarily make it through the semester with more knowledge than you had the year before. You may end up getting frustrated and quitting before you finish the course.