Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.
Philip Dormer Stanhope,
Letters to His Son (March 10, 1746)

Guide to Reflective Thinking: My Motivation Strategies

Use the following statements to assess your sense of competence with regard to university studies. Any weak areas indicate an attitude, ability or habit that may be worth developing.

  • My long-term personal goals are clear and specificI choose my field of study and future field of professional activity based on my profound affinities and skills.
  • I am attuned to my deepest desires: mental images, physical reactions, personal dreams.
  • I know exactly what I expect from my studies and how they can help me with my personal and professional development.
  • I examine all available information on the careers offered in my chosen field of study.
  • I have all available information on the skills required for my envisioned profession: explicit (know-how) and implicit (personality, respect and tolerance).
  • I meet people involved in that profession and I am familiar with their work.
  • I examine the occupational constraints inherent to the profession in relation to my preferences, wishes and tastes.
  • I keep track of the competences I have acquired thus far, so that I know what I have left to cover.
  • I do not hesitate to consult with guidance services.
  • I have all available information related to the goals, objectives and requirements of my study program.
  • I enjoy studying in the field within the discipline that I have chosen.
  • I have high performance expectations.
  • I am ready to make substantial efforts to attain these results.
  • My studies are a priority in my personal life.
  • I set my personal goals for each course.I take on each course with a positive attitude and I am determined to get the maximum out of each course.
  • I am proactive: before the course begins, I look over the course objectives and content and I set my personal goals.
  • Whenever possible, I prefer to set my own learning goals and the means to achieve them.
  • I set personal goals that far exceed the professor’s requirements.
  • When necessary, I negotiate the terms of my autonomy with goals that exceed the course requirements.
  • For each course I select specific learning goals based on my long-term personal goals, pre-acquired knowledge and requirements inherent to the program, course and professor.
  • I make a list of my intentions and prioritize my learning objectives.
  • I plan study activities that will help me to reach my objectives.
  • I have my own system of self-evaluation that measures the efficiency of these study activities.
  • Taking my skills into account, I set a minimum performance threshold.
  • I have a specific personal project that is close to my heart and to which, all my course assignments relate.
  • My objectives go beyond performance evaluation. I aim to thoroughly understand all subject matter as well as its respective role in the development of my competences.
  • In the mean time, I aim for maximal marks.
  • I tackle my challenges, problems and difficulties with a positive attitudeI try to combine an appreciation, pleasure in learning and deep understanding of the subject matter with the desire to excel.
  • I find a positive way to approach and enjoy new subject matter regardless of the teaching method and quality.
  • I persevere in the face of difficulties and never get discouraged.
  • When my course results are below my expectations, I question my learning strategies rather than the subject matter, teacher or my intelligence.
  • I consider failure as a source of opportunity to reflect upon my learning method.
  • I make it a point to not give up, before I have tried my very best.
  • I try to do impeccable work regardless of my personal interest in the work.
  • I show a great deal of self-discipline. I do not need to be pushed to get to work.
  • I am familiar with all learning assistance services offered by the university and have no shame in using them (writing and editing assistance, computer assistance, library and Internet research, cognitive efficiency workshops, tutoring, etc.).
  • I have developed effective motivation strategies for tedious tasksI try to find positive ways to view routine or tedious tasks.
  • I focus on the indirect advantages of completing tasks I dislike: getting them over with first, cultivating my patience, reinforcing my self-discipline.
  • I look at the situation with humor rather than complaining.
  • I try to find personal meaning in the task: professional development, practical application for a problem that concerns me personally.
  • I keep my spirits up by focusing on my ultimate goal.
  • I work in a comfortable place that has a pleasant atmosphere.
  • I turn tedious tasks into games or contests.
  • I do tedious tasks in the company of friends, over a fine meal.
  • I reward myself after making a genuine effort regardless of the results.
  • I congratulate myself when I achieve the results I wanted.
  • I make a list of things to do and check them off once completed.
  • I start with tasks I most dislike and finish with those that are more motivating.
  • I schedule a day in my agenda for tasks I dislike and do not think about them until then.
  • I perform tasks I like when I feel like it rather than adhering to a strict schedule.
  • I set completion deadlines for tasks I dislike.

Academic motivation is a complex phenomenon. It is the result of 1) a clear vision of the goals that we're aiming for: in the long term, a diploma and a career; in the short term, the specific tasks we have to accomplish for each course; 2) a firm resolve to achieve these goals and be accountable for our academic progress, self-discipline and the ability to take responsibility for any hardships; and 3) the questioning of our own learning strategies and the development of new, more efficient ones. Learning is exciting for students who know how to motivate themselves!

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