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How To Stay Motivated During Medical School

No matter how driven you are or how much you like studying medicine, we all go through motivation slumps! At these times, picking up your books and studying is very difficult. Even cleaning the house is more appealing than reading a chapter from Pharmacology.

Med school is hard! You must juggle your studies, social life, clinical, and more. As a result, it is common to feel exhausted and get into motivation slumps. Hence in this article, we will show you how to get studying when you absolutely don't feel like it. 

Initially, we will discuss how to kick-start your motivation. Then, in the later section, we will cover how to keep your motivation up all the time and eliminate these motivation slumps.

Tips for staying motivated in medical school:

  1. Always keep the end goal in mind:
    You are studying in one of the most competitive fields. There is no way you have reached here without being ambitious. So when you lack the motivation to study, think about the end goal you are striving for.

    Visualize how it will feel to be a physician or surgeon and make people healthy every day, along with earning a doctor's status and salary. It will definitely inspire you to strive to work and achieve your goals.
  2. Establish Small Goals:
    Though having an end goal is excellent, it can be pretty intimidating! Especially when you are feeling unmotivated. Hence it is beneficial to establish small goals that you can achieve every day or week to make you feel accomplished.

    But your goals need to be SMART. For example, having a goal of "Studying Today," though a good thing, is not a good goal. It is because it needs to be more specific and clear. How many hours do you have to study? How many topics do you need to cover? What topics do you need to cover? Not having clarity on your short-term goals can make you highly confused and demotivated.

    The SMART goals are once which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

    Knowing exactly what to do and getting it done one by one will eliminate the motivation slump and help you achieve all your goals. Plan what you want to accomplish the day before, and just focus on finishing the given tasks on the following day.
  3. Take a walk:

    It might seem counter-intuitive to go outside and take a walk when you have so much studying and work. But it is one of the most effective ways to feel instantly motivated.

    Walking will not only be good for your brain health but also create a sense of accomplishment by doing something productive. Hence going for a walk at the start of your day will make you feel more energized and build momentum that will help you get motivated and accomplish all your daily goals.
  4. Do the low-effort tasks first.
    Now that you have your goals cleared, know what to do, and have energized yourself with a walk, it's time to get studying.

    Usually, our brain has a lot of resistance or inertia to get started on work. And this resistance becomes even higher when you have to do something challenging. So when you lack motivation, you should give yourself super easy tasks at first that require very low effort to complete.

    Once you complete these tasks, you will feel accomplished, and it will create momentum to help you go on to do the more challenging tasks.
  5. Use the Pomodoro technique
    The Pomodoro technique is a wonderful way to overcome procrastination and lack of motivation. Here is how you can use this technique-
    • Set a timer for 25 mins and work on a single task during those 25 mins.
    • Take 5 mins break after the timer goes off.
    • Repeat this 5 more times.
    • Take a longer break.
      When you lack motivation, working all day can seem very intimidating and create resistance. But when you use the Pomodoro technique, working for just 25 mins seems less intimidating and more manageable. You will be surprised how easily 25 mins pass while studying. The method also helps in improving your attention span and focus.
  6. Build Self Discipline
    Though being motivated to do your work is excellent, always depending on motivation to complete your tasks may not be a great idea. This is because motivation is a fleeting feeling that doesn't last forever. We all have days or weeks when we don't want to work, but we still have to, like during exams. If you depend on motivation during these periods, you are bound to fail.

    The thing that will help you achieve your goals in the long run is discipline! Building self-discipline to work every day, even when unmotivated, will ensure your academic success.
  7. Create a routine

    Your body likes to have a certain level of routine. It wants you to eat, sleep and do other activities at specific times every day. However, suppose you do not have a particular pattern, for example, if you sometimes study in the morning and sometimes at night without a fixed schedule. In that case, your body and mind may find it hard to focus and stay motivated.

    But when you have a study routine that you perform at a specific time and place every day, your brain knows it is time to do some deep work and focus more efficiently. So, in the long run, you will not depend on motivation to study every day. Instead, it will become a part of your daily life.

    And if you want to learn how to create long-lasting habits and routines, you must check out the book Atomic Habit by James Clear, if you haven't already.


Now you are equipped to get motivated whenever you want! So remember and follow these tips whenever you are in a motivation slump, and you will get out of it in no time.

And if you want some help making your USMLE preparation super easy, you can check out our courses and Qbanks on Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3.