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Everyone struggles with homework sometimes, but if getting your homework done has become a chronic issue for you, then you may need a little extra help. That’s why we’ve written this article all about how to do homework. Once you’re finished reading it, you’ll know how to do homework (and have tons of new ways to motivate yourself to do homework)!

We’ve broken this article down into a few major sections. You’ll find:

  • A diagnostic test to help you figure out why you’re struggling with homework
  • A discussion of the four major homework problems students face, along with expert tips for addressing them
  • A bonus section with tips for how to do homework fast

By the end of this article, you’ll be prepared to tackle whatever homework assignments your teachers throw at you .

So let’s get started!


How to Do Homework: Figure Out Your Struggles 

Sometimes it feels like everything is standing between you and getting your homework done. But the truth is, most people only have one or two major roadblocks that are keeping them from getting their homework done well and on time. 

The best way to figure out how to get motivated to do homework starts with pinpointing the issues that are affecting your ability to get your assignments done. That’s why we’ve developed a short quiz to help you identify the areas where you’re struggling. 

Take the quiz below and record your answers on your phone or on a scrap piece of paper. Keep in mind there are no wrong answers! 

1. You’ve just been assigned an essay in your English class that’s due at the end of the week. What’s the first thing you do?

A. Keep it in mind, even though you won’t start it until the day before it’s due  B. Open up your planner. You’ve got to figure out when you’ll write your paper since you have band practice, a speech tournament, and your little sister’s dance recital this week, too.  C. Groan out loud. Another essay? You could barely get yourself to write the last one!  D. Start thinking about your essay topic, which makes you think about your art project that’s due the same day, which reminds you that your favorite artist might have just posted to you better check your feed right now. 

2. Your mom asked you to pick up your room before she gets home from work. You’ve just gotten home from school. You decide you’ll tackle your chores: 

A. Five minutes before your mom walks through the front door. As long as it gets done, who cares when you start?  B. As soon as you get home from your shift at the local grocery store.  C. After you give yourself a 15-minute pep talk about how you need to get to work.  D. You won’t get it done. Between texts from your friends, trying to watch your favorite Netflix show, and playing with your dog, you just lost track of time! 

3. You’ve signed up to wash dogs at the Humane Society to help earn money for your senior class trip. You: 

A. Show up ten minutes late. You put off leaving your house until the last minute, then got stuck in unexpected traffic on the way to the shelter.  B. Have to call and cancel at the last minute. You forgot you’d already agreed to babysit your cousin and bake cupcakes for tomorrow’s bake sale.  C. Actually arrive fifteen minutes early with extra brushes and bandanas you picked up at the store. You’re passionate about animals, so you’re excited to help out! D. Show up on time, but only get three dogs washed. You couldn’t help it: you just kept getting distracted by how cute they were!

4. You have an hour of downtime, so you decide you’re going to watch an episode of The Great British Baking Show. You: 

A. Scroll through your social media feeds for twenty minutes before hitting play, which means you’re not able to finish the whole episode. Ugh! You really wanted to see who was sent home!  B. Watch fifteen minutes until you remember you’re supposed to pick up your sister from band practice before heading to your part-time job. No GBBO for you!  C. You finish one episode, then decide to watch another even though you’ve got SAT studying to do. It’s just more fun to watch people make scones.  D. Start the episode, but only catch bits and pieces of it because you’re reading Twitter, cleaning out your backpack, and eating a snack at the same time.

5. Your teacher asks you to stay after class because you’ve missed turning in two homework assignments in a row. When she asks you what’s wrong, you say: 

A. You planned to do your assignments during lunch, but you ran out of time. You decided it would be better to turn in nothing at all than submit unfinished work.  B. You really wanted to get the assignments done, but between your extracurriculars, family commitments, and your part-time job, your homework fell through the cracks.  C. You have a hard time psyching yourself to tackle the assignments. You just can’t seem to find the motivation to work on them once you get home.  D. You tried to do them, but you had a hard time focusing. By the time you realized you hadn’t gotten anything done, it was already time to turn them in. 

Like we said earlier, there are no right or wrong answers to this quiz (though your results will be better if you answered as honestly as possible). Here’s how your answers break down: 

  • If your answers were mostly As, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is procrastination. 
  • If your answers were mostly Bs, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is time management. 
  • If your answers were mostly Cs, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is motivation. 
  • If your answers were mostly Ds, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is getting distracted. 

Now that you’ve identified why you’re having a hard time getting your homework done, we can help you figure out how to fix it! Scroll down to find your core problem area to learn more about how you can start to address it. 

And one more thing: you’re really struggling with homework, it’s a good idea to read through every section below. You may find some additional tips that will help make homework less intimidating. 


How to Do Homework When You’re a Procrastinator  

Merriam Webster defines “procrastinate” as “to put off intentionally and habitually.” In other words, procrastination is when you choose to do something at the last minute on a regular basis. If you’ve ever found yourself pulling an all-nighter, trying to finish an assignment between periods, or sprinting to turn in a paper minutes before a deadline, you’ve experienced the effects of procrastination. 

If you’re a chronic procrastinator, you’re in good company. In fact, one study found that 70% to 95% of undergraduate students procrastinate when it comes to doing their homework. Unfortunately, procrastination can negatively impact your grades. Researchers have found that procrastination can lower your grade on an assignment by as much as five points ...which might not sound serious until you realize that can mean the difference between a B- and a C+. 

Procrastination can also negatively affect your health by increasing your stress levels , which can lead to other health conditions like insomnia, a weakened immune system, and even heart conditions. Getting a handle on procrastination can not only improve your grades, it can make you feel better, too! 

The big thing to understand about procrastination is that it’s not the result of laziness. Laziness is defined as being “disinclined to activity or exertion.” In other words, being lazy is all about doing nothing. But a s this Psychology Today article explains , procrastinators don’t put things off because they don’t want to work. Instead, procrastinators tend to postpone tasks they don’t want to do in favor of tasks that they perceive as either more important or more fun. Put another way, procrastinators want to do long as it’s not their homework! 

3 Tips f or Conquering Procrastination 

Because putting off doing homework is a common problem, there are lots of good tactics for addressing procrastination. Keep reading for our three expert tips that will get your homework habits back on track in no time. 

#1: Create a Reward System

Like we mentioned earlier, procrastination happens when you prioritize other activities over getting your homework done. Many times, this happens because homework...well, just isn’t enjoyable. But you can add some fun back into the process by rewarding yourself for getting your work done. 

Here’s what we mean: let’s say you decide that every time you get your homework done before the day it’s due, you’ll give yourself a point. For every five points you earn, you’ll treat yourself to your favorite dessert: a chocolate cupcake! Now you have an extra (delicious!) incentive to motivate you to leave procrastination in the dust. 

If you’re not into cupcakes, don’t worry. Your reward can be anything that motivates you . Maybe it’s hanging out with your best friend or an extra ten minutes of video game time. As long as you’re choosing something that makes homework worth doing, you’ll be successful. 

#2: Have a Homework Accountability Partner 

If you’re having trouble getting yourself to start your homework ahead of time, it may be a good idea to call in reinforcements . Find a friend or classmate you can trust and explain to them that you’re trying to change your homework habits. Ask them if they’d be willing to text you to make sure you’re doing your homework and check in with you once a week to see if you’re meeting your anti-procrastination goals. 

Sharing your goals can make them feel more real, and an accountability partner can help hold you responsible for your decisions. For example, let’s say you’re tempted to put off your science lab write-up until the morning before it’s due. But you know that your accountability partner is going to text you about it tomorrow...and you don’t want to fess up that you haven’t started your assignment. A homework accountability partner can give you the extra support and incentive you need to keep your homework habits on track. 

#3: Create Your Own Due Dates 

If you’re a life-long procrastinator, you might find that changing the habit is harder than you expected. In that case, you might try using procrastination to your advantage! If you just can’t seem to stop doing your work at the last minute, try setting your own due dates for assignments that range from a day to a week before the assignment is actually due. 

Here’s what we mean. Let’s say you have a math worksheet that’s been assigned on Tuesday and is due on Friday. In your planner, you can write down the due date as Thursday instead. You may still put off your homework assignment until the last minute...but in this case, the “last minute” is a day before the assignment’s real due date . This little hack can trick your procrastination-addicted brain into planning ahead! 


If you feel like Kevin Hart in this meme, then our tips for doing homework when you're busy are for you. 

How to Do Homework When You’re too Busy

If you’re aiming to go to a top-tier college , you’re going to have a full plate. Because college admissions is getting more competitive, it’s important that you’re maintaining your grades , studying hard for your standardized tests , and participating in extracurriculars so your application stands out. A packed schedule can get even more hectic once you add family obligations or a part-time job to the mix. 

If you feel like you’re being pulled in a million directions at once, you’re not alone. Recent research has found that stress—and more severe stress-related conditions like anxiety and depression— are a major problem for high school students . In fact, one study from the American Psychological Association found that during the school year, students’ stress levels are higher than those of the adults around them. 

For students, homework is a major contributor to their overall stress levels . Many high schoolers have multiple hours of homework every night , and figuring out how to fit it into an already-packed schedule can seem impossible. 

3 Tips for Fitting Homework Into Your Busy Schedule

While it might feel like you have literally no time left in your schedule, there are still ways to make sure you’re able to get your homework done and meet your other commitments. Here are our expert homework tips for even the busiest of students. 

#1: Make a Prioritized To-Do List 

You probably already have a to-do list to keep yourself on track. The next step is to prioritize the items on your to-do list so you can see what items need your attention right away. 

Here’s how it works: at the beginning of each day, sit down and make a list of all the items you need to get done before you go to bed. This includes your homework, but it should also take into account any practices, chores, events, or job shifts you may have. Once you get everything listed out, it’s time to prioritize them using the labels A, B, and C. Here’s what those labels mean:

  • A Tasks : tasks that have to get done—like showing up at work or turning in an assignment—get an A. 
  • B Tasks : these are tasks that you would like to get done by the end of the day but aren’t as time sensitive. For example, studying for a test you have next week could be a B-level task. It’s still important, but it doesn’t have to be done right away.
  • C Tasks: these are tasks that aren’t very important and/or have no real consequences if you don’t get them done immediately. For instance, if you’re hoping to clean out your closet but it’s not an assigned chore from your parents, you could label that to-do item with a C.

Prioritizing your to-do list helps you visualize which items need your immediate attention, and which items you can leave for later. A prioritized to-do list ensures that you’re spending your time efficiently and effectively, which helps you make room in your schedule for homework. So even though you might really want to start making decorations for Homecoming (a B task), you’ll know that finishing your reading log (an A task) is more important. 

#2: Use a Planner With Time Labels

Your planner is probably packed with notes, events, and assignments already. (And if you’re not using a planner, it’s time to start!) But planners can do more for you than just remind you when an assignment is due. If you’re using a planner with time labels, it can help you visualize how you need to spend your day.

A planner with time labels breaks your day down into chunks, and you assign tasks to each chunk of time. For example, you can make a note of your class schedule with assignments, block out time to study, and make sure you know when you need to be at practice. Once you know which tasks take priority, you can add them to any empty spaces in your day. 

Planning out how you spend your time not only helps you use it wisely, it can help you feel less overwhelmed, too . We’re big fans of planners that include a task list ( like this one ) or have room for notes ( like this one ). 

#3: Set Reminders on Your Phone 

If you need a little extra nudge to make sure you’re getting your homework done on time, it’s a good idea to set some reminders on your phone. You don’t need a fancy app, either. You can use your alarm app to have it go off at specific times throughout the day to remind you to do your homework. This works especially well if you have a set homework time scheduled. So if you’ve decided you’re doing homework at 6:00 pm, you can set an alarm to remind you to bust out your books and get to work. 

If you use your phone as your planner, you may have the option to add alerts, emails, or notifications to scheduled events . Many calendar apps, including the one that comes with your phone, have built-in reminders that you can customize to meet your needs. So if you block off time to do your homework from 4:30 to 6:00 pm, you can set a reminder that will pop up on your phone when it’s time to get started. 


This dog isn't judging your lack of motivation...but your teacher might. Keep reading for tips to help you motivate yourself to do your homework.

How to Do Homework When You’re Unmotivated 

At first glance, it may seem like procrastination and being unmotivated are the same thing. After all, both of these issues usually result in you putting off your homework until the very last minute. 

But there’s one key difference: many procrastinators are working, they’re just prioritizing work differently. They know they’re going to start their homework...they’re just going to do it later. 

Conversely, people who are unmotivated to do homework just can’t find the willpower to tackle their assignments. Procrastinators know they’ll at least attempt the homework at the last minute, whereas people who are unmotivated struggle with convincing themselves to do it at a ll. For procrastinators, the stress comes from the inevitable time crunch. For unmotivated people, the stress comes from trying to convince themselves to do something they don’t want to do in the first place. 

Here are some common reasons students are unmotivated in doing homework : 

  • Assignments are too easy, too hard, or seemingly pointless 
  • Students aren’t interested in (or passionate about) the subject matter
  • Students are intimidated by the work and/or feels like they don’t understand the assignment 
  • Homework isn’t fun, and students would rather spend their time on things that they enjoy 

To sum it up: people who lack motivation to do their homework are more likely to not do it at all, or to spend more time worrying about doing their homework than...well, actually doing it.

3 Tips for How to Get Motivated to Do Homework

The key to getting homework done when you’re unmotivated is to figure out what does motivate you, then apply those things to homework. It sounds tricky...but it’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it! Here are our three expert tips for motivating yourself to do your homework. 

#1: Use Incremental Incentives

When you’re not motivated, it’s important to give yourself small rewards to stay focused on finishing the task at hand. The trick is to keep the incentives small and to reward yourself often. For example, maybe you’re reading a good book in your free time. For every ten minutes you spend on your homework, you get to read five pages of your book. Like we mentioned earlier, make sure you’re choosing a reward that works for you! 

So why does this technique work? Using small rewards more often allows you to experience small wins for getting your work done. Every time you make it to one of your tiny reward points, you get to celebrate your success, which gives your brain a boost of dopamine . Dopamine helps you stay motivated and also creates a feeling of satisfaction when you complete your homework !  

#2: Form a Homework Group 

If you’re having trouble motivating yourself, it’s okay to turn to others for support. Creating a homework group can help with this. Bring together a group of your friends or classmates, and pick one time a week where you meet and work on homework together. You don’t have to be in the same class, or even taking the same subjects— the goal is to encourage one another to start (and finish!) your assignments. 

Another added benefit of a homework group is that you can help one another if you’re struggling to understand the material covered in your classes. This is especially helpful if your lack of motivation comes from being intimidated by your assignments. Asking your friends for help may feel less scary than talking to your teacher...and once you get a handle on the material, your homework may become less frightening, too. 

#3: Change Up Your Environment 

If you find that you’re totally unmotivated, it may help if you find a new place to do your homework. For example, if you’ve been struggling to get your homework done at home, try spending an extra hour in the library after school instead. The change of scenery can limit your distractions and give you the energy you need to get your work done. 

If you’re stuck doing homework at home, you can still use this tip. For instance, maybe you’ve always done your homework sitting on your bed. Try relocating somewhere else, like your kitchen table, for a few weeks. You may find that setting up a new “homework spot” in your house gives you a motivational lift and helps you get your work done. 


Social media can be a huge problem when it comes to doing homework. We have advice for helping you unplug and regain focus.

How to Do Homework When You’re Easily Distracted

We live in an always-on world, and there are tons of things clamoring for our attention. From friends and family to pop culture and social media, it seems like there’s always something (or someone!) distracting us from the things we need to do.

The 24/7 world we live in has affected our ability to focus on tasks for prolonged periods of time. Research has shown that over the past decade, an average person’s attention span has gone from 12 seconds to eight seconds . And when we do lose focus, i t takes people a long time to get back on task . One study found that it can take as long as 23 minutes to get back to work once we’ve been distracte d. No wonder it can take hours to get your homework done! 

3 Tips to Improve Your Focus

If you have a hard time focusing when you’re doing your homework, it’s a good idea to try and eliminate as many distractions as possible. Here are three expert tips for blocking out the noise so you can focus on getting your homework done. 

#1: Create a Distraction-Free Environment

Pick a place where you’ll do your homework every day, and make it as distraction-free as possible. Try to find a location where there won’t be tons of noise, and limit your access to screens while you’re doing your homework. Put together a focus-oriented playlist (or choose one on your favorite streaming service), and put your headphones on while you work. 

You may find that other people, like your friends and family, are your biggest distraction. If that’s the case, try setting up some homework boundaries. Let them know when you’ll be working on homework every day, and ask them if they’ll help you keep a quiet environment. They’ll be happy to lend a hand! 

#2: Limit Your Access to Technology 

We know, we know...this tip isn’t fun, but it does work. For homework that doesn’t require a computer, like handouts or worksheets, it’s best to put all your technology away . Turn off your television, put your phone and laptop in your backpack, and silence notifications on any wearable tech you may be sporting. If you listen to music while you work, that’s fine...but make sure you have a playlist set up so you’re not shuffling through songs once you get started on your homework. 

If your homework requires your laptop or tablet, it can be harder to limit your access to distractions. But it’s not impossible! T here are apps you can download that will block certain websites while you’re working so that you’re not tempted to scroll through Twitter or check your Facebook feed. Silence notifications and text messages on your computer, and don’t open your email account unless you absolutely have to. And if you don’t need access to the internet to complete your assignments, turn off your WiFi. Cutting out the online chatter is a great way to make sure you’re getting your homework done. 

#3: Set a Timer (the Pomodoro Technique)

Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro technique ? It’s a productivity hack that uses a timer to help you focus!

Here’s how it works: first, set a timer for 25 minutes. This is going to be your work time. During this 25 minutes, all you can do is work on whatever homework assignment you have in front of you. No email, no text messaging, no phone calls—just homework. When that timer goes off, you get to take a 5 minute break. Every time you go through one of these cycles, it’s called a “pomodoro.” For every four pomodoros you complete, you can take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes.

The pomodoro technique works through a combination of boundary setting and rewards. First, it gives you a finite amount of time to focus, so you know that you only have to work really hard for 25 minutes. Once you’ve done that, you’re rewarded with a short break where you can do whatever you want. Additionally, tracking how many pomodoros you complete can help you see how long you’re really working on your homework. (Once you start using our focus tips, you may find it doesn’t take as long as you thought!)


Two Bonus Tips for How to Do Homework Fast

Even if you’re doing everything right, there will be times when you just need to get your homework done as fast as possible. (Why do teachers always have projects due in the same week? The world may never know.)

The problem with speeding through homework is that it’s easy to make mistakes. While turning in an assignment is always better than not submitting anything at all, you want to make sure that you’re not compromising quality for speed. Simply put, the goal is to get your homework done quickly and still make a good grade on the assignment! 

Here are our two bonus tips for getting a decent grade on your homework assignments , even when you’re in a time crunch. 

#1: Do the Easy Parts First 

This is especially true if you’re working on a handout with multiple questions. Before you start working on the assignment, read through all the questions and problems. As you do, make a mark beside the questions you think are “easy” to answer . 

Once you’ve finished going through the whole assignment, you can answer these questions first. Getting the easy questions out of the way as quickly as possible lets you spend more time on the trickier portions of your homework, which will maximize your assignment grade. 

(Quick note: this is also a good strategy to use on timed assignments and tests, like the SAT and the ACT !) 

#2: Pay Attention in Class 

Homework gets a lot easier when you’re actively learning the material. Teachers aren’t giving you homework because they’re mean or trying to ruin your weekend... it’s because they want you to really understand the course material. Homework is designed to reinforce what you’re already learning in class so you’ll be ready to tackle harder concepts later.

When you pay attention in class, ask questions, and take good notes, you’re absorbing the information you’ll need to succeed on your homework assignments. (You’re stuck in class anyway, so you might as well make the most of it!) Not only will paying attention in class make your homework less confusing, it will also help it go much faster, too.


What’s Next?

If you’re looking to improve your productivity beyond homework, a good place to begin is with time management. After all, we only have so much time in a it’s important to get the most out of it! To get you started, check out this list of the 12 best time management techniques that you can start using today.

You may have read this article because homework struggles have been affecting your GPA. Now that you’re on the path to homework success, it’s time to start being proactive about raising your grades. This article teaches you everything you need to know about raising your GPA so you can

Now you know how to get motivated to do homework...but what about your study habits? Studying is just as critical to getting good grades, and ultimately getting into a good college . We can teach you how to study bette r in high school. (We’ve also got tons of resources to help you study for your ACT and SAT exams , too!)

These recommendations are based solely on our knowledge and experience. If you purchase an item through one of our links, PrepScholar may receive a commission.

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Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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Quotes about homework

Homework is like a treasure hunt, the more you search, the more you learn.

Homework is not a burden, but a bridge to success.

Homework is the practice that perfects your skills.

Homework is the fuel that ignites the fire of knowledge.

Homework is the key that unlocks the door to achievement.

Homework is not the enemy, but the ally of progress.

Homework teaches us discipline and perseverance.

Homework is the bridge that connects what we learn in school to the real world.

Homework is an opportunity for growth and self-improvement.

Homework is the building block of knowledge.

Homework is the foundation upon which our education stands.

Homework is like a puzzle, every piece counts towards the bigger picture.

Homework is the bridge between what we know and what we can achieve.

Homework is the compass that guides us on our educational journey.

Homework is the practice that turns theory into reality.

Homework is the secret ingredient to academic success.

Homework is the tool that sharpens our intellect.

Homework is our ticket to a brighter future.

Homework is the investment that pays off in the long run.

Homework is the proof that we are willing to go the extra mile for our dreams.

Homework is the canvas on which we paint our academic achievements.

Homework is the chord that connects what we learn today to what we will accomplish tomorrow.

Homework is the staircase to intellectual growth.

Homework is the path that leads to academic excellence.

Homework is the light that guides us through the dark corners of understanding.

Homework is the teacher’s way of saying, ‘I believe in your potential.’

Homework is the opportunity to build a strong foundation for future success.

Homework is the trailblazer that paves the way for new discoveries.

Homework is the passport to knowledge.

Homework is the practice that turns novices into experts.

Homework is the compass that steers us towards educational excellence.

Homework is the music that plays in the symphony of education.

Homework is the puzzle piece that completes the academic picture.

Homework is the investment of time that yields the greatest returns.

Homework is the marathon that prepares us for the sprint of exams.

Homework is the recipe that blends knowledge, understanding, and application.

Homework is the window into our individual learning styles.

Homework is the mirror that reflects our growth as students.

Homework is the workout that flexes our mental muscles.

Homework is the rehearsal that prepares us for the grand performance of life.

Homework is the beehive of learning, where buzzing minds gather to produce sweet rewards.

Homework is the treasure map that leads to academic riches.

Homework is the potion that turns confusion into clarity.

Homework is the boat that sails us across the ocean of knowledge.

Homework is the blueprint that guides us in the construction of our education.

Homework is the secret ingredient that spices up our academic journey.

Homework is the drumbeat that fuels our intellectual progress.

Homework is the telescope that allows us to see beyond the classroom walls.

Homework is the compass that points towards educational enlightenment.

Homework is the stepping stone to greatness.

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thatonerule: #1879 Never worry about anything. It’s a total waste of time and it doesn’t change anything. All it does

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53 Empowering Study Motivation Quotes For Students

Struggling to meet deadlines? Need a push to get your homework done? Find strength and crush your goals with these study motivation quotes.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how much will you rate the difficulty of life as a student? It’s a solid 10 for me, even harder than working at a corporate job.

And if you have a similar score as I do, you are not alone. According to a survey conducted by Yale University, more than half of the students felt tired at school. Not surprised. Whether you are in high school or college, there is just so much work to do.

Not only do students need to finish homework, rush deadlines, and study for finals, they also have clubs to attend, sports to practice, and the whole future to plan. With so much to do, why would anyone rely on quotes to find their motivation? Why don’t we just do it?

The thing is, we are not robots. And our brain is not wired to function the way we want it to. Boredom, procrastination, and difficulty to concentrate are sometimes fatigue in disguise. In other words, you are not lazy. You are tired. If you are on the edge of burnout , the most productive thing to do is to take a break.

But sometimes, all we need is an extra push to do the work. So here is a list of study motivation quotes and sayings that will give you the strength and the reason to work harder.

Inspiring study motivation quotes

Table of content, quotes about success for students, short positive study quotes for students, inspiring quotes for students to fight procrastination, quotes about learning and education, how to motivate yourself to study when it feels hard.

Success has a million definitions. As a student, success may equal straight A’s, getting into your ideal college, landing on a dream job, or contribute in a professional area. But, no matter what success means to you, one thing is for sure: it requires strategies and continuous efforts.

So if you are determined to achieve your goals, these motivational study quotes will be your cheerleader along the way.

Quotes about success for students

What comes easy won’t last. What lasts won’t come easy.
Failure is success in progress.

Quotes about success for students

You are so close to the victory. Don’t you dare give up now.
Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. – Newt Gingrich
There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs. – Zig Ziglar

Quotes about success for students

If you are not happy with where you are now, keep going.

Don't just dream, do. - Roy T. Bennett

Don’t just learn; experience. Don’t just read; absorb. Don’t just think, ponder. Don’t just dream, do. – Roy T. Bennett

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It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes, we must do what is required. – Winston S. Churchill
Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in. – Leonardo da Vinci

Quotes about success for students

Push harder than yesterday if you want a different tomorrow.
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. – Confucius
The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something, to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. – Randy Pausch
The harder you work, the luckier you are.
Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential. – Winston S. Churchill
You don’t get what you wish for. You get what you work for. – Daniel Milstein

Experts were once beginners. -Quotes about success for students

Experts were once beginners.

Losers quit when they're tired. Winners quit when they've won. -Quotes about success for students

Losers quit when they’re tired. Winners quit when they’ve won.
Motivation gets you far. Discipline gets you further.

Sometimes a few words or a single line can say a lot. So, if you are looking for study captions or motivational one-liners , you will love the following short study quotes.

If you have a quote that resonates with you, don’t forget to write it down and put it somewhere you can see to keep yourself reminded.

You got this. -Short positive study quotes for students

You got this.
You are capable of amazing things.
Making myself proud.

A's before baes -Short positive study quotes for students

A’s before baes
Don’t stop until you are there.
Start one hour earlier. It can change a lot.

Tiredness sucks less than regret. -Short positive study quotes for students

Tiredness sucks less than regret.
You never fail until you stop trying. – Albert Einstein
Believe a little more in your potential.

Short positive study quotes for students

Be the cherry who stands on top.
Progress is progress, no matter how small.

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. – Beverly Sills
Difficult but not impossible.

It always seems impossible until it's done. - Nelson Mandela

It always seems impossible until it’s done. – Nelson Mandela
Do something that your future self will thank you for.

Wake up determined. Go to bed satisfied. -  -Short positive study quotes for students

Wake up determined. Go to bed satisfied.
It never gets easier. You just get better. – Jordan Hoechlin

As a student, you may have tons to handle at the same time. But sometimes, it’s hard to just sit down and get things done. Everyone has the same 24 hours per day. And the more time you spend on procrastination, the less you achieve.

So when you don’t feel like doing the work, these motivational study quotes may help you stop procrastinating and take action . Pick one or two of your favorite quotes, set it as a lock screen wallpaper, or write it down as a self-reminder .

inspiring quotes for students to fight procrastination

What’s stopping you?

inspiring quotes for students to fight procrastination

When in doubt Clear your desk. Tie your hair up. Grab a coffee. And just start.
Put the phone down.
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. – Albert Einstein

inspiring quotes for students to fight procrastination

You don’t solve problems that you put off. Do it now.

inspiring quotes for students to fight procrastination

Productive things to do besides study Schedule your study for the week Drink water and stretch Organize your desk Review your notes Listen to podcast Cook a healthy meal

Procrastination makes easy things hard and hard things harder.

Procrastination makes easy things hard and hard things harder. – Mason Cooley
You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. – Zig Ziglar
Do what you say you will do yesterday.

inspiring quotes for students to fight procrastination

Wake up early. Drink coffee. Study hard. Take breaks. And repeat.

One thing that will make studying easier is gratitude. Education changes lives. And being able to go to school is a gift. So here is a list of quotes about learning and education that will make you rethink your school life.

There is no shame in not knowing. – Neil deGrasse Tyson
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. – Nelson Mandela

Read also: 56 Inspiring Nelson Mandela quotes that are words of wisdom

So many books, so little time. – Frank Zappa
It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer. – Albert Einstein

Quotes about learning and education

The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you. – B.B. King
Not many can concentrate for a straight hour. But we can all focus for 20 minutes and repeat.
Getting educated is a privilege.

Quotes about learning and education

Mistakes are proof that you are trying.
Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom. – Oprah Winfrey
I love hearing educated people talk and just shut everyone up. Knowledge is always the loudest voice. – Zendaya

Now you have a bunch of study quotes to go to when you need motivation. And here are some tips that may be helpful as well.

  • Honor your feelings

The lack of motivation, boredom, and anxiety can all be signs of burnout. And when you have no fuel in the tank, it’s impossible to fire up the engine. So instead of criticizing your reluctance to study, write down how you feel.

It may also help to track your prime time and downtime. Maybe you are a morning person who performs the best in the early hours. Or perhaps you are the opposite. Schedule your study accordingly and do the most challenging tasks in your prime time.

  • Schedule breaks

You are not tired for no reason, especially when it’s chronic. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is to take a break. So don’t forget to arrange break time in between your day.

The Pomodoro method may be a good place to start. Study for 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break and repeat. Use a timer, so you don’t need to check the time.

  • Find a study buddy

If you have a group of friends or a classmate to study with, it’s easier to keep yourself accountable.

  • Write down your goal

What are your goals? Goals can be the best motivator. So take a piece of paper and write down your goals. Don’t forget to include both short-term and long-term goals.

Short-term goals can be finishing your paper by next Tuesday or getting an A at finals. Long-term goals may be getting into your ideal college. Include both so you have something to keep you excited for now and in the long run.

Which of these study motivation quotes do you find helpful?

Or maybe you have your own study mantra. Leave it in the comment or tag @_OurMindfulLife on Instagram to share.

How to find motivation to do homework

How to find motivation to do homework

How to find motivation to do homework ? Struggling to motivate yourself to finish homework? You’re not alone! This article has strategies to help you stay motivated and reach goals. Create a positive atmosphere and set realistic expectations . Learn how to motivate yourself and find happiness in studying.

Why is Homework Motivation Important?

Strong Homework Motivation is key for academic success. Parents and teachers must foster the right mindset and goal-setting skills . Create a supportive environment at home and engage students in class through group work and quizzes.

Homework should be viewed as an opportunity , not an obstacle. Incorporate positive reinforcement such as regular study sessions and breaks in between. With work ethic and repetition, success will come with time! Plus, you’ll be able to brag to your parents and teachers.

How to find motivation to do homework 1

The benefits of being motivated to do homework

Kicking off the article, motivating oneself for doing homework brings loads of advantages. Productivity increases, thus saving time and creating extra leisure. Plus, understanding becomes easier due to the release of positive hormones.

Apart from good grades, essential life skills are acquired such as setting goals and perseverance. Awards and incentives for excellent performance become attractive too, building character and preparing for future endeavors.

It’s key to have a positive outlook towards schoolwork, rather than seeing it as dull or a chore. This will help to pursue education, rather than just doing it out of obligation.

Evidence shows that completing homework has advantages apart from just following assignments. This could be getting accepted to a university or even a promotion. So, it’s vital to never ignore coursework and work on each learning opportunity.

Not doing your homework is like forgetting your parachute on a skydiving trip.

The consequences of not being motivated to do homework

How to find motivation to do homework

Procrastination can result in unfortunate consequences for students. Poor grades, missed assignments, and deadline delays cause disappointment and anxiety, leading to a downward spiral of bad academic performance. Not being motivated to do homework can also lead to inconsistent learning outcomes and have a negative effect on career goals. To combat this, setting achievable goals and breaking tasks into smaller steps is essential.

Seeking support, collaborating with peers, keeping a study journal, practicing time management skills, and creating an appropriate learning environment can help boost motivation. Studies have shown that poor academic performance is linked to increased stress levels, leading to anxiety and depression.

Educators should provide conducive learning environments, offer resources such as counseling services, and develop positive relationships with students. Promoting self-reflection and goal-setting activities during student-teacher interactions can effectively support students’ motivation to complete their homework tasks successfully.

Understanding the Challenges: Common Obstacles to Homework Motivation

Homework tasks can seem intimidating for students. Finding motivation is tough. Common roadblocks like distractions, disinterest, and low energy can make students unmotivated to finish their homework. This leads to procrastination, bad grades, and poor academic performance.

To keep motivated for homework, focus on time management, setting goals, and staying focused . Ban distractions for effective studying. Set specific goals for each task; this will help you stay motivated throughout the assignment. Ask teachers or peers for guidance if you struggle.

Emotional distress and cognitive constraints are other obstacles to motivation. Stressful life events can affect schoolwork. Counseling services can help ease the burden.

Pro Tip: Plan rewards after completing homework tasks. This creates a positive feedback loop for future assignments. Without goals, your motivation is lost.

Setting Clear Goals: The First Step to Finding Motivation

To boost motivation for homework, set SMART goals . These should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound . Write them down and keep track of progress. Acknowledge what it would feel like when completed and recognize the reasons behind doing the work.

Incentives are key to increasing overall motivation. Edward Deci and Richard Ryan of Rochester University found that extrinsic motivators such as praise don’t motivate intrinsically. So incentives are important for students to foster intrinsic motivation and achieve success.

Who needs a five-star hotel? Transform your study space into a motivational spa retreat!

Creating a Positive Study Environment: Enhancing Motivation through Space

To boost motivation in building a homework routine, create an ideal study space. It should be uplifting and inspiring. A good study area helps maintain focus, increase productivity, and reduce stress.

Motivational posters and fresh flowers make for an aesthetically pleasing space. Plus, a clean and organized workspace aids concentration and decreases distractions. Clutter causes uneasiness and hinders interest.

Personalize your workspace for comfortability and engagement. Dim lights or soft music can make studying easier.

Pro Tip: Add personal touches or rearrange furniture to shift from boring monotony to an encouraging atmosphere. Need some motivation? Look at your grades and let it spark your enthusiasm!

Finding Your Motivation Triggers: Discovering What Inspires You

Discovering what inspires you is essential to stay motivated and productive when doing homework. Unearth the factors inhibiting motivation. Find Your Inspiration Incentives: Uncover What Revs You Up!

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Set clear objectives. Think about why a course was chosen, what interests or people drew attention? Create daily goal checklists for priority tasks.
  • Identify intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Understand learning style via self-assessment surveys. Tailor study approach, don’t use common methods subjectively chosen.
  • A fellow student shared their experience of struggling with homework motivation. Various online strategies used without reflecting on suitability. Reflect on psychological needs, tailor rewarding activities. Going for runs to release endorphins, happier moods to work hard! Motivation for homework is like a unicorn, hard to find!

Tips for finding homework motivation

Struggling to find motivation for homework? Here are effective techniques:

  • Create a routine . Set aside the same time each day and use it solely to focus on work.
  • Break assignments into smaller tasks .
  • Find an accountability partner . Share progress with someone who cares.
  • Use positive reinforcement . Reward yourself after completing each task.
  • Remind yourself of your goals and stay motivated .
  • Parents, nagging won’t help . Promise ice cream after they finish!

The role of parents in homework motivation

Parents: to enhance your child’s enthusiasm for homework, motivate them! You have an influential role in boosting motivation. Encouragement, structure and interest in their academic progress can all help.

Set a routine for daily assignments and offer rewards or incentives when they finish on time or get good grades. Use positive reinforcement such as praise instead of criticism.

Each day, ask your child about schoolwork. This promotes diligence and shows education is important to the family.

Show them different ways homework is beneficial. Ask them to contribute ideas on topics they want to learn more about. Create a deeper passion for learning.

Establish healthy routines. Demonstrate enthusiasm for academic mastery, not strictness and punishment. Improve the chances of preventing missing out on future opportunities that higher education offers.

A Call-to-action technique like “fear of being left behind” demands immediate attention from parents to incentivize kids passionately towards successful completion of homework tasks. Teachers can’t always motivate us, but at least they can provide plenty of material for procrastination.

The role of teachers in homework motivation

How to find motivation to do homework

Teachers have a big part to play in motivating students to do their homework. By offering clear explanations, feedback and a positive classroom environment, they can inspire kids to tackle their assignments with excitement.

Personal help like one-on-one consultations or mentorship can help those who are having trouble, building their confidence and making them view schoolwork more positively.

To make sure learning sticks and to avoid frustration, teachers should use different strategies that suit individual students. For instance, interactive methods such as group conversations or project-based tasks create interesting learning experiences which help with homework beyond just memorizing.

Frequent communication between teachers and parents is also key in holding people accountable and getting parents involved in inspiring their children.

It’s important to take into account that each student is different, and this means adjusting the curriculum to fit varying abilities, as well as social and emotional factors like mental health or external pressures.

Research has shown that parent support is a must for successful student achievements. The National Education Association (NEA) reported that when parents get involved, it can bring many advantages, from an improved school climate and attendance to a higher motivation towards homework.

The role of peers in homework motivation

Peer influence is hugely important for homework motivation. It changes students’ values, attitudes, and behaviors towards their work. Peers can be role models or distractions, depending on the impact.

By watching their friends’ study habits, involvement, and grades, students can become motivated to copy or even exceed these standards. Working together helps share knowledge and get feedback. So, both teachers and peers need to create an environment that encourages learning.

Peer pressure can be a blessing or a curse. Research shows it can cause anxiety and bad performance, if it is negative.

A great example of peer influence in action is high school football players. Poor performers were paired with successful ones. This led to improved grades, thanks to the model behavior and social support from their high-achieving peers.

Managing Distractions: Techniques for Staying Focused on Homework

Maintaining Concentance: Strategies to Keep Your Focus on Coursework.

Stay productive and successful in completing homework by managing distractions. Here are five tactics to help you stay on track:

  • Make a work area without interruptions.
  • Organize your study materials before starting.
  • Set reasonable goals and take breaks when needed.
  • Stay away from tech distractions like social media notifications.
  • Do the hard stuff first when your mind is sharp.

Good habits and limiting disruptions boost motivation and reduce procrastination. Listen to instrumental music or white noise to stay focused. Self-care is important for concentration.

My friend had ADHD in high school. Medication and other treatments didn’t help. So she got an academic coach. The coach gave her techniques like mindfulness, accountability with peers, and time management. That helped her coursework.

Take a break sometimes. Have ice cream and Netflix. Reset!

Dealing with Homework Burnout: Strategies for Recharging Your Motivation

Feeling burnt out or unmotivated with homework? Combat this! Strategies can help recharge your inspiration. Implement a study schedule that suits your goals, and rest . Break down tough assignments into smaller tasks. This will build momentum and confidence. Incorporate positive affirmations & rewards systems . Utilize these strategies to stay motivated and successful in academics. Recharge your motivation – it’s possible!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is it important to find motivation to do homework?

A: Homework is a crucial part of the learning process as it helps reinforce the lessons taught in class and prepare students for exams.

Q: How can I motivate myself to do homework?

A: Setting goals, breaking tasks into smaller chunks, creating a schedule, and using positive self-talk are effective ways to motivate yourself to do homework.

Q: What if I still can’t find motivation to do homework?

A: Sometimes, it can be difficult to find motivation to do homework. In such cases, talking to a teacher, tutor, or counselor can help identify underlying issues and find solutions that work for you.

Q: How can I make homework more enjoyable?

A: Trying different study techniques, incorporating rewards, and studying with friends or classmates can make homework more enjoyable.

Q: What should I do if I am constantly distracted while doing homework?

A: It’s important to identify distractions and remove them as much as possible. This can include turning off electronic devices, finding a quiet study space, and taking periodic breaks.

Q: How can I avoid procrastinating when it comes to homework?

A: Procrastination can be avoided by setting deadlines, breaking tasks into smaller portions, avoiding multitasking, and prioritizing your work.

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How to Focus on Homework and Actually Get Things Done: 12 Hacks for Busy Students

  • September 15, 2022

A teen using his laptop and learning how to focus on homework

Chances are, you’ve had some days when you felt overwhelmed after a long day at school. You couldn’t imagine doing anything other than plopping down in front of the television, let alone finding out how to focus on your homework. 

How can you overcome the resistance and get it done? How do you get your mind to include this task in your day as well?

With just a few adjustments, you will be able to expand your capacity to concentrate.

Why Can’t I Focus on My Homework?

Countless factors constantly fight for your attention : social media, people, overthinking, and anxiety. All of this can make you feel as though you have little control over your mind. 

If you want to start to focus better on your homework, you’ll need to set your mind up for success. Remove all distractions .

Here are two key principles that can help you be more successful in your studies:

1. Identify the distractions in your surroundings

What are the things in your daily life that take your mind away from your studies? Clearly identifying these distractions can help you understand both the problem and what causes it.

Among our environmental distractions, digital distractions are one of the worst kinds, and according to a number of studies , their effect is on the rise in the classroom.

If you’re looking to gain more concentration and, thus, form better study habits, question your online behavior first and foremost.

2. Limit the use of technology to find focus

What’s the role of social media in your daily life? Have you ever sat down to calculate how social media distracts you from doing the things you should be doing?

When you are wondering how to focus on homework long after you’ve put your phone away, you’re still thinking about the last posts you saw on Instagram. The sound of new notifications can be enough to reroute our attention from the task at hand.

And then comes the information overload, the fear of missing out, and the all-too-common signs of addictive behavior. Technology is affecting your mind more than ever, and it’s taking your focus away.

A teenager learning how to focus on homework

How to Focus on Homework: 12 Things You Can Do to Be More Indistractible

Here are 12 tips on how to stay focused while completing your homework, taught by superbrain coach Jim Kwik and habit transformation expert Nir Eyal .

  • Make a routine
  • Set up a study-friendly environment
  • Avoid heavy meals
  • Organize your study notes
  • Tell others to stay away
  • Listen to study music
  • Set deadlines
  • Take brain breaks
  • Use discomfort as motivation for productivity
  • Use time blocking
  • Let go of thoughts that distract you
  • Reimagine your task

Let’s look at each study hack in more detail.

1. Make a routine

Routines help you be productive without exerting as much effort. When you have homework to do, a study routine can be the reason you actually sit down, set enough time aside, concentrate, and stay focused until you complete the project.

This process doesn’t need to be complicated: just tell yourself that you will sit at your desk at home once you’re back from school. Put your phone on silent, make an outline of the work that needs to get done, and simply begin with what’s most important.

2. Set up a study-friendly environment

A place for everything and everything in its place. That applies to studying, too.

Lying in bed with your notebook is considered a distraction, as is being in the living room with your laptop while others are doing their activities.

You need an isolated place when you decide to focus on your homework. Make it feel comfortable, keep it organized, keep it clean, and consider putting up some motivational posters or positive affirmations .

3. Avoid heavy meals

It’s not advisable to have a big meal beforehand. Big meals can ruin your focus and make you feel sluggish and lazy because it takes a big amount of time and energy for your body to digest. A snack is okay.

There are also some foods , though, that are just plain bad for your productivity. For example, soda, candy, and fried foods are all full of sugar and have no nutritional value. They make your insulin spike up, but then it crashes very fast, which makes you feel depleted of energy.

4. Organize your study notes

Prioritize your work. Keep lists and place the most important items on top. Then work on the items that you should get done first.

It helps to outline what you need to do, breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps. Use colors to highlight the essentials . 

This makes it all look much simpler and you’re more likely to actually get started. The brain loves organization and it won’t be so likely to procrastinate when it knows you have a structure set in place.

5. Tell others to stay away

Don’t be afraid to let others know that you’re studying and require some time and space to get your work done. Decide on fixed hours for studying and tell your friends and family members that you won’t be available during that time of the day.

If others respect your study time, you’ll be more inclined to respect it as well. 

6. Listen to study music

There are many tracks out there designed to help your mind focus. Whether you use binaural beats or just instrumental music, the right sounds can really help to tune your brain into a productive frequency.

This meditation is also great to listen to; it puts your mind in a clear, concise, and ready-to-take-on-the-world mode:

7. Set deadlines

Even if your teacher has already given you deadlines for each assignment, set new ones yourself at earlier dates.

This helps you build discipline, learn how to focus on studying, and prioritize every day.

8. Take brain breaks

Frequent breaks actually increase your productivity and focus. You’ll see that after each study session, the brain needs to be engaged with something different —  you need to activate other parts of your brain before going back to your studies so that you can reach top performance.

You can also use the Superbrain Yoga Technique. In the Superbrain Quest, Jim talks about implementing it during your breaks. It goes as follows:

  • Massage the left lobe of your ear with your right hand, and the right one with your left hand
  • Inhale and squat down
  • Exhale and come back up while continuing massaging your opposite ear with the opposite hand
  • Keep going for a few minutes
As your body moves, your brain grooves. — Jim Kwik, trainer of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Quest

9. Use discomfort as motivation for productivity

The brain is wired to protect us from danger, and our ancestors needed this function of the psyche to survive. Discomfort is associated with danger, and whenever they felt it, they knew it was time to run away or protect themselves in one way or another.

In today’s world, danger isn’t so imminent. However, discomfort is, and the brain still works to protect us in the same way. 

So why not use it to your advantage?

Once you have this mindset shift, you can see the discomfort that comes with doing your homework as fuel for moving forward, from pain to pleasure. So instead of procrastinating and avoiding the discomfort, just use it as motivation to get things done.

And maybe you can even save yourself a fun activity to do later in the day, so you have something to look forward to.

10. Use time blocking

You can use time blocking and set a specific amount of time for parts of your homework that needs to be done. For example, you block 30 minutes of reading, then another 30 minutes of writing down highlights from the text. 

This method will give you more structure and support you when you need to focus on school work, as you will have a dedicated structured time to do so.

11. Let go of thoughts that distract you

When you need more concentration, but your thoughts keep getting in the way, here’s a fun visualization exercise you can use:

  • Before you start working on your homework, close down your eyes and imagine a flowing river in front of you. 
  • Now, place every thought on a leaf and let it run down the river while watching it move away from you. 

Do this repeatedly for 5-10 minutes and see how your mind becomes clearer, more productive, and more inspired.

12. Reimagine your task

How can you make the process of doing your homework more fun? Is there any way you can think of to make it more exciting and engaging?

As you introduce play and fun into any task, your capacity to stay focused will increase. So just try out different methods to engage more in your homework. 

For example, what if you made a trivia quest about your history lesson homework? Or what about riddles to make you remember all the characters from the novel you have to read? 

Once you play around with these kinds of games, you might find that focusing on your homework isn’t as boring as you thought it would be.

Unleash the Power of Your Focus

Discovering how to focus on your homework can go beyond schoolwork and actually support you in many other activities you want to do. Concentration is one of the best skills to nurture for your growth.

If you need a little guidance at the beginning of your focusing journey, Mindvalley has it in store for you. 

By unlocking your FREE Mindvalley access , you can check out sample classes from quests that help you develop better focus and study habits, such as Becoming Focused and Indistractable by Nir Eyal and Superbrain by Jim Kwik. You can also immerse yourself in beautiful sounds and guided meditations designed to improve concentration and help you enter the flow state.

The earlier you start, the greater your journey of self-discovery will be. Welcome in.

— Images generated on Midjourney.

Recommended Free Masterclass For You

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Join the foremost expert in memory improvement and brain performance, Jim Kwik, in a free masterclass that will dive into the one skill you will ever need — learning how to learn Reserve My Free Spot Now

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Alexandra Tudor

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Jim Kwik is the trainer of Mindvalley’s Superbrain and Super Reading quests. He’s a brain coach and a world expert in speed reading, memory improvement, and optimal brain performance. Known as the “boy with the broken brain” due to a childhood injury, Jim discovered strategies to dramatically enhance his mental performance. He is now committed to helping people improve their memory, learn to speed-read, increase their decision-making skills, and turn on their superbrain. He has shared his techniques with Hollywood actors, Fortune 500 companies, and trailblazing entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Richard Branson to reach their highest level of mental performance. He is also one of the most sought-after trainers for top organizations like Harvard University, Nike, Virgin, and GE.

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How to Get Motivated to Study

Last Updated: April 25, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Jai Flicker . Jai Flicker is an Academic Tutor and the CEO and Founder of Lifeworks Learning Center, a San Francisco Bay Area-based business focused on providing tutoring, parental support, test preparation, college essay writing help, and psychoeducational evaluations to help students transform their attitude toward learning. Jai has over 20 years of experience in the education management industry. He holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of California, San Diego. There are 24 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 2,610,180 times.

When you have mountains of homework and studying ahead, getting started can seem like an impossible task. We’ll teach you how to get into the right frame of mind before you start studying and shake yourself out of a motivation slump. Read on to learn how to stop procrastinating on studying, focus even when you're tired, and get motivated to do your schoolwork!

Start with your easiest task to get the ball rolling.

Make things less stressful by starting with just a small task.

  • If you write a quick list of your tasks, it’ll lower the effort of making decisions, and you’ll find it easier to shift from one task to the next.

Try the Pomodoro Technique.

Beat procrastination with the tried-and-true Pomodoro technique.

  • With the Pomodoro Technique, each 25-minute block is called a Pomodoro, and you can set another 5-minute timer for a quick break in between Pomodoros.
  • If 25 minutes seems too short, feel free to keep working past the timer; the point is to get you started.

Break down your work into smaller pieces.

Pick a few tasks you can accomplish in just one sitting.

  • It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a huge amount of homework and seemingly endless assignments. But rather than worrying, “How will I ever finish this assignment?” ask yourself, “How much of this assignment can I accomplish in 2 hours?”
  • Instead of trying to read a whole book, set a goal you can accomplish in one sitting. For instance, read 1 chapter or 50 pages at a time. [6] X Trustworthy Source Harvard Business Review Online and print journal covering topics related to business management practices Go to source
  • When prepping for a test , review your lecture notes from just the first week of the semester today, then focus your notes from the second week tomorrow.

Tidy up your workspace.

Set yourself up for success by laying out your study materials.

  • Consider making your study space warm and inviting so you look forward to spending time there. Decorate the walls with photos of you and your friends, place a cheerful house plant on your desk, and choose a comfy chair to sit in.

Reward yourself when you complete a task.

Treat yourself to help you stay motivated and make studying fun.

  • Have a snack , but shy away from snacking on too many sugary treats early on. Nobody likes a sugar crash! Save sweet treats until the last leg of your study marathon to give you a boost.
  • If you decide to reward yourself with a quick break from studying, remember that you will eventually have to get back to work. Set a time limit for your break and don't listen to the voice in your head pleading for "just a few more minutes."

Take a break to move around.

Go for a walk or stretch to boost your brainpower and energy levels.

  • These activities will give you a burst of energy and will improve your mood. Plus they’ll help get your brain into a receptive state, which will make your studying more effective. [10] X Research source
  • A little movement can help you build momentum that’ll lead you into a productive study session.

Look up podcasts or videos to shake up your studying.

Try a fresh approach to your studies if you’re sick of reading and writing.

  • Set time limits to help yourself stay on track, and reward yourself by exploring interesting tangents after you’ve met your study goals.

Crank up your favorite study tunes.

Listen to a playlist to make studying more enjoyable.

  • The right music will help relax your mind and sharpen your focus. [12] X Research source
  • Try modern takes on classical piano or solo guitar or tune into your favorite movie soundtrack.
  • Speed things up with an electro-swing playlist or chill out with a mix of lo-fi beats.
  • Search your favorite music app for playlists designed to help you focus on your work, like “Songs for Studying” or “Study Beats.” You can also try "body-doubling" (working alongside someone else who is also working & letting their presence calm you) with the Lo-Fi Girl YouTube stream.

Freshen up and put on some comfortable clothing.

Changing your clothes can help you feel less groggy.

  • Make sure your study outfits don’t feel too much like your sleepwear or you might start to doze off.

Work with your friends or a tutor.

Positive peer pressure can be a great motivator!

  • Look for a tutor at your school or consult a private tutoring agency.
  • In a study group, each person could volunteer to tackle a different sub-topic, then you could all share your study materials with each other. [14] X Research source
  • Reserve a study room, bring snacks, or gamify your studying to make the work more enjoyable.
  • Start working well ahead of time in case your peers fail to meet the group goals and to make sure you have time to brush up on certain subjects independently.

Create visual aids for a fun, efficient study tool.

Make diagrams and pictures to help you connect and remember ideas.

  • Rather than skimming vocab words from a PDF or textbook, rewriting the words and definitions in your own handwriting with a fun-colored pen might help you retain the information better.

Use classic study tricks to memorize facts.

Try making up...

Focus on your long-term goals.

Motivate yourself by making a personal connection to your work.

  • If you’re hoping to attend college or earn a scholarship, think about how each small study session will get you 1 step closer to your dreams.
  • Use your long-term goals as motivation to keep pushing yourself.

Set up your computer.

Plug in your computer and close all unnecessary tabs before you get started.

  • If you’re easily distracted but need to use a computer as a reading or research tool, consider printing out the material to help you stay on task. [20] X Research source
  • If you need to use the computer solely as a word processor or PDF viewer, disconnect it from Wi-Fi or station yourself in a no-Wi-Fi zone so you’re not tempted to go online.
  • When computer use isn’t necessary for your studies, turn yours off and stow it away.

Silence or shut off your cell phone.

Take away the distraction of social media and texts from friends.

  • Keep your phone out of sight so you won't be tempted to keep taking a sneak peek.

Stay hydrated and keep a snack on hand.

The right fuel helps your brain function properly.

  • Avoid studying right after a big meal; you’ll just feel drowsy and will want to relax.
  • Don’t put off a meal as a reward, as your aching stomach will be distracting. Make sure you have a snack on hand to fend off your hunger.
  • Avoid sugary vending machine snacks, fast food, and pastries; these foods will give you a short energy rush that quickly turns into sleepiness.

Figure out your ideal study environment and methods.

Ask yourself which study habits help you learn and do well.

  • Think back to past study sessions that went especially well, and others that didn’t go well at all, to assess which factors help and hinder your progress.
  • If you’re able to develop a personalized study system, studying will be a lot less stressful for you.

Design a study guide that works for you.

Develop a personalized...

  • If the textbook’s section heading reads, “Anthropomorphic Themes in Fairy Tales,” your study question could be, “Can I describe the use of anthropomorphic themes in fairy tales?”
  • Look online for study guide templates and examples as a starting point.

Try freewriting or journaling to identify why you procrastinate.

Ask yourself, “What’s stopping me from getting started?”

  • If it helps to vent to a friend, just make sure they’re willing to listen and you’re not going to distract them from their own studies.

Be kind to yourself about your procrastination habits.

Beating yourself up won’t help you get started!

  • Avoid comparing yourself to other classmates who seem to be doing well. Everyone learns and works differently, so focus on your own needs and capabilities!
  • Using positive self-talk helps create a growth mindset that can help you overcome difficulties.

Give yourself time limits.

Put each to-do item its own slot in your schedule so you stay on track.

  • Telling yourself, "I'll have to study sometime this week" will encourage procrastination, but “I’m going to study from 6 PM to 9 PM on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday” will help you stick to your plan. [32] X Research source
  • Try sticking to a regular schedule, but feel free to break your usual routine if you need to shake things up. For instance, get a good night’s sleep and set your alarm for 7:00 AM to study on Sunday morning. It might be easier to get up and get started right away since you’ve planned it in advance.
  • The more specific and intentional you can be about scheduling out your study tasks, the more success you’ll have with your studies and time management .

Study Schedule Template

homework thoughts motivation

Supercharge Your Studying with this Expert Series

1 - Study For Exams

Expert Q&A

Jai Flicker

Reader Videos

  • Make an effort to take good notes during class and keep them in an organized notebook or binder. Use these to help you with homework, projects, and upcoming exams. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0
  • If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask your teacher or professor. Visit during their office hours or ask if you can set up a time to speak with them about the subject. Make sure you ask questions in-class, too. If you ask questions, it will show that you’re motivated and want to do well in their class. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 1
  • Sometimes it can be about changing your perspective - try framing your thoughts as you get to study, rather than you have to study. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

Tips from our Readers

  • Sometimes, motivation can come after you've already started studying. If you don't feel like studying, just try doing it for five minutes, and check in with how you're feeling after that.
  • Be sure to get a good night's sleep to help you retain the information you’ve studied. Aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.

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About This Article

Jai Flicker

If you’re having trouble getting motivated to study, find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted, and turn your phone on silent or place it out of sight so you won’t be tempted to look at it. Set concrete goals for each study session, like learning how to solve a specific math problem or reading and comprehending a complete chapter in your textbook. Reward yourself with a snack or a break when you meet your goal. For tips on making a study schedule, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How can I stay motivated to complete homework?

Break down your study goals into smaller, more attainable chunks. Instead of panicking over the final page count for a long essay, take on each subtopic in the essay individually, and overcome them one by one.

Another way to stay motivated to complete your homework is to tie a carrot to the end of the stick, so to speak. For example, you can tell yourself, “Once I finish this assignment, and only when I’ve finished this assignment, I can hang out with my friends or play video games.”

Of course, you can also motivate yourself to complete your homework by thinking about how your accomplishment will positively benefit your future. You can think along the lines of, “If I stop procrastinating on this homework assignment and finish it now, I’ll get a better grade in class. If I get a better grade in class, my overall GPA will be higher, and I will look better on my college applications!”

Also Found On

Daniel Wong

40 Motivational Quotes for Students: Get Inspired to Study Hard

Updated on October 21, 2021 By Daniel Wong 159 Comments


Reading motivational quotes for students can give you a quick boost of inspiration to study.

Let me ask you a question…

Do you ever struggle with a lack of motivation?

You’re supposed to be studying for next week’s test. But instead you end up texting your friends, watching videos, or playing games.

After procrastinating for an hour, you finally get down to work.

But you just don’t feel that motivated.

Sound familiar?

Developing long-term motivation is a complicated issue.

But you can become more motivated to study in the short term by reading inspirational quotes.

So I’ve compiled this list of 40 motivational quotes for students to help you study hard.

The quotes are listed below according to the following categories:

  • Believing in yourself
  • Cultivating a success mindset
  • Overcoming procrastination
  • Not making excuses
  • Perseverance

Enter your email below to download a PDF summary of this article. The PDF contains all the quotes found here, plus 10 exclusive bonus quotes that you’ll only find in the PDF.

Quotes about believing in yourself.

1. Believe you can and you’re halfway there.

2. You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.

3. It always seems impossible until it’s done.

4. Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. – John Wooden

John wooden motivational quote

Quotes about cultivating a success mindset

5. Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. – Arthur Ashe

6. Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential. – John Maxwell

7. The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well. – John D. Rockefeller

8. Good things come to people who wait, but better things come to those who go out and get them.

9. Strive for progress, not perfection.

10. I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson motivational quote

11. Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. – Robert Collier

12. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better. – Jim Rohn

13. I don’t regret the things I’ve done. I regret the things I didn’ t do when I had the chance.

14. There are two kinds of people in this world: those who want to get things done and those who don’t want to make mistakes. – John Maxwell

Quotes about overcoming procrastination when it comes to studying

15. The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

16. You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

17. The expert in everything was once a beginner.

Quotes about hard work

18. There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. – Beverly Sills

19. Push yourself, because no one else is going to do it for you.

20. Some people dream of accomplishing great things. Others stay awake and make it happen.

21. There is no substitute for hard work. – Thomas Edison

22. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little “extra.”

23. You don’t always get what you wish for; you get what you work for.

24. It’s not about how bad you want it. It’s about how hard you’re willing to work for it.

25. The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. – Vidal Sassoon

26. There are no traffic jams on the extra mile. – Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar motivational quote

27. If people only knew how hard I’ve worked to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all. –  Michelangelo

Quotes about not making excuses

28. If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse . – Ryan Blair

Ryan Blair  motivational quote

29. Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Quotes about developing perseverance as a student

30. Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. – Joshua J. Marine

31. Life has two rules: 1) Never quit. 2) Always remember Rule #1.

32. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan

33. I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs, but how high he bounces when he hits the bottom. – George S. Patton

34. If you’re going through hell, keep going. – Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill motivational quote

35. Don’t let your victories go to your head, or your failures go to your heart.

36. Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. – Henry Ford

37. You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there. – Ed Cole

38. The difference between a stumbling block and a stepping-stone is how high you raise your foot.

39. The pain you feel today is the strength you will feel tomorrow. For every challenge encountered there is opportunity for growth.

40. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it.

Like the article? Please share it with your friends.

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October 5, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Hi Daniel, thanks for the inspirational quotes. I’m going to share it with my son.

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October 5, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Hi Roland, you are welcome. I hope your son likes them!

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November 13, 2018 at 11:32 pm

Thank you very much itwas very inspiring

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December 2, 2018 at 1:20 am

Hi Daniel….nice quotes…thanks so much

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July 20, 2020 at 1:29 pm

Nice one keep on

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July 23, 2020 at 8:23 pm

Wonderful n inspiring.

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October 14, 2020 at 6:17 am

Hi Daniel, I found these very useful. Great thanks.

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February 14, 2019 at 11:44 am

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February 25, 2019 at 2:53 am

help me its my board exams gonna start need real motivation tipssss I feel like m gonna fail even after studying

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August 8, 2019 at 10:42 pm

Sir Great Quotes.. IT WAS VERY beautiful………..going to inspiring me..

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January 8, 2020 at 4:17 pm

Thank you dear Daniel. Really I was going through a tough time in midst of my competitive exams. But these quotes really made me to feel motivated. Once again my heartfelt wishes for your work.

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January 23, 2020 at 6:37 pm

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March 11, 2020 at 6:43 am

Thank you for this it’s really helpful and aiding for me

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June 3, 2020 at 3:53 pm

Moltivating indeed Thanks for the exposure

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July 19, 2020 at 10:31 pm

Thank you so much I can finally stop dreaming about getting a scholarship abroad and actually work hard to get it

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September 21, 2020 at 4:46 pm

Hi Daniel, thank you so much for the quotes it really helps me as a student beginner I need inspirational quotes.

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February 9, 2021 at 1:32 am

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June 11, 2021 at 11:52 pm

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November 18, 2019 at 7:09 pm

Hiii Daniel thank you for the inspirational quotes. I love it so much. Can i have more inspirational quotes to read from you??☺️☺️. Thank you so much☺️☺️.

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October 22, 2021 at 5:39 pm

I’ve learnt more

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January 23, 2020 at 1:38 am

All quotes worth great. Good inspirational messages if someone make use of any quote.

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January 7, 2021 at 11:24 pm

Thank you so much..really feel motivated..thanks daniel

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October 5, 2015 at 3:58 pm

Indeed, very inspirational, Daniel

October 5, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Glad that you think so, Jeremy 🙂

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October 5, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Thank you Daniel. Funny … how we know and yet not till reminded again. Appreciate the very inspiring and helpful sharing. I’ll share it with my son and friends. God bless. Shalom!

October 5, 2015 at 4:50 pm

You’re welcome, Lynn. I hope that your son and friends like the quotes! God bless you too.

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October 5, 2015 at 4:57 pm

So inspirational, thanks!! ??

October 5, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Glad you like the quotes!

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October 5, 2015 at 8:55 pm

Thank you very much for the inspirational quotes. Will share them with my students.

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October 5, 2015 at 11:17 pm

Hi Helen, you’re welcome. I hope they find the quotes motivational!

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May 3, 2020 at 8:10 am

Mr. Daniel .Thank you so much for sharing these awesome quotes. These quotes are helping to inspire me even more. 👍👍👍

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October 6, 2015 at 1:28 pm

Thanks Daniel’ for the inspirational quotes. I will definetly share with my friends and Stephen my son.

October 6, 2015 at 2:39 pm

You’re welcome, Kevin!

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October 7, 2015 at 12:34 am

Thanks a lot, Daniel! This encouraged me to focus on becoming a better person and aiming for progress than perfection. Plus, it’s right on time for my multiple midterms this week!

October 7, 2015 at 9:00 am

That’s great to hear, David. All the best for your midterms!

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October 8, 2015 at 10:55 am

Thank you so much for sharing these powerful quotes. I can use these with my students.

October 8, 2015 at 11:38 am

You are most welcome. I hope they help your students!

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October 12, 2015 at 5:05 am

I still have 2 weeks preparation for the exam, but I gain more motivation from some quotes! Thanks for sharing this to me 🙂

October 12, 2015 at 8:32 am

All the best for your exams!

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October 18, 2018 at 9:36 pm

Fantastic quotes

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August 11, 2018 at 8:04 pm

Thanks Daniel Just what I needed Now I’m getting back into my study Cheers

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August 11, 2018 at 11:02 pm

Daniel, I thank you for being there when no one else is. You picked me up when I was down, you’re my hero greetings to the fam.

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August 14, 2018 at 1:32 pm

Thanks Daniel for the quotes. The are indeed worth practicing.

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August 15, 2018 at 7:12 am

Hey your words are really inspirational and i believe its gonna help me. Thank you Daniel for these words

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August 20, 2018 at 1:42 pm

Thank you for these great quotes. I am using them with my high school students daily in their journal writing.

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August 24, 2018 at 2:34 am

Thanks for the quotes………😃😃😃😃

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August 25, 2018 at 4:32 pm

It’s was..great..great..great quote for me..

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August 25, 2018 at 11:32 pm

Thanks sir nice quotes

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August 28, 2018 at 10:41 pm

Thank you so much I was so lazy and felt like 70 % is okay for everything but the quotes made me feel like I can reach 101%

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August 30, 2018 at 4:16 am

Thank you Daniel, I just shared this with my friends…

“I don’t regret the things I’ve done. I regret the things I didn’t do when I had the chance.”

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August 30, 2018 at 11:02 pm

Great quotes I will use these this school year

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September 1, 2018 at 1:23 pm

Great Work..

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September 12, 2018 at 7:56 pm

Thanks for sharing such impactful quotes. Students are future leaders and your quotes and helping them nurture this learning mindset. Let’s work together to help our future generation grow with inspiration, self directed learning and growth mindset.

I would definitely refer these quotes in my keynote on “Learning to Achieve our Dream”..

Thanks again.

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September 14, 2018 at 6:10 pm

It’s great work of yours…. You may not know but it really motivates us a lotttt!! Thanks for writing such!!

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September 17, 2018 at 11:17 pm

Thanks daniel for these motivational quotes

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September 22, 2018 at 2:54 am

hi thanks for the quotes

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September 24, 2018 at 9:51 am

Thank you so much Daniel I shared with my friends

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September 24, 2018 at 11:18 am

I am on the West Coast and my Son is a Freshman on the East Coast. I have been sending your quotes to motivate him while he studies. Thank you for beinging so many great ones together.

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October 1, 2018 at 12:33 am

hi daniel,thanks so much its all i need

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October 5, 2018 at 4:29 pm

Kudos,,,, Daniel this article has helped so much I’ll do the best I can to achieve my goals… 🚿 blessings to you

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October 8, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Thanks so much daniel for these motivational quotes i read you article and get more infomation about quotes

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October 26, 2018 at 6:13 pm

Thanks Daniel for these amazing Quotes,I’m sure this will help me get ready for my exams after 2 weeks

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October 29, 2018 at 5:41 am

Very nice article, really thanks!

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January 16, 2019 at 8:37 pm

I want to become a doctor so inspired me for hord work

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October 30, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Thank you for sharing these very inspiring and motivating quotes, some of these will be printed and hung on my printing shop walls for inspiration. God Bless you.

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November 1, 2018 at 2:57 am

Thanks Daniel! These really helped to get my head down and do some revising!

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November 1, 2018 at 3:39 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this. I love your posts and read it whenever I need a push.

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November 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

Thanks for the quotes.I will share it with my pupils.

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November 12, 2018 at 6:29 pm

woow,really it is highly motivational sayings

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November 12, 2018 at 7:23 pm

i really lost motivation past few days, and i didnt know how to get started. the motivation only works for minutes and then finished. hope this one works:)

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November 14, 2018 at 1:43 am

Love this I’ll share this with my classmates … Really nice quotes

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November 14, 2018 at 3:04 pm

such a inspirational quotes about studying

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November 17, 2018 at 2:13 am

Thanks, Daniel! You really inspired and empowered me!

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November 24, 2018 at 8:09 pm

Wow, Really inspirational.. Helped for self motivation.

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November 28, 2018 at 6:03 pm

Thank you sooo much Daniel…… i can study without any distractions…😊

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November 28, 2018 at 10:22 pm


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December 5, 2018 at 1:16 am

Too inspirational thoughts. Heart touching quotes..

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December 8, 2018 at 6:50 am

Very Inspiring Quotes. Keep the great work. Thank you.

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December 10, 2018 at 8:37 pm

you woke me up from the dead…thank you so much Daniel

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December 15, 2018 at 9:16 pm

Thanks for your inspiration it has really made me to be somebody today

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December 28, 2018 at 10:21 am

your quotes are really inspiring …. thank you soo much for this wonderful quotes …it almost changed my mindset towards many things

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January 5, 2019 at 12:20 am

Thanks a lot….it was really inspiring for me……….😊

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July 6, 2019 at 7:43 pm

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January 7, 2019 at 2:21 pm

i really inspired by your quotations. it changed my mindset . Thank you so much

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January 19, 2019 at 5:16 am

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January 22, 2019 at 10:28 pm

Great quotes Daniel. They inspired and motivate me a lot. Thanks for sharing.

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January 23, 2019 at 10:49 pm

Hello Daniel, Those are really helpful. Thank you!

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February 1, 2019 at 2:15 am

Thanks Daniel. To master a skill, you need 10,000 hours of continuous practice. I like the quote of Michael “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. “

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February 8, 2019 at 6:55 pm

Amazing motivational quotes. It will definitely motivates students. I have also seen quotes on beautyofsoul blogs. There motivational videos are also interesting.

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February 9, 2019 at 7:06 pm

hi Daniel I find these quotes very awful and of course awesome you are great and your quotes too

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February 11, 2019 at 11:15 pm

Gr8 job Daniel ur quotes collection is really inspiring me keep up the good work brother

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February 15, 2019 at 8:05 pm

Great comments, thanks

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February 18, 2019 at 10:32 pm

thanks alot. It inspires me

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March 7, 2019 at 1:58 am

Hi Daniel, thanks for these wonderful thoughts. I am a longtime reader of your blog and your articles have encouraged me enough in all these years.

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March 12, 2019 at 1:30 am

Thank you for sharing great quotes. The collection of your quotes really inspiring.

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March 15, 2019 at 9:44 pm

Thanks so much for these tips. I keep on reading them again and gain. I have shared them with my son and its improvement is noticeable. Thanks once more for taking your time to help parents. I admire your article. Lilian

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April 4, 2019 at 4:24 pm

it’s amazing Daniel it has all sorts of things which I required . Thanks……………

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April 14, 2019 at 3:52 am

Such are great thoughts. I liked a lot 🤩

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April 15, 2019 at 6:53 pm

OMG!! This was very motivational!! This is worth reading for everytime i loose hope for studying! We all have been inspired by this together with the friends i’ve shared it with on whatssap!

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May 3, 2019 at 3:21 am

Hi Daniel. You got a great deal there. Those quotes really inspired me to write more to my soon to be polished book. Thank you.

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May 9, 2019 at 8:01 pm

Nice Quotes!!!!

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May 16, 2019 at 8:29 pm

Virtually motivating and mind captivating,how i wish those concerned read this daily-“what you feed your eyes,mind with develops you and make you who you wanna be”

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June 9, 2019 at 6:37 am

Hi daniel, thanks for your inspirational quote. I will share it with my friends

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June 27, 2019 at 12:40 am

It helped me a lot for my studies

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June 28, 2019 at 11:39 am

Thanks Daniel, Its really inspiring. I’ll share with my friends.

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July 5, 2019 at 2:35 pm

Thanks for these great and inspirational thoughts of great minds. The positive thoughts of the great people not only motivates us to forward in life but they also shed light when we are in a state of gloom.

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July 6, 2019 at 9:12 pm

I really do find the Thomas Jefferson quote more interesting

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May 16, 2020 at 1:05 pm

It is soo amazing

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July 16, 2019 at 1:08 pm

It’s very nice and inspirational and I’m really glad to read it ,,its good

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July 19, 2019 at 9:32 pm

I always regret for not achieving this and that but through your motivational quotes I believe in myself no matter how things going

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July 20, 2019 at 2:01 pm

That’s good but not exactly what I was looking 🤔 anyways thank you so much 💙

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August 6, 2019 at 4:02 am

Thanks for these motivations

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August 9, 2019 at 4:53 pm

Thank you very much so inspiring quotes!

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August 19, 2019 at 12:29 am

Thanks Danny for your help

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August 22, 2019 at 3:33 pm

I get motivated from these types of post but after few hours same thing.i am not able to determined to do a thing, I always quit after some issues come.but i come here and get motivated.

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August 29, 2019 at 6:39 pm

I am a teacher .i will write your quotes in the blackboard everyday.

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September 2, 2019 at 7:31 pm

thank you so much💕 this is all I need. Good luck to me for tomorrow’s exam🙏🏻

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September 9, 2019 at 4:52 pm

Thanks for that inspirational quote, am loaded up with a lot of assignments and up coming examination. I don’t know where and how to start and somehow come to a point of giving up. however all this quote really evoke my feeling to continue without giving up.

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September 23, 2019 at 3:58 pm

I just love these quotes, so inspirational.Thanks Daniel for the quotes,they are a big deal

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October 6, 2019 at 12:29 pm

Waoh!. Daniel thank you so much for these motivational’s really helpful.. I must send them to my fellow students

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October 25, 2019 at 4:23 pm

Hey….ur quotes were thought provoking Thanks daniel

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October 29, 2019 at 6:59 pm

Very beautiful quotes for my learners. Thank you, much appreciated!

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November 16, 2019 at 9:32 am

Thank you sir.. For giving me… This type of motivation…

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November 20, 2019 at 10:04 pm

All the articles are very nice 👏 and it’s very powerful quotes for all learner’s Thank you so much for the beautiful quotes 😊☺

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November 27, 2019 at 6:29 pm

Hey Daniel ,am student ur quotes are really inspiring I pasted some of the most inspired quotes in my room it helped me never quit in life

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December 13, 2019 at 3:57 pm

‘If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.’

That got me. thanks danial 🙂 🙂

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December 31, 2019 at 2:57 pm

Thank you so much. it’s was all inspiring

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January 2, 2020 at 1:12 pm

Thank you so much for sharing these powerful quotes.

It helped me a lot

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January 18, 2020 at 10:44 pm

Thank you sir for such an motivational and inspirational quotes

May 16, 2020 at 1:35 pm

Haah what wounderful motivation

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January 22, 2020 at 10:44 pm

Thanks so much daniel for these motivational quotes i love you article. Thanks for sharing with us.

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January 23, 2020 at 6:31 pm

Thanks a lot for these amazing quotes

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February 14, 2020 at 4:25 pm

Hi, Daniel Ipressing is this one because it is so helpful to me& my sister thank u so much 🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗

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February 14, 2020 at 4:30 pm

How your mind Daniel? I really impressive such qoutes .. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you so much 😍

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March 3, 2020 at 1:12 pm

Excellent projection…. highly motivated..inspirational

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March 7, 2020 at 8:23 pm

Excellent I feel to much better after reading you’re quotes and I hope for the best of me and my efforts. . Thanks for inspiring me ……..

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April 26, 2020 at 1:14 pm

Glad I came across this. I have 2 kids at school going ages and this is very inspirational…

I’m going to print some of them for sure

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May 13, 2020 at 3:38 pm

Thank u .it’s really inspiring

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July 2, 2020 at 6:14 pm

thank for that my dear.

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July 10, 2020 at 10:19 am

Thank you, for the quotes …..very inspiring.

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August 10, 2020 at 2:48 pm

I just want to take this opportunity to thank you for your hard work in complying this educative and well motivated piece of inspiration note.

I had a presentation to do as to talk to some student who are taking their external exam, and this thing has helped me a lot in giving out my message. Once again thank you 🙌

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August 12, 2020 at 1:56 pm

Everything have its power such as these immortal words

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August 22, 2020 at 5:43 am

Thank you very. These are nice comments that have really motivated me in one way or the order.

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October 5, 2020 at 11:12 pm

Very nice and inspiring quotes…thanks for sharing…

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October 18, 2020 at 9:05 pm

I love all of the quotes

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December 22, 2020 at 1:46 pm

The quotes are very motivational and inspirational to readers like me. Thanks for sharing!

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January 22, 2021 at 5:17 am

Your words helped me a lot … something more than A LOT 😉 I couldn’t study, I couldn’t focus, but now I’m going to do MY BEST 🙂 thanks for cheering me up 😉

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March 12, 2021 at 6:01 am

Mr Daniel thank you so much for this motivation, it inspired me a lot. Please can I have more motivational quotes about studying when schools are closed.

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March 24, 2021 at 3:15 am

thanks Daniel you just woke me up from my sleep, now I know why I am in the world you will surely live long with more wisdom

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April 13, 2021 at 3:10 pm

i like the quote

April 23, 2021 at 3:29 am

Very nice and motivational quotes….

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April 26, 2021 at 5:58 pm

Wow.. Thank you for this Inspirational Quotes. God bless you Sir. 谢谢💖💖💖

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April 28, 2021 at 7:25 am

Nice quotes

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May 6, 2021 at 3:46 am

dude like thanks for the wise words of knowlege

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May 6, 2021 at 10:54 pm

Wow this is so inspiring. It makes me feel like never giving up that there is still a purpose for me in the future. Thank you

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September 25, 2022 at 4:36 pm

Thanks so much, is encouraging.

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December 22, 2022 at 12:11 am

Thank you for the best quotes! I am going to share them with my students! I hope they will really inspire them

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March 11, 2023 at 10:55 pm

It was really inspired me. Thank you so much

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September 16, 2023 at 8:12 pm

thank you that will be very help for me and many who are gonna read this

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Homework Motivation

Do your students have intrinsic homework motivation?  Or are you spending way too much time attempting to get their homework turned in on time and complete?

While there is much debate about whether homework is even beneficial, if you are required to assign it, I suggest encouraging parents to set up a designated spot for homework assignment work at home.  Keep reading for some tips to pass along.

Do your students have intrinsic homework motivation?  Or are you spending way too much time attempting to get their homework turned in on time and complete?

My own children are both two very different creatures.  My oldest daughter, who is now a college graduate, was always really good about being self-motivated to come home after school, sit down, and get her homework finished before she did anything else.  The only late nights spent studying were the ones where she had an after school extra curricular or a job which kept her from completing it earlier.

Somehow I lucked out in the high school teenager lottery for school motivation.

Now, let’s talk about the opposite end of the spectrum:  my 10-year son.  He comes home after school, tosses his backpack (filled with crumpled up papers that never made it into his folder), tosses his coat on the floor, and immediately grabs a snack.  If I’m not watching, he attempts to sneak upstairs and grab his video games.  This would continue until either the world actually freezes over or I have to be the bad mom who needs him to put them away until homework is finished.

When this happens, it would appear that the world has ended and I’m the meanest person in the world.

Can anyone else relate?  That is what happens to parents at home when their kids don’t have motivation to do school work once they come home from school.  {Is it summer break, yet?}

How do you get students motivated to do their homework?

While teachers have a toolbox for increasing school motivation during the school day, perhaps parents are able to help the process along at home too.

Having a dedicated homework station in the home is a good start.  Even if it’s not a desk or a separate room, children will be able to focus more, stop procrastinating as much, and get their homework done faster if they have a safe place with a specific purpose.

Options for homework completion locations:

  • At a dedicated desk just for the child – obvious, but not always available to most
  • Kitchen table – also obvious, but not as “exclusive” if there are tons of other distractions atop the table
  • An unused bunk bed – a “mini office” for completing the work
  • Secret homework tent under a table – I love this one!  Place sheets on top of the table to create a homework fort.  Child can use a chair as a makeshift desk
  • Cardboard box – No extra furniture?  No problem.  Find any box and have the student decorate it.  It can be a large refrigerator box that can be used as a separate homework office, or even a small box that can be flipped over to be used as a writing surface.

Things to have prepared in this spot:

  • Small snack prepped on the “desk”
  • Coffee mug filled with pencils, scissors, glue, pencil sharpener, or any other school supply the child typically uses for his or her assigned homework
  • A child friendly playlist ready to go if the child prefers to work with background noise – the best music to have is instrumental because students aren’t listening to the words ( Gary Lamb is perfect)
  • Inviting decor:  motivational posters, their favorite stuffed animal, fresh flowers, etc.

Routines to have set up:

When is the cue that it is time to start homework?  When the child walks through the door, after dinner, after chores, at a certain specific time of the day, etc.

When the cue begins, what does the child do first?  Eat a small snack in the homework location, take their folder out of their bookbag and get out the papers that need to be completed, make sure a pencil is sharpened, etc.

How will the child know when the homework session is complete?  Break down the papers into mini sessions, a visual timer that is set on a clock or microwave, when the worked has been looked over by a parent, work is complete/accurate/neat, etc.

The routine should be set up as a parent/child team together.  Give the student some say in this daily task and there will be less pullback.  Once the routine has been set and agreed upon, it is to be repeated exactly the same way day after day.  In the long run, it will become second nature for the student.

Find what works best for your child.  Any routine should be flexible to meet those needs otherwise you aren’t any better off than before.

One last tip :  Set goals and rewards for completing the routine.  At first, the the rewards will be given for completing the routine (or even one step of the routine) just once (today).  As time progresses, rewards will be given in wider intervals.  Eventually, rewards won’t need to be given as the behavior will be a new habit.

Motivational Quotes for Homework

Here are some great motivational quotes to share with kids as they are starting or ending their homework routine for the day.  All are from famous athletes or coaches:

-“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” – Tim Notke

-“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth

-“The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory.” – Les Brown

-“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” – Dean Karnazes

homework thoughts motivation

Would you like premade posters to inspire your students?

This pack of 25 colorful watercolor posters includes quotes from famous athletes.

Click HERE to grab them and save yourself time!

-“If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?” – Joe Namath

-“Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.” – Matt Biondi

-“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

-“Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.” – Lou Holtz

Do your students have intrinsic homework motivation?  Or are you spending way too much time attempting to get their homework turned in on time and complete?

-“It’s all about the journey, not the outcome.” – Carl Lewis

-“A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.” – Jack Dempsey

-“To give any less than your best is to sacrifice a gift.” – Steve Prefontaine

-“Make each day your masterpiece.” – John Wooden

Do your students have intrinsic homework motivation?  Or are you spending way too much time attempting to get their homework turned in on time and complete?

-“The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning.” – Pele

-“It’s not the will to win that matters — everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” – Paul “Bear” Bryant

-I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life a champion’. – Muhammad Ali

-“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

-“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Fred Devito

Do your students have intrinsic homework motivation?  Or are you spending way too much time attempting to get their homework turned in on time and complete?

-“Champions keep playing until they get it right.” – Billie Jean King

-“Victory is in having done your best. If you’ve done your best, you’ve won.” – Billy Bowerman

-“If you can’t outplay them, outwork them.” – Ben Hogan

-“There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either IN or you’re OUT. There is no such thing as life in-between.” – Pat Riley

-“You’re never a loser until you quit trying.” – Mike Ditka

Do your students have intrinsic homework motivation?  Or are you spending way too much time attempting to get their homework turned in on time and complete?

-“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi

-“The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” – Bobby Knight

-“There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” – Derek Jeter

How else can you help parents to overcome issues with student homework motivation?  We would love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!

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homework thoughts motivation

Homework Motivational: How to Motivate Yourself to Do Homework

  • By Emily Summers
  • October 15, 2019

Let’s face it: no one likes to do homework, it cuts into our time with family, friends, and relaxation, not to mention studies that show too much homework can actually be detrimental to learning . Never the less, the appropriate amount of homework has amazing benefits to the learning process of any student, and while it can be a little tedious, a little motivation can go a long way.

But how do you motivate yourself to do homework?

Finding the motivation to do homework is all about creating a balance between efficiency and consistency. On some days, all we need is a nudge to get started, while some days we need a mighty shove just to get up and open a book. Either way, creating a system that works for you, not to mention having the right mindset, can greatly motivate you to complete all your work.

Start with the Right Mindset

Listen to music, set goals and reward yourself, work hard, but not too hard, keep your eyes on your goals, but most importantly, don’t give up.

homework thoughts motivation

As with most things, having the right mindset helps you stay motivated, even if it means being motivated to do homework ! The right mindset includes staying away from negative thoughts like “I’m not really in the mood” or “this is too boring”. Yes, those thoughts might be true, but they’re not very helpful.

Instead, reframe that internal monologue into something more productive, like “I’m excited to do [insert activity here] after finishing my homework!” or “homework might be boring, but at least I’m learning something new!”

Remember: the learning process might not be fun now, but it will be in the future when you’re confronted with a situation that requires you to rely on stock knowledge, stock of which you build in your student years.

A great method to reframing your thought process into something more positive and productive is to stop seeing homework as a chore, but rather, as an activity that will help you achieve your future goals. Yes, it might seem mundane now, but always have your future in mind whenever you’re confronted with a challenge.

Most of the time, students don’t do their homework not because it’s too difficult, but because it’s tedious. So, think of it as that: a challenge that, while not always easy, is surmountable and will give you a sense of accomplishment. Once you get behind the idea that homework can give you that sense of pride and accomplishment, the ease of thinking positively increases incrementally. After all: achievement is an addicting feeling!

Never underestimate the power of music: studies show that listening to music while studying can increase productivity , focus, and give students a positive vibe that will help them finish their homework faster and better than without music.

Of course, it needs to be the right kind of music. There’s no one playlist that will magically make you a better student: music is one of the most subjective forms of art, so make a playlist that helps you relax and be calm. It doesn’t matter what genre it is, as long as lowers your stress levels and helps you concentrate on the task at hand.

When listening to music while studying, keep the volume low: this is because the music is there to soothe you and keep outside noise to a minimum; it’s not supposed to be distracting. With this in mind, try listening to instrumental music; the lack of lyrics in instrumental music helps you focus on your studies rather than in the words being sung. You can try listening to classical composers like Beethoven or Mozart, but jazz and guitar music wouldn’t hurt either!

homework thoughts motivation

Finishing your homework gives you a great sense of accomplishment and the best way to do that is by turning your homework into a series of goals for you to reach. Once you reach a certain goal, give yourself a little reward! This reward can be anything from your favorite snack, to a small amount of time playing a video game or just taking a walk outside.

Many students use the Pomodoro Technique : it’s a time management technique that helps you chunk up your task (in this case, homework) into smaller, more manageable tasks. This technique is used by companies, factories, and yes, even students, to maximize their work while remaining fresh, focused, and motivated. To do the Pomodoro Technique, break down your homework into smaller tasks that will take around 25 minutes per task. At the end of each 25 minute task, take a short break, around 3 to 5 minutes, and then resume your work.

Once you get used to the idea of your homework as small challenges that pay off big time, it’ll get easier and easier to finish them!

Homework teaches students how to work hard, even when it’s outside school. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to slave away for hours on end. Not only is this cruel, it’s also bad for your learning: researchers found that not only does motivation drop after only a couple of hours of uninterrupted, intense work. In fact, scientists from Hiroshima University found that, while it might differ slightly from person to person, the best way to work is by working or studying for 52 minutes and then taking a 17 minute break.

This helps your brain ‘reset’ and helps it not be bogged down by something monotonous. During your 17 minute break, it’s best to stretch your legs, take a walk, or just do anything that doesn’t involve thinking about your homework. By the time your 17 minutes is up, you’ll find that you’re rearing to get back to work!

Remember: these times might differ from person to person. Some people might still be refreshed and quick after 52 minutes, and some people might take more or less than a 17 minute break. Find what works best for you, and try to work this into your reward system.

homework thoughts motivation

Sometimes, the tediousness of doing homework comes from the fact that students forget why they’re doing it in the first place. So, always remember why you’re studying hard: maybe it’s to get the best grades to get you into your dream school, or maybe it’s to keep your grades up so you can continue playing in your varsity.

Whatever your goal, always keep that in mind when you feel your motivation dwindling down. In the grand scheme of things, your homework is a very small hurdle that pays off in dividends in the future. With that in mind, reframe the idea of homework as less of an activity and more of a requirement for you to get one step closer to your dreams. It might not seem like much, but enough baby steps can get you to where you want to be eventually!

Finding the motivation to do homework might not be easy, but it isn’t impossible. The most important part of finding motivation is having the right mindset not just about homework, but about studying in general.

It might not make sense now, but homework does have plenty of benefits: it helps you build a stronger knowledge base for the future, it helps you focus, and most importantly, it teaches you responsibility. Think of it this way: your teachers are entrusting you to get work done without their supervision. Take it as an opportunity not just to get correct answers, but as a way for you to build character and develop positive values that will help you become a better person.

And if you tried everything and still can’t find the motivation, don’t be afraid to seek help! Talk to your parents, guidance counselors, even your friends. Sometimes, all we need is a gentle nudge to get motivated!

About the Author

Emily summers.

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Jeffrey Bernstein Ph.D.

Ten Homework Motivation Strategies for Children and Teens

Use these 10 strategies to end the homework wars..

Posted September 6, 2015 | Reviewed by Ekua Hagan

When it comes to homework, parents get burnt out hearing these hollow and suspicious words: "I did it at school," "They didn't give homework today," "It hardly counts for my grade," "My teacher never looks at my homework anyway," "That assignment was optional." As parents, hearing these words is enough to drive you crazy.

As I write in my book, 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child , parents must not let their emotions get the best of them when their kids are not getting homework done. The strategies below are for helping your child or teen get unstuck:

  • Nix the nagging! Pestering creates an adversarial, shaming dynamic that backfires. Instead, try my Calm, Firm, and Non-Controlling approach. Gently empower your child or teen by supportively saying, "I see that you are frustrated. Let's think of ways to help you get back on track with your homework/schoolwork."
  • Encourage effort over perfection. Be mindful that kids tend to get intimidated when they have a hard time understanding material. They may get into negative self-talk like, "I can't do this." Even if they're truly thinking this way, parents may instead hear comments like, "I hate this." or "This is stupid." Remind your child or teen that doing his best effort is better than not doing it at all.
  • Prioritize. Coach and encourage that the order that homework is done based on urgency, complexity, and workload. At the same time, realize that some students do better by starting with easier tasks and that this can help spark them to tackle more demanding assignments.
  • Break it down. Reinforce breaking up homework time into manageable chunks and encourage taking regular breaks. Encourage moving around and walking away for a bit. Remind that an apple really does provide the same effect, and is healthier than an energy drink.
  • Think "15 minutes of pain." Have the student set a timer for only 15 minutes. Keep it lighthearted and explain that even if it "hurts" doing the work, she can stop after 15 minutes. Like most things in life, once we push ourselves and get going, it's not so bad.
  • Don't be consequence ravenous. Imposing consequences for homework not being done can backfire with defiant behavior. If you use consequences, don't present them with yelling. Keep them reasonable and ask the student to help you be able to move towards rewards (don't go overboard) and minimize consequences. Remember that real, natural consequences are the best motivators.
  • Encourage connection. Encourage the student to make or re-establish a connection with his teacher. I have seen hundreds of kids "shoot themselves in the foot" with incomplete homework if they don't have a decent relationship with their teacher.
  • Change up the homework/study surroundings. Try putting an inspirational poster by the desk, moving to a different room, or silencing the cell phone. New changes can create more changes.
  • Use those study halls. Encourage the use of them as much as possible. Some kids lose sight of that more done at school, means less to do at home.
  • Allow for some fun. Notice if your student is racing through the homework just to have fun. Fun time like, TV, phone time, or surfing the web, is welcome, but make sure you put limits on it.

Jeffrey Bernstein Ph.D.

Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D. , is a psychologist and the author of seven books, including 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child.

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17 Motivation Worksheets, Exercises & Activities (+ PDF)

motivation tools

All the same, it’s good to have a few tricks up our sleeve, whether trying to motivate ourselves or someone on our team, classroom, or at home.

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

This article is a form of motivation toolbox that contains several motivational activities and worksheets as well as suggestions (new and old) for how to intervene in our motivational states.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Goal Achievement Exercises for free . These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients create actionable goals and master techniques to create lasting behavior change.

This Article Contains:

Motivation worksheets, motivational activities, motivation board, motivation and meditation, motivation courses, motivational quotes, motivation resources, a take-home message.

In our search for the just-right recipe for motivation, we need to understand first what motivates us. We begin with awareness building tools in the form of questionnaires.

The first worksheet will help us assess the satisfaction of basic psychological needs. Then we will move to the exploration of our mechanisms that support or thwart motivation. We will explore our self-esteem and take an inventory of our curiosity before we dive into what else might get in the way and cause us to procrastinate.

Once equipped with a good map of our current motivational needs, we move on to interventions that help alter our emotional states toward the positive and bring on a sense of wellbeing, which can be used to increase our motivation toward goal pursuit.

Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction in General (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Gagné, 2003)

According to the self-determination theory, the needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness must be continually satisfied for people to develop and function in healthy and optimal ways (Deci & Ryan, 2000).

Please read each of the following items carefully, thinking about how it relates to your life, and then indicate how true it is for you. Use the following 7-point scale to respond, with the values 2 or 3 and 5 or 6 graded responses.

  • 1 – Not true at all
  • 4 – Somewhat true
  • 7 – Very true

Scoring information: Form three subscale scores, one for the degree to which the person experiences satisfaction of each of the three needs. To do that, you must first reverse score all items that are worded in a negative way shown below with (R) following the items numbers.

To reverse score an item, simply subtract the item response from 8. Thus, for example, a two would be converted to a 6. Once you have reverse scored the items, average the items on the relevant subscale:

Autonomy: 1, 4(R), 8, 11(R), 14, 17, 20(R) Competence: 3(R), 5, 10, 13, 15(R), 19(R) Relatedness: 2, 6, 7(R), 9, 12, 16(R), 18(R), 21

The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965)

The scale is a ten-item Likert scale with items answered on a four-point scale – from strongly agree to strongly disagree.

Instructions: Below is a list of statements dealing with your general feelings about yourself. If you strongly agree, circle SA. If you agree with the statement, circle A. If you disagree, circle D. If you strongly disagree, circle SD.

Scoring: SA=3, A=2, D=1, SD=0. Items with an asterisk are reverse scored, that is, SA=0, A=1, D=2, SD=3. Sum the scores for the ten items. The higher the score, the higher the self-esteem. We also discuss the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale with questionnaires in detail in our blog.

Curiosity Inventory

Curiosity has been positively linked to intrinsic motivation and is considered by some a vital psychological mechanism for achieving more of it. Trait curiosity and exploration inventory designed by Kashdan to measure our inclination to inherently rewarding pursuits. Curiosity has been linked to many health and social benefits (2009).

Rate the following statements on how they describe how you generally feel. Score each response as follows:

  • Extremely characteristic
  • Moderately characteristic
  • Moderately uncharacteristic
  • Extremely uncharacteristic

Procrastination Scale (Lay, 1986)

Students may use the following statements to describe themselves. For each statement, decide whether the statement is uncharacteristic or characteristic of you using the following 5-point scale.

Note that the three on the scale is Neutral – the statement is neither characteristic nor uncharacteristic of you. To the right of each statement, write the number on the 5-point scale that best describes you.

Note: Reversed-keyed items: 3,4,6,8,11,13,14,15,18,20

Changes in emotion and perceptions of wellbeing can be used as feedback in the effort to motivate others in productive ways. Several subjective experiences of wellbeing can be achieved through practicing gratitude, cultivation of hope through visualization, or through learning to exercise one’s strengths. These, in turn, can be used to support increased motivation and produce a gradual change in behavior.

Here are some examples of worksheets used by Robert Biswas-Diener as tools for increasing positive emotions and cognitions from his manual for coaching positive psychology. These are prime examples of intervention that alter emotional states toward the positive or re-frame our way of thinking toward the more optimistic end of the spectrum.

Happiness is liquid

Happiness is liquid, in the same way, that monetary instruments such as stocks are liquid. Humans are built with emotional systems that include the capacity for happiness. It is a type of emotional currency that can be spent, like money, on the outcomes in life we truly value, such as our health, our relationships, and success at work.

One way to appreciate the existing wealth we all possess is to notice and magnify moments when we either receive from or give kindness to others.

Reflect on the following questions:

  • Who acknowledged you today?
  • How did it feel when you were acknowledged? Try visualizing that moment.
  • What else would you like to be acknowledged for?
  • Who had a hand in the day’s greatest successes?
  • Who rose to the occasion?
  • Who took initiative?
  • Who offered support?
  • How were these people acknowledged?
  • How does it make you feel when you think of these things?
  • What does it make you feel like doing?

Coaching Questions for the Ideal Self

Reflect on the image of your ideal self by answering the following questions. This can be done in the form of powerful open-ended questioning during a coaching session or assigned as a writing exercise.

  • How well articulated is the ideal self?
  • How important is it to you to achieve the ideal self?
  • When are you planning to make the changes associated with achieving the ideal self?
  • What resources and opportunities do you have that will help you work toward your ideal self?
  • What hurdles do you anticipate? How can these be part of the growth process?
  • What factors inform your vision of your ideal self?
  • How internal (as opposed to external) are the values that inform your ideal self?
  • What person, living or dead, is similar to your ideal self?
  • Name a single, small behavior you can change as the first step toward your ideal self.
  • How can you chart your progress toward your ideal self?

Creating an ideal self-imagine in the future

It may be the near future or several years from now. Imagine this is a future in which you have gotten many of the things you want from life and accomplished many of the things to which you aspire.

Take a couple of minutes to picture what you are like and what your life is like. Imagine where you would be living, where you would be working. Imagine what your commute is like, your health is like, your friendships are like. Imagine the skills you have and the opportunities you have for growth.

Picture the types of decisions you have made and the goals you have achieved.

This can be done in the form of powerful open-ended questioning during a coaching session or assigned as a writing exercise.

  • Describe where would you be living.
  • What is it you value in living arrangements and circumstances that you would like to achieve?
  • To what extent is this vision of your future living arrangements internal versus the product of some external factor or someone else’s values?
  • Describe your work life: your commute, your office, your position, the type of work you would do.
  • What is it you value in work that you would like to achieve in this ideal future?
  • To what extent is this vision of your future work the product of internal versus the product of some external factor or someone else’s values?

Now that the client has a vision of a desired future, we can help him or her move toward goal setting.

Setting SMART+R Goals

Setting SMART+R Goals offers a different take on SMART goals that assigns more importance to indicators of making progress and measuring progress against specific targets.

This flow also incorporates room for scheduled rewards, to encourage positive reinforcement when a target is reached.

Another way to track progress would be to use technology. Feedback tracking technologies have been designed to help address progress feedback.

The pursuit of quantifiable objectives often guides our lives. When something gets in the way of sustaining the motivation necessary for achieving those goals, we can use self-tracking technologies to motivate ourselves and others.

Goal progress feedback with valences and visualization features can influences commitment and persistence across a broad range of domains, including physical tasks and purchasing behaviors, according to recent data from social and consumer psychology research.

Here is a quick list of what’s out there:

  • Habit Tracker
  • GoalsOnTrack
  • Way Of Life

Building New Habits

Implementation Intentions, also known as ‘ If, then ‘ plans can be very helpful in planning for all the eventualities when something gets in the way of achieving our goals. Normally we would brainstorm ahead of time to have a back-up plan for when known detractors get in the way of getting things done.

We suggest that occasionally, we introduce a reward into this plan of action to even further motivate persistence on goal. This Building New Habits exercise helps you do this by working through the three steps of The Habit Loop: cue, behavior , and reward .

Goal setting motivation

One model of goal setting conversation is the Auerbach GOOD coaching model (2015). It can be used for structuring coaching sessions in a way that progresses from goal setting and exploring options to action planning and accountability.

Auerbach GOOD coaching model:

Goals – define the most important goals a client wants to work toward

Options – explore option is available to help them move forward

Obstacles – name obstacles that might get in the way of progress

Do – specify what is the client going to do specifically and by when

To expand on these steps of the GOOD model, here are questions you can ask at each stage and all while practicing empathy, active listening, and providing support.

Goal phase:

  • What is a goal you want to focus on?
  • When you are successful with this goal, what will it look like?
  • What makes this goal important to you?
  • How does this goal fit into your vision?
  • When you reach your desired outcome, how would you like to feel?
  • What type of change would make your life even better?

Options phase:

  • What is some way your goal could be accomplished?
  • Tell me about a time you accomplished something similar?
  • What ways have you seen others approach such a task?
  • What action can you take to achieve your goal?
  • If you choose not to take some of the actions, what will be the impact?

Obstacles phase:

  • What could get in the way of you moving forward with pursuing your goal?
  • What external challenges might interfere?
  • What internal challenges might get in the way?
  • Who can you get support from?
  • What strategies are you willing to employ to reach your objective?
  • What specifically are you going to do, and when?
  • How will you know you’re making progress?
  • What is the most immediate action you can take, and when?
  • How long will it take, and when will you complete it?

Work-style scale questionnaire

Designed to distinguish four distinct types of motivational approaches to work: procrastinators, incubators, planners, and triflers (Biswas-Diener, 2010).

4= perfectly describes me 3= describes me somewhat 2= does not describe me 1= does not describe me at all

A= I always get my work completed on time B= The quality of my work is superior C= It takes a looming deadline to motivate me D= I do my best work under pressure E= I like to get started on the project right away

Use the following description to score the work-style questionnaire by looking for the following constellations of high scores:

Planners: are self-motivated, strategize their work, and tend to start right away even on the long-term project. Planners generally score high on items A, B, and E.

Incubators: thrive on deadlines, put off work till the last minute but always complete work on time, and produce high quality. Incubators generally score high on items A, B, C, and D.

Triflers: start work early but get distracted and lose interest easily. Triflers generally score high on item E and low on items A and B.

Procrastinators: put off work till the last minute and often hand in mediocre work. Procrastinators generally score high on items C and D and low on items A and B.

FLOW questionnaire

Intrinsically motivating activities can be identified through the experience sampling method originally used by Csikszentmihalyi to identify the states of flow (1990). The below questionnaire can help clients understand how they allocate attention throughout the day and if they spend a lot of time investing their energy effectively.

This should be done over at least a week but preferably two. Ask the client to set their phone to prompt him or her during the day at random times to notice what they are doing and jot down the answers to the following questions:

  • At this moment, what are you doing, and who are you with?
  • How satisfied are you on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • No skills needed
  • Some skills required
  • A moderate amount of skills used
  • Had to stretch to do this activity
  • Doing this because you have nothing else to do
  • Doing this because I am told to
  • Doing this because I have to
  • Doing this because I want to
  • How challenged are you by the activity on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • How much are you concentrating on a scale of 1 to 10?

A  recent study where subjects were asked to deliberately not engage in intrinsically motivating activities showed a decrease in the sense of wellbeing in just two days (Pink, 2009).

Path that’s right for me

Using strengths, according to Govinji and Linley leads to wellbeing and vitality and promotes self-efficacy and believing that you can accomplish your goals (2007). Here is a questionnaire their study was based on, followed by reflection questions about using strengths in a new way which often leads to better progress toward goals:

  • I am regularly able to do what I do best
  • I always play to my strengths
  • I always try to use my strengths
  • I achieve what I want by using my strengths
  • I use my strengths every day
  • I use my strengths to get what I want every day
  • My work gives me a lot of opportunities to use my strengths
  • My life presents me with a lot way to use my strengths
  • Using my strengths comes naturally to me
  • I find it easy to use my strengths in the things I do
  • I am able to use my strengths in a lot of different situations
  • Most of my time is spent doing things I am good at doing
  • Using my strengths is something I am familiar with
  • I am able to use my strength in a lot of different ways

Here are questions that can be used for reflecting on leveraging strengths toward goal pursuit:

  • What are some new ways in which you can use strengths?
  • What strengths are you using today?
  • How can you spend more time this week doing things that you are good at?
  • How can you use your strengths this week to achieve your goal?

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)

Neuro linguistic programming techniques you can use instantly.

Although the methods themselves have not been scientifically tested, some of the techniques used by the neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) have shown to be effective in increasing positive emotional states and can be linked to well-known psychological phenomena.

NLP has been used to increase self-awareness and to help spot negative patterns, thoughts, and assumptions that may be worth replacing. We discuss two commonly used NLP methods below; first to alter emotional states toward the positive in the moment, and the second to combat thoughts that trigger anxiety by visualizing alternative responses.

Anchoring technique is based on the psychological concepts of operant conditioning, where a stimulus triggers specific responses that were conditioned through repetition. The goal of the practice is to learn to elicit positive emotional responses at will so one can use them as needed. Anchoring is intended to improve our ability to control emotions and allows us to take an active role in self-regulation.

How to use the anchoring technique:

  • Bring to mind a memory of the time you felt really good where you experienced intense positive feelings you want to trigger in other situations (e.g., feeling achievement the moment you got a promotion).
  • Try to remember details of what you saw, felt, smelt, and heard to bring in sensory cues associated with that memory and to intensify it to be as vivid as possible.
  • At this point, associate your feelings to an anchor, which could be a gesture of any kind like twisting a ring on your finger or pinching your earlobe, for example.
  • Take a short break and repeat the steps above.
  • Test the anchor by performing the action and observe if it elicits the positive feelings.
  • You can then use this method whenever you need an emotional pick-me-up.

The Swish Method attempts to identify mental and emotional triggers of negativity and replace them with a typical response.

In this technique, you don’t have to take any action but become aware of the alternatives available to you in terms of how you respond to negative thoughts and emotions.

Driven by the principle that seeing is believing, the Swish Method is a visualization technique based on the assumption that our mind often does not differentiate between real and visualized events, as they both activate the same parts of the brain.

How to put the Swish Method into action:

  • Identify a thought and the associated feelings that usually trigger anxiety for you. You’re about to deliver a speech and feel nervous and uneasy.
  • Notice how your mind and body react. This can be a sensation of butterflies in your stomach or brain fog.
  • Bring to mind a visual image of the context in which this happens. This could be as you walk into the room or get up to the podium.
  • Think about how you would ideally like to respond as you physically enter the context in which the negative thoughts take place. You may choose to be calm, confident, well-prepared, optimistic, etc.
  • This will become your replacement thought. In your mind, visualize the negative state and figuratively place the replacement thought over it, make sure it appears bigger, stronger, and more vibrant while making the negative emotion appear in black and white or blurry.
  • You will need to practice the Swish Method a few times to ensure the replacement thought becomes the default response. Do it at least five times and speed up the visualization with each round. To check for effectiveness, evoke the trigger thought/feeling and its context, and see how you feel about it.

Oblique Strategies

Oblique Strategies

Oblique Strategies (subtitled Over One Hundred Worthwhile Dilemmas) is a card-based method for promoting creativity designed by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt, first published in 1975.

Here are examples of these statements:

  • Don’t be afraid of things because they’re easy to do.
  • Honor thy error as a hidden intention.
  • Turn it upside down.
  • Go slowly all the way round the outside.
  • Make a sudden, destructive unpredictable action; incorporate.
  • What is the reality of the situation?
  • Look closely at the most embarrassing details and amplify them.
  • You can only make one dot at a time.
  • Are there sections? Consider transitions.
  • Infinitesimal gradations.
  • Ask your body.
  • Look at the order in which you do things.
  • What are you really thinking about just now? Incorporate.
  • Use unqualified people.
  • Disconnect from desire.
  • Into the impossible.
  • Work at a different speed.
  • Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them.
  • Make an exhaustive list of everything you might do and do the last thing on the list.
  • Do nothing for as long as possible.
  • Humanize something free of error.
  • Define an area as ‘safe’ and use it as an anchor.
  • Emphasize repetitions.
  • Take away the elements in order of apparent non-importance.
  • Ask people to work against their better judgment.
  • Listen to the quiet voice.
  • Trust in the you of now.
  • Abandon normal instruments.
  • Repetition is a form of change.
  • Make a blank valuable by putting it in an exquisite frame.
  • The inconsistency principle.
  • Not building a wall but making a brick.
  • Faced with a choice, do both.
  • Be less critical more often.

Motivation Board

Some call it a vision board, and it is basically a visual incentive that can help you find excitement and enthusiasm through pictures of what you want, making it harder to ignore than words. It should be placed somewhere where you can see it every day because out of sight is out of mind.

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Practicing meditation can help increase and sustain motivation toward goal pursuit. Meditation helps with concentration and allows us to stay focused for longer. Meditation also reduces stress as it promotes relaxation. Meditation improves cognition and increases the ability to perform tasks that requires focus. Meditation allows us to become more aware of our emotions.

Meditation, when practiced for as little as 10 minutes per day, can help clear the mental clutter that distracts us from our goal, not to mention decrease anxiety and improve our cardiovascular health.

There are many guided meditations that target specific outcomes: learning relaxation, practicing focus and concentration, reducing stress, rumination, anxiety, and chronic pain, cultivating self-awareness and body awareness as well as insight meditation for practicing acceptance.

Many can be downloaded as an app or found on websites, meditative music playlists, podcasts , videos, blogs, and for those who are so inclined, nature is always a great option. There are courses and classes on meditation, both online and in-person, offered through local providers and even employers.

Ironically enough, many complain about not being able to find the motivation to meditate as there are some preconceived notions about the amount of effort required. It is often best to start small with something readily available, perhaps as a replacement of something that may not be the best use of our time, like browsing the social media while waiting for the next appointment.

Motivational Questions

Motivational Questions

They are always open-ended and often thought-provoking.

They are a well-known tool for any coach and, when expertly used, can be quite effective as a motivational technique at any point and in most situations.

It is a skill that requires some practice; however, empowering questions is rarely something we learn at home or school.

  • What value does this goal represent to you?
  • How will you celebrate your victory?
  • How would that contribute to the world?
  • What about this goal demonstrates what you stand for?
  • What keeps you going?
  • What really excites you about that?
  • What about this goal fits into your purpose?
  • What part of this relates to your dreams?
  • If you had all the time, energy and money to achieve your goals, what would you do?
  • Why is that important to you?
  • What do you want to experience?
  • What works well?
  • What’s another way to look at that?
  • How can you reframe that to help you move on?
  • How will you demonstrate motivation and perseverance?

Many coaching programs offer mastery courses, and it is often a part of the curriculum to teach self-mastery to coaches who impart their knowledge to their clients. Courses on motivation are also offered as online courses through:

  • Skillashare

And if you’re overwhelmed with choices offered through these platforms, you can go to Class Central website to see a complete list of MOOC courses.

You can also enroll in a personal mastery program, and some of the well-known institutions that offer those are:

  • Sounds true
  • The Rao Institute

There are also several Mastery Programs for teens. Those are most effective as in-person after school or summer camp type programs that allow the teens to develop self-mastery through activities that:

  • Give Responsible Tasks
  • Work in Groups
  • Positive Competition
  • Evaluation Programs
  • Switch Roles
  • Field Trips

Finally, there are many ways to hold Team building activities for employees. From local providers to HR or employee organized events, at the office or off-site, team building has been used to bond, promote collaboration, and spread fun through the office.

Some companies like Atlassian take team building to the next level. They use innovation fairs where teams go offsite and am given all the beer and chocolate cake they can handle, as long as they originate, develop, and deliver new products, new services, or business process improvements overnight.

Men’s best successes come after their disappointments.

Henry Ward Beecher

Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.

William B. Sprague

Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.

Stephen R. Covey

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

Albert Schweitzer

Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.

Napoleon Hill

You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can’t have it.

Robert Anthony

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

Albert Einstein

When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.

Eric Thomas

A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.

Vince Lombardi

The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.

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17 Tools To Increase Motivation and Goal Achievement

These 17 Motivation & Goal Achievement Exercises [PDF] contain all you need to help others set meaningful goals, increase self-drive, and experience greater accomplishment and life satisfaction.

Created by Experts. 100% Science-based.

Our suggestion for creating a toolbox of motivational resources would be to take the time to try out a few motivational strategies and choose a few that can be used in the moment as well as some that are more appropriate for long term goal setting, as well as cultivating motivational muscle and investing in the future ability to find motivation at will.

In the moment strategies could include:

  • Affirmations

Long term motivation

  • Ideal future-self visualization
  • Explore strengths and use them in novel ways
  • Find moments of flow through ESM method to get straight to intrinsic motivation

Investment in the future of growing the motivational muscle:

  • Assess the satisfaction of psychological needs
  • Hire a coach
  • Take a motivational course or mastery modeling program

While the suggestions for how to get motivated abound, the actual value of motivational tools comes from learning to use them and use them well.

I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.

Abraham Maslow

The law of the instrument, otherwise known as Maslow’s hammer, remind us that we have a cognitive bias to over-rely on a familiar tool.

If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others reach their goals, this collection contains 17 validated motivation & goals-achievement tools for practitioners. Use them to help others turn their dreams into reality by applying the latest science-based behavioral change techniques.

The irony in writing this article was trying to find the motivation to do it. Because having learned a lot about it was a small part of the process. We all know how to live our lives well, yet few of us can bring ourselves to do it. Although it is important to understand what motivation is, ultimately, it is much more important to experience what motivation does.

Do you have a favorite motivational strategy or technique? Please share it with us here.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Goal Achievement Exercises for free .

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  • Biswas-Diener, R. (2016, September). Role of emotions in coaching. Paper presented at the ICF Advance: Science of Coaching conference, Phoenix, AZ.
  • Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1990). Origins and functions of positive and negative affect: a control-process view. Psychological Review, 97(1), 19-35
  • Crandal, R. (1973). The measurement of self-esteem and related constructs, Pp. 80-82 in J.P. Robinson & P.R. Shaver (Eds), Measures of social psychological attitudes. Revised edition. Ann Arbor: ISR. Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Wylie, R. C. (1974). The self-concept. Revised edition. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behav i or. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227-268 .
  • Deci, E. L., Ryan, R. M., Gagné, M., Leone, D. R., Usunov, J., & Kornazheva, B. P. (2001). Need satisfaction, motivation, and well-being in the work organizations of a former Eastern Bloc country. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, in press.
  • Gagné, M. (2003). The role of autonomy support and autonomy orientation in prosocial behavior engagement. Motivation and Emotion, 27, 199-223 .
  • Ilardi, B. C., Leone, D., Kasser, R., & Ryan, R. M. (1993). Employee and supervisor ratings of motivation: Main effects and discrepancies associated with job satisfaction and adjustment in a factory setting. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 23, 1789-1805 .
  • Kasser, T., Davey, J., & Ryan, R. M. (1992). Motivation, dependability, and employee supervisor discrepancies in psychiatric vocational rehabilitation settings. Rehabilitation Psychology, 37, 175-187 .
  • Lay, C. (1986). At last, my research article on procrastination. Journal of Research in Personality, 20, 474-495 .
  • Locke, E., & Latham, G. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey. American Psychologist, 57(9), 705-717 .
  • Thogersen-Ntoumani, C., Ntoumanis, N., Cumming, J., & Chatzisarantis, N. L. D. (2011). When feeling attractive matters too much to women: A process underpinning the relation between psychological need satisfaction and unhealthy weight control behaviors. Motivation and Emotion, 35, 413–422 .

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Angela Bordio

I love it! I motivate myself when I organize things. I cannot live without a to-do-list, like Bordio for example. It changed my perspective on motivation.

riyadh alsaleh

A very nice different and varied work sheets about problem -solving skills this. I appreciate this. thanks a lot.

thank you for motivational activities articles and motivational worksheet. I feel happy to study about these .your tasks appreciated.


Thank you Ms. Souders for this informative article. It has set me to explore new areas that I did not know earlier . The quotes are insightful. The ones that inspired me the most are: Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.-Tim Notke Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.-William B. Sprague

Emna Lahbib

You motivated me to start Positive Psychology classes 🙂 , thanks a lot for your sincerity and efforts.

selo Ntsheuwa Bernice

What a insightful reading especially at the begging of the year as the Student counselor . i will have a great guide how to motivate them

Nikki Burrows

Thankyou, what a thorough, insightful read. It is so useful to me, Thankyou, much appreciated!

Pansy Lindo-Moulds

Thank you for this thorough, comprehensive, easy to read exposition. I appreciate your generosity in sharing the tools, worksheets, and activities, and thus aiding us to be proponents of positive psychology.

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3 Goal Achievement Exercises Pack

Healing Collective Therapy Logo

  • Jan 30, 2023
  • 26 min read

19 Tips to Motivate Clients With Therapy Homework- (Infographic)

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

Our team reached out to a group of therapists to find out what tips they had to offer on how to get clients to do their therapy homework. The infographic below is a collection summary of the quotes we received from 19 therapists.

While many of the interventions are known among professionals, each participant offers unique insight while answering the same question. The sessions that each therapist has with their clients are fantastic opportunities for discovery and figuring things out. The truth is that much of the learning and growth often come from the application of what has been discovered and figured out. In other words, you never get the full value of your in-person sessions without doing the homework!

Here are what our contributors recommended (you can find the full transcript and a link to the official article down below).

tips on how to motivate clients to do their therapy homework

19 Therapists Weigh in On How to Motivate Clients Who Don’t Do Their Therapy Homework

Therapy sessions bring people to many new realizations. However, real learning takes place when a client attempts to apply these new ways of thinking and acting to their everyday life and to the goals they wish to accomplish. A big part of the process is the homework or exercises a therapist assigns to a client. If a client doesn’t do their homework, does this make the therapist's job much harder?

Below you will find the testimony of 19 different therapists that are weighing in on this very real and common occurrence. Each therapist gives their two cents on whether this issue is counter-productive, ways to get around, and more importantly ways to motivate their clients!

Tina Marie Del Rosario, LCSW, MSW, Adjunct Professor @ Pepperdine University

Owner of Healing Collective Therapy Group

A common theme I see in people who lack motivation is the absence of self-compassion. Clients who show up faithfully are clearly displaying a form of motivation. But when it comes to doing the work, there are clients who meet resistance and acts of avoidance. .

What interventions have you found to be helpful in motivating clients?

I find that starting with a psychodynamic approach is necessary. Exploring what is coming up for the client when resistance and avoidance are present is often helpful. The thoughts, attitudes and emotions attached to these feelings have come from some past experience.

Identifying where it is coming from can help the client process said past experience(s) and recognize the lack of relevance it has to present day. More often than not, self-critical narratives are attached to the feelings of resistance.

These criticisms evoke both somatic symptoms and self-protection motivations that lead to avoidance. Becoming aware of what is coming up and how it is showing up is necessary to combat lack of motivation. Once identified, we can then work together to process it all and begin to change the narrative.

When clients realize their lack of motivation is not coming from “laziness” or “a character flaw,” they then can begin to remove the self-critical narratives and replace them with self-compassion.

With this new internal dynamic and the absence of self-criticism, clients find it easier to begin to motivate themselves to do the work.

Ellie Borden, BA, RP, PCC

Registered Psychotherapist, Clinical Director and Clinical Supervisor.

Resistance can be a common part of any change process. Some people struggling with different challenges may appear not to want to change. Even those clients who attend therapy loyally and recognize the need for change in their lives may fail to complete their homework or take the necessary steps outside therapy to modify their behavior.

This is a powerful moment in therapy and can give a therapist the insight necessary to recognize the deeper issues affecting someone's motivation to take the necessary steps toward the change they seek. Often, recognizing avoidant patterns or behavior is an opportunity to identify unresolved matters and the core elements that require healing.

Moreover, a therapist can help an individual reformat their why for change. It is important that someone's why is emotionally driven and leads to effortless motivation. The responsibility for change is the client's alone. However, a trained professional can give someone the objective perspective needed to get them moving in the right direction.

While a therapist can help a client become more motivated to change, ultimately, the onus is on the client to change. With that in mind, there are specific methods that therapists can use with clients to properly motivate them to make the needed changes in their lives.

One of the most widely used interventions for motivating clients is motivational interviewing. The goal of motivational interviewing is to help clients increase their intrinsic desire to change and achieve their goals in therapy. One of the techniques in motivational interviewing is bolstering the client's sense of self-efficacy by helping them recall examples of overcoming challenges in the past. This can allow the client to see that change is achievable and that the situation may not be as hopeless as they think. Developing discrepancies is another technique in motivational interviewing.

This involves a therapist helping the client voice their thoughts, feelings, and conflicts to call attention to the discrepancy between how the client is behaving and how they would like to behave. Motivational interviewing is a great way to help clients recognize their inner strengths and develop the desire to change.

There are many reasons why a client may resist taking the proper action discussed in therapy. One is fear of failure. Some clients, particularly those who are clinically depressed, do not have much faith in themselves or their ability to succeed. Even the slightest real or perceived setback can cause them to catastrophize or engage in negative self-talk such as I am so stupid or I am a failure who can never do anything right. With such a mindset, it is no wonder many clients are unwilling to attempt the steps required for positive change, even if they may truly desire to change. This is one reason why strengthening a client's self-efficacy is crucial.

Another cause of a client's resistance to change is a lack of clear goals. Some clients may struggle to articulate a vision of what desired change looks like, even if they sense that something has gone wrong. Helping the client develop a clear and realistic plan for change can give them additional motivation for following through with the often difficult and confusing work of pursuing meaningful changes in their lives.

Sarah F. O'Brien, LCSW, LLC

Thrive & Shine Counseling

Without fail, as a therapist I will point out the discrepancy-mentioning to them how consistent they are with attending sessions, yet how inconsistent they are with completing homework. This usually sparks conversation and processing about why this may be happening for the client.

As a Clinical Social Worker, we are trained to assess a person fully within the context of their life circumstances, something we call BioPsychoSocialSpiritual assessment. With this, I may ask and find extenuating at-home circumstances that prevent clients from being able to complete homework i.e. too busy, not setting enough boundaries at work, ignoring self-care, over-committing to things that aren't beneficial to client's mental health.

What interventions have you found to be *helpful with motivating clients?

To increase client commitment to the change process, I use interventions such as:

*Psychoeducation* (explaining to them, with psychotherapy, most of 'the work' occurs outside of session to achieve desired change).

*Motivational Interviewing techniques* (to prompt and explore client reasons for lack of homework follow through and their awareness, if any, about this).

*Creative homework assignments* based on client's interests or talents (outside the box stuff that doesn't include worksheets or even writing anything down i.e. going for a walk and looking for different types of flowers or trees--this is a mindfulness practice. Or art/expressive assignments i.e. creating a playlist, making a collage or vision board, designing a room or space in their mind-- this is emotional processing, gaining new perspective, finding a safe 'place' to decompress).

*Encourage and suggest clients develop a reward system* for themselves for completing homework assignments (small gifts or tokens for completing that week's assignment, i.e. getting special coffee, taking an hour off work early, favorite dessert they rarely have etc. And larger tokens for consistent completion--every week for a month, for example, or tracking progress or having a breakthrough from the homework-- i.e. taking a weekend trip, taking a whole day off for self, purchasing non-practical or coveted item for self).

Although people willingly engage in therapy, the change process is often arduous and longer than we anticipate (or desire!). People lose motivation, it happens. Enjoyable assignments and rewards for completion are the external factors that motivate us until some positive change starts to occur. When noticeable, positive differences emerge from 'doing the work' outside of sessions, internal motivation often kicks in for clients and they WANT to keep doing homework BECAUSE it's producing the change they want to see in themselves.

Candace Kotkin-De Carvalho, LSW, LCADC, CCS, CCTP

Absolute Awakenings | Morris Plains, New Jersey

Therapy isn't a magic pill; clients need to work on their issues as part of the process. One strategy that may help is setting up firm boundaries. This can include scheduling regular appointments and requiring homework assignments between sessions. If a client repeatedly misses appointments or doesn't complete required tasks, it is helpful to schedule a check-in session to discuss this issue and help the client stay on track.

There may also be times when it's necessary to end therapy with a client who refuses to work on their issues. It can be challenging to make this decision, but it is important to do what's best for both the client and therapist to maintain a healthy professional relationship. If you are struggling with these issues, it may be helpful to seek out support from other mental health professionals or find a trusted mentor who can provide guidance.

Reflective listening and active listening can help clients feel heard and understood, which can ultimately motivate them to do the work. Reflective listening involves paraphrasing back to the client what you have heard them say. This way, empathy, and understanding are communicated, and the client feels more motivated to continue working on their issues. Active listening involves listening through nonverbal cues, such as eye contact, nodding, and facial expressions. This approach also encourages a client to articulate their own thoughts and feelings.

When it comes to doing their part in therapy, some clients may need additional support and guidance. This can include breaking down tasks into smaller parts, setting up time-bound goals, or providing positive reinforcement for progress made. If you give them homework assignments, check in with them at their next appointment to see how they are progressing and provide feedback or encouragement as needed.

For example, it may be overwhelming for some clients to make a major life change in one sitting, so you can help them develop a gradual plan to work toward their goals. Meanwhile, other clients may feel frustrated and unmotivated if they aren't making enough progress or meeting their goals quickly enough. In these cases, it can be helpful to provide positive reinforcement when they

make progress, such as offering verbal praise or tangible rewards.

Our behaviors are heavily affected by our thoughts, emotions, and environment. For clients who have been struggling with mental health issues for a long time, their thought patterns and coping mechanisms may be ingrained in their psyche. As a therapist, it is important to acknowledge that these behaviors may take time to change.

Often, this involves helping the client identify and understand unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors. This may involve identifying negative self-talk, challenging unhelpful beliefs, or learning coping strategies to better manage stress and anxiety. Accordingly, help the client focus on their strengths and build positive relationships with others. Acknowledging that they are working through a difficult time can provide support and motivation for them to keep going.

In addition, be mindful of your own thoughts and emotions as a therapist. For example, it is helpful to have regular supervision or check-ins with other mental health professionals so you can discuss any challenging client interactions. This will help ensure that your professional boundaries are maintained and that you provide the best support for your client.

Lauren Cook-McKay

Licensed Marriage, and Family Therapist and VP of Marketing at Divorce Answers

Although therapy is a two-way street in order to be successful, it's also a safe space for clients to be a mess. Dealing with incomplete homework usually involved capitalizing the inaction as a window to the realization of the issues they're dealing with in their lives.

Paradigm shifts were emphasized as a necessity, but the inaction itself is conceptualized as evidence of a barrier to wellness so it's leveraged for strategizing on better methods for management that are more suited to the client's capacities. We also make sure to leave room for these strategies to be adjusted until clients are ready to fully overcome their hindrances.

The most effective intervention that improves clients' motivations is the involvement of their support systems. Typically, the barriers they're facing and the reasons behind them being unpacked during the session bring forth the need to have sit-down talks with their loved ones. *Practicing that suggestion, they're able to verbally communicate the impact of the reactions and behaviors of the people around them which they've been repressing. *This frees them from their old self-concept and ultimately minimizes their hindrances.

After defining the specifics around the sequence of events that lead to the inaction of an assignment, analyses generally reveal that *clients feel unable due to complete them mostly due to the overwhelming pressure from expectations of accomplishing the assignment and/or apprehension of the mental labor being demanded by the task, as well as the potential impacts of the self-reflections that the task aims to bring to light. These reasons stop them from their tracks and/or deplete their mental energy to commit to the whole treatment.

Lawrence Barnier

Mental Health Officer

Women's Resources e-Information

There are a few different ways to approach this situation. One way is to try to understand why the client is not doing the work. It could be that they do not understand what is expected of them, or they may feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to get started.

In these cases, it may be helpful to provide some guidance and support to help the client get started.

Another reason why a client may not be doing the work could be that they are not interested in changing their behavior. In these cases, the therapist may need to reassess the goals of therapy and decide if it is still appropriate to continue working with that client.

There are a number of interventions that can be helpful in motivating clients. One strategy is to set goals with the client and track their progress. This can help to provide feedback and encouragement and can help to show the client that they are making progress.

Another strategy is to provide positive reinforcement when the client demonstrates good behavior. This can help to encourage the client and can help to build a positive relationship with the therapist.

Finally, it is important to be understanding and supportive when the client does not meet their goals. This can help to provide motivation and can show the client that the therapist is there to help them.

Claudia Luiz


When clients “resist” in therapy, that resistance can yield more information than what the client can tell you consciously. If you focus on the resistances - why the homework isn’t getting done, why the client is stuck, why they can’t break negative patterns and integrate what they are learning - you are really getting into the zones that the client hasn’t been invited yet to explore.

We now know from neuroscience, the three areas of the brain that can hijack conscious effort. Fear, rage, and grief. When people are afraid of feeling things, they get stuck.

Neuroscience gives us a model for what the patient may be resisting. The other emotional zones, seeking, play, and love can be engaged in this exploration. The framework gives us a way of thinking of the clients' “stuckness” in a productive and creative way.

Joining the client in their “stuckness” with compassion and curiosity, while shifting the framework of what you are ultimately working on, avoids power struggles, or potentially shaming the client. It lets them know compassionately that we understand about resistances, and that talking more about feelings can hold the key to unlocking the mystery of what is standing in the way of progress.

Elisa Tidswell

Certified Coach and Therapist, Committed to Empowering Women, Breaking

Negative Generational Cycles, and Creating Economic Justice

It's vital that therapists understand how to keep their clients accountable to their growth. Accountability is where therapists help their clients take action that will help them grow - and action is the only place where transformation takes place. Transformation is what clients pay their therapists for.

It's also really important that therapists get really good at accountability, otherwise, they can actually wind up demoralizing their clients. After all, if clients don't do their homework consistently they are likely to internalize it, believing that there is something wrong with them or that they are failing. This is the polar opposite of what therapists want for their clients.

So how can therapists help their clients do their homework? By cultivating an environment of curiosity and learning. Accountability is not about judgment or being 'told off', however, sadly this is exactly what many people believe it to be: they learned about accountability from their parents and school environments where not doing homework or handing in sub-par homework was met with shame. It's really important for therapists to dispel this mindset and ensure their clients know that accountability is about learning.

The best approach I have found after coaching hundreds of clients to stay accountable is to include three main parts to the accountability conversation. The first is for the client to share a win: something positive that's happened since they last met with their therapist. This could be an insight, a decision, a process (such as 'I felt my feelings!'), or something extrinsic, such as a pay rise. Sharing a win is important to put the client in a state of abundance and is commonly used by positive psychologists in their practice.

The second part is to consider a goal or homework that the client did do, and break it down to see why they did it. For example, what were they thinking, how were they feeling about it, how did the goal tie in with their values, what was their motivation to get it done, did they tell others about it, had they put it in their diary, and so on. The therapist and the client want to learn about what works for them so that they can double down on it.

The third part is to consider a goal or homework that the client didn't do and then see what they can learn from why they didn't do it. Was the goal too big and overwhelming, and actually needed to be broken down into smaller steps? Were they clear on how to get started with the homework or was their understanding fuzzy? Was the homework tied in with their vision or values? Had they put it in their diary? Did they have support from others? Was a limiting belief getting in the way? Once the therapist and client have learned more about why they didn't do it, they can create a new goal to support them in achieving the original one.

The best action a therapist can take in supporting their clients with their homework is to let go of judgement and to a growth mindset. They have to see accountability itself as a learning exercise where they can explore

what's going on for the client, and understand what works for them.

Trish Glynn, LMHC, CRC

Licensed mental health counselor

Owner and therapist at The Carey Center

Therapy is all about meeting the client where they’re at. Of

course, therapy will work best when the client is actively engaged both in and outside the therapy room. Results tend to be better and come faster. But not everyone is doing the work when they leave the appointment. There can be many reasons as well as many ways to address this. As a therapist, you want to try to figure out the “why” as that will help you determine next best steps.

For example, maybe you’re assigning work that is “too much” or isn’t a good fit for them. Are you asking a client to journal every week when sitting down to write is a mismatch for them?

Part of therapy is figuring out why the client is stuck. That takes time and talking about it in order to understand what the individual reason and best response may be.

In some cases, we just need more details, and so we keep talking and exploring to figure it out.

The client has a reason for what they do or don’t do – and therapy is about finding that out. Progress can come from discussing things the client has maybe never talked about with anyone before.

Also, it can be helpful to seek out some emotionally compelling reasons for change. If you can come up with some really meaningful “why” that speaks to the client, that can create a shift. Logic is often useless. We often know why we should do things. Yet, we don’t. But emotion can get us moving. What interventions have you found to be helpful in motivating clients?

A lot depends on client preference. As a therapist, it’s important to build rapport and get to know who is in front of you. That’s the ideal way to figure out what will work best for them. Because something can be incredibly effective, but if it’s not a good fit for a particular person, it won’t matter. Often, an eclectic approach is best. We are all so very different. One of the most important elements in therapy is the relationship. That matters more than any particular intervention. That’s why people go to therapy to talk to someone – a self-help book, for example, can list out some

interventions, but nothing compares to the human relationship, the rapport, the empathy, and the positive regard, which occurs in the therapy room. You can’t buy that off a shelf. Elaborate on any details you find helpful for explaining the mindset of the client and how it changes.

Therapy involves understanding the current mindset of the client. We want to understand if it’s fixed, or more growth-oriented, for example. We want to consider how their mindset both helps and hinders them. It’s usually a fixed mindset that gets us into trouble. We think we can’t change and our circumstances, too, can’t change. We will give up more easily and ignore helpful feedback. With a growth mindset, we know we are a work in progress. We are more open to accepting challenges. We are more able to seek them out.

Changing from fixed to growth involves challenging current thoughts. For instance, you can get stuck making a lot of false assumptions. You can begin to question your thoughts. Is that true? How do I know? What else might be happening here? Am I being too black and white, and missing the grey areas?

We have to notice where our mindset is now. Then we begin questioning it. We begin really getting deliberate about looking at our thoughts. For most of us, we don’t really spend much time if any thinking about our thoughts. It can help to start pausing to consider what thoughts are in your mind. And then we can start examining them and challenging them. And that’s when we can begin to create a shift. We can’t change what we don’t look at and understand.

Janelle Marshall, LPC

Marshall Gray Counseling Services

How do you navigate clients who faithfully come to therapy, but don't do the work?

I check in with the client and help process any challenges that are interfering with their ability to do the work. Sometimes the perception of the client not “doing the work” is an indicator of emotional trauma or blockage that needs to be processed.

Journaling is one of my favorite interventions to share with clients. I find it helpful for clients to visualize their therapeutic goals and their thoughts behind how their lives will reflect the efforts attempted. Habit tracking is a tool that helps take motivation a step further with clients that are committed to the therapeutic process. I have a collection of reflective habit tracker journals that serve as a guide to help the user align their actions with their desired goals.

As a solution-focused therapist, I help prepare my clients to embrace the evolution of their mindset throughout our journey together. It’s also understood that the client’s anticipated mindset change is contingent upon their willingness to commit to the work assigned in and out of the session.

Miriam Manela

The Thrive Group

The best motivation for clients is first and foremost for the therapist to let go of having a NEED to change their client, to let go of convincing their client to change and to simply allow the client to do what they have been doing and nothing different.

I usually tell clients, without any judgment, but just to give them an awareness that typically when the follow-up program is kept then results are significantly faster. If there is no follow-up done, that is okay, I just like them to be aware that therapy can take quite a bit longer then.

The third technique I use in therapy to motivate clients to change from within themselves is to create intentions. Rather than giving the client something they need to do, I would make an intention with them, which they could say once a day to give themselves the awareness of their challenge. Or if not, they may only use their intention once a week when they come to me for a session.

An intention would sound something like, I noticed that when someone questions my authority, I get very agitated. or I noticed that when my child comes home from school, or my boss walks into my office I feel flustered, overwhelmed, frustrated or anxious, etc. So without needing to tell the client to do any specific exercise at home, we've instead created together an intention to repeat every day to give themselves awareness. I may have them create a reminder on their phone with it or post a sticky note in their bedroom or bathroom.

Just remembering their awareness helps them remember what to do to calm down, on their own.

Danielle Bagus, MSW, LSW

Relief Mental Health

When a client seeks out therapy, faithfully attends without fail but once in session we are going over the same issues over and over again and I have found they are not doing the work on themselves outside of the therapy sessions, I attempt to look for a support system that may help them.

This might be a significant other, a parent, sibling, friend, etc. I ask who is in their close circle who they trust to help hold them accountable. I will also hold them accountable but sometimes encouragement coming from a loved one or someone they don't want to let down will mean more.

I also have found that the homework might not necessarily match up with their skill set or what they are willing to put in at that time. Therefore, as their therapist, it's my responsibility to find a new method or way to connect with the client and help them be successful.

One size does not fit all when it comes to therapy. Therapists need to have lots of tools in their toolkit to meet the needs of the client and ultimately to meet the client where they are in the process of therapy.

I think this can really depend on the client and what they need out of therapy. I find that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) works the best to motivate my clients to continue to do the work outside of therapy. CBT helps people with such a wide range of mental health issues and ultimately helps with really digging deep to find new ways of thinking, coping and behaving in certain situations.

Clients seek therapy for many different reasons. Some want to change their mindset, some wish to seek outside advice or help on a specific situation or topic (divorce, relationship, school based issues, family issues, etc.), some come because they have been diagnosed with a mental illness (bipolar, depression, schizophrenia, eating disorder, OCD) and need help maintaining a healthy mindset, some clients want an outside person to just listen, the list goes on. As a therapist, you are there to be an impartial, nonjudgmental resource for the client. You are there to help them realize different ways of doing things and different ways of thinking.

The client takes the first step in seeking out therapy but also needs to be the one doing the work and willing to change what they have always done with the guidance of their therapist. It's important for the therapist to always ask what the client wants out of therapy or a specific session. Sometimes the client doesn't know but I think our clients are more self-aware than they realize. If you can ask the right questions, they ultimately will tell you what they need, want or expect to get out of therapy in general or even a specific session.

Kellie Brown, LMHC, NCC, MCAP, (she, her)

Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)

Owner of Quiet Water Counseling in Florida

Oftentimes when a client comes regularly to therapy but does not want to do work outside of sessions it comes down to the client being afraid of making changes in their lives. People get so use to doing things one way it is very hard to change directions and try something new.

So instead of setting clients up for failure by giving them a huge homework assignment that is very likely overwhelming and they probably won't do, I give them very small tasks to accomplish.

So instead of giving a client the homework assignment of going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting or joining a gym, I ask clients to research AA meetings, or research local gyms. The next week I might ask them to just drive to the location of the meeting, or drive to the gym location, but tell them they don't have to go in, I just want them to physically see where it is located.

Giving smaller homework assignments tends to help break down a huge change into something more manageable.

Elizabeth Mateer, MS, MA, LMHCA *(she/her/they)

Director, Divergent Wellbeing

Lead with curiosity. Asking why didn't you do X this week like we talked about automatically leads to defensiveness and shuts down motivation to discuss what happened. Something like After our conversation last week, you seemed excited to work on using that coping skill. I'm curious about what the barrier was when you thought about applying it this week. This framing allows the client to explore the *process* of doing the work, rather than the content of I didn't do it.

Don't let it go. As therapists, we tend to feel compassion and understanding toward our client's challenges. While this is an important skill in many aspects of therapy, it can sometimes be tempting to let it go when our clients are consistently not doing the work outside of therapy. This is not only avoidant ourselves, but it doesn't serve our clients by teaching them to take accountability for their well-being. We can still be compassionate while being direct.

Meet them where they are at. Clients know when they aren't doing what they said they would, and yet, they are still showing up. That says a lot about the relationship and trust you've already built with them. Highlighting any progress you see, regardless of how small, is an effective way to motivate clients to continue moving forward. Sometimes these clients just move at a slower pace than others we see coming into therapy ready to take action, and that's OK.

Self-reflect on what we are asking from them and if it is too much. Sometimes as therapists we see the potential a client has and give homework assignments that are beyond what is realistic in the present moment, especially if we have seen our clients for a long time and have an idea of what they are capable of. Is there a way to break down the work into smaller, more achievable pieces? For some clients, if a task seems too aspirational or unrealistic, they won't attempt it at all. Smaller steps towards progress are better than no progress at all.

Steve Carleton, LCSW, CACIII

Gallus Detox

Navigating clients who come to therapy but don't complete their homework can be difficult and often requires a tailored approach.

The first step is to create an honest dialogue with the client about why they are not completing the assigned tasks.It could be that the tasks are too challenging or time-consuming, or that they don't understand what is expected of them. It is important to understand the underlying reasons behind the lack of motivation, and build a plan together that works for both parties.

The next step is to offer alternative homework assignments that are tailored to each individual client's needs. This could include reading an article or book related to the problem being discussed in therapy, journaling about their thoughts and feelings, writing a letter to their future self, or attending a workshop or class related to the topic. It might even be more helpful to ask your client what they would like to work on or what they would find most helpful. This will help to make the homework assignments more meaningful and will give them a sense of ownership over their progress.

The last step is for the therapist to provide ongoing support and accountability for their client's progress. Check-ins at the end of each session are a great way to ensure that homework is being completed, and providing regular feedback can help the client stay motivated. Above all else, try to create an environment of understanding and acceptance that encourages your client to be open and honest about their progress. With patience and dedication, you can help your clients reach their goals.

Nirmala Bijraj, LMHC, NCC, She/Her/Hers*

Aligned Self, LLC

I explore with them why they don't do the homework, what about getting it done, and doing it, makes it difficult.

I usually start with the least possibly intrusive change. We explore the change they want to make, identify the first step and then explore how to incorporate that change with the least amount of barriers and effort possible to start to build a new habit.

I've found if we start with something that feels like the least amount of effort, takes the least amount of time, and is the least intrusive on their life and schedule, then the client is most likely to do it.

For example: A client wants to work out in the mornings: *(this is a real scenario that I've worked with clients on with these steps). We start with building the habit of getting into gym clothes first thing in the morning when they wake up, the goal is to start the habit, we don't focus on how many times they work out or if they work out at all, just starting the first part of the process.

Then a week or two later or more depending on the client, we would add a 10-20 minute workout, something that they can actually make the time to do, 5 minutes if that's all the time they have to start with, again the least amount of effort that will help them start building the habit. And then continue to build on that habit until they're where they want to be with that goal.

Lindsey Ferris, MS, LMFTA

Individual & Couples Psychotherapist

If I notice that clients are coming regularly and sticking with therapy, but I'm not seeing progress or an effort to do out-of-session homework. I will bring this up directly to the client to ask them what they are seeing and how they are experiencing therapy. If they are seeing the changes and growth, they want to see, then I'll have them elaborate on this so I can understand from their perspective what growth and change looks like.

Oftentimes it takes checking in with my client to learn that they in fact are feeling the benefits and see growth in themselves in different ways than what I may be looking for, and it is a good idea to level set vs. assume that 'work' isn't being done or growth isn't happening.

If I find that clients are resistant to homework, or not making progress towards their therapeutic goals, I will address this directly and ask them what is getting in the way of doing homework and impacting their ability to engage fully in their therapy process. This can often lead to areas that need to be addressed first, before other priorities, so that any

therapy-interfering behavior can be resolved and progress can continue.

I find that oftentimes addressing directly with clients what I am observing in therapy interfering behavior or lack of compliance to homework can lead to thought-provoking insight and dialogue and instigate a change in how the client sees the way they show up for therapy. Once it is out on the table as a barrier to therapy compliance, the client and I can have an open dialogue about when either of us see it coming up in the room to work towards behaviors and changes that they want to see. When a client has insight into patterns that may be blocking them from growth, it can be a true aha moment that changes the engagement and adherence to therapeutic homework and growth.

William Schroeder

Licensed Counselor and Owner of Just Mind LLC

Every therapist has clients like this and it's a helpful thing to not beat around the bush about. If you notice someone is saying they are motivated and then not doing the work, the meat of the therapy is digging into what's getting in the way.

Motivational interviewing could be one way to approach this. On a scale of 1-10, how motivated are you to see X change. If it's low, then that's helpful to know and you might need a new target. If it's high and there isn't follow through, then you need to see what ideas they have that might help them have success and assess their perception of those as well.

Sometimes trauma can get in the way and it can help to make sure this is properly assessed. There are a number of trauma screens but trauma can be a big barrier to change if it's not dealt with. Things like EMDR can be helpful in treating PTSD, for instance. 100% of single-trauma incidents and 77% of multiple-trauma survivors no longer met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD after 6 fifty-minute EMDR sessions.

It also can be helpful to assess ADHD to see if that's possibly a complicating factor. The World Health Organization has a simple test clinicians or clients can use to see if they might meet criteria.”

Alexandra Alex Cromer, LPC

Thrive Works

A great tactic to navigate this is to have an honest conversation on their progress and introduce them to your theoretical framework/how you judge and measure client success.

The Transtheoretical Model of Change is my personal favorite, and it takes into account client motivation and any barriers that might be keeping them from making continued progress.

Another tactic is to discuss one of the main goals of therapy with a client; making the client more effective in their daily lives. Through this lens, we can invite the client into a bidirectional conversation in which we discuss progress and change as well as ways in which they believe your time together in therapy is effective.

I tend to favor a lot of motivational interviewing techniques as well as cognitive challenging skills to help motivate clients. If a client is faithfully attending session but is not doing the work, we could ask them a cognitive challenging question to get them to explore and identify their current patterns and routines and the efficacy of these.

Motivational interviewing techniques are similar in this way, in that they require work and active reflection on the part of the client in order to answer the questions. The most effective techniques to motivate clients are the ones which require the clients to do active work and are not closed-ended questions. The more you can allow a client to engage in self-reflection, research shows client motivation and propensity to change increases.

One of the biggest frustrations that therapists experience is a client who is seemingly not putting in the work or reportedly making progress and change. It's very common for a therapist to assume that a client is unwilling to change and is purposefully resistant to the process. Often, this is not the case and the client's stagnation can be better explained through a theoretical lens. For example, using the Transtheoretical Model of Change, we can identify that client barriers to progress come in the form of fear of failure, anxiety, and perceived low self-esteem, rather than willful ignorance.

Honest, direct conversations with clients allow them to see themselves through your perspective, and vice versa. Typically, research shows that clients who have a high sense of self-efficacy have a higher propensity to engage in change making behaviors. Therapists can increase client self-efficacy by continuing to engage clients in


Wrapping up…

The bottom line is that when clients do their homework things progress quicker, but when clients DON’T do their homework, we get new insights to resistances and what is actually going on inside. Thank you to all the fantastic therapists that contributed to this article! With great insight comes improved well-being.

You can find the original article published here:

Feel free to download the interactive PDF but don't forget to share the link to our page!!

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Supporting Homework Compliance in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Essential Features of Mobile Apps

1 Discipline of Psychiatry, Department of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL, Canada

David Kreindler

2 Division of Youth Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada

3 Centre for Mobile Computing in Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada

4 Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective psychotherapy modalities used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. Homework is an integral component of CBT, but homework compliance in CBT remains problematic in real-life practice. The popularization of the mobile phone with app capabilities (smartphone) presents a unique opportunity to enhance CBT homework compliance; however, there are no guidelines for designing mobile phone apps created for this purpose. Existing literature suggests 6 essential features of an optimal mobile app for maximizing CBT homework compliance: (1) therapy congruency, (2) fostering learning, (3) guiding therapy, (4) connection building, (5) emphasis on completion, and (6) population specificity. We expect that a well-designed mobile app incorporating these features should result in improved homework compliance and better outcomes for its users.

Homework Non-Compliance in CBT

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that has gained significant acceptance and influence in the treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders and is recommended as a first-line treatment for both of these [ 1 , 2 ]. It has also been shown to be as effective as medications in the treatment of a number of psychiatric illnesses [ 3 - 6 ]. Homework is an important component of CBT; in the context of CBT, homework can be defined as “specific, structured, therapeutic activities that are routinely discussed in session, to be completed between sessions” [ 7 ]. Completion of homework assignments was emphasized in the conception of CBT by its creator, Aaron Beck [ 8 ]. Many types of homework are prescribed by CBT practitioners, including symptom logs, self-reflective journals, and specific structured activities like exposure and response prevention for obsessions and compulsions. These can be divided into the following 3 main categories: (1) psychoeducational homework, (2) self-assessment homework, and (3) modality-specific homework. Psychoeducation is an important component in the early stage of therapy. Reading materials are usually provided to educate the client on the symptomatology of the diagnosed illness, its etiology, as well as other treatment-relevant information. Self-assessment strategies, including monitoring one’s mood using thought records, teach the patients to recognize the interconnection between one’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors [ 8 ]. For example, depressed patients may be asked to identify thinking errors in daily life and document the negative influences these maladaptive thinking patterns can produce on their behaviors. Various psychiatric disorders may require different types of modality-specific homework. For example, exposure to images of spiders is a treatment method specific to arachnophobia, an example of a “specific phobia” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) [ 9 ]. Homework is strategically created by the therapist to correct and lessen the patient’s psychopathology. The purpose of these exercises is to allow the patients to practice and reinforce the skills learned in therapy sessions in real life.

Homework non-compliance is one of the top cited reasons for therapy failure in CBT [ 10 ] and has remained a persistent problem in the clinical practice. Surveys of practitioners have suggested rates of non-adherence in adult clients of approximately 20% to 50% [ 10 , 11 ] while adherence rates in adolescents have been reported to be approximately 50% [ 12 ]. Many barriers to homework compliance have been identified in the literature; to facilitate discussions, they can be divided into internal and external factors. Internal factors originate from a client’s own psychological environment while external ones are created by external influences. Internal factors that have been identified include lack of motivation to change the situation when experiencing negative feelings, the inability to identify automatic thoughts, disregard for the importance or relevance of the homework, and the need to see immediate results [ 12 - 14 ]. Various external factors have also been identified, including the effort associated with pen-and-paper homework formats, the inconvenience of completing homework because of the amount of time consumed, not understanding of the purpose of the homework, lack of instruction, and failure to anticipate potential difficulties in completing the homework [ 14 - 16 ]. There is strong evidence suggesting that homework compliance is integral to the efficacy of CBT in a variety of psychiatric illnesses. In the treatment of depression with CBT, homework compliance has been correlated with significant clinical improvement and shown to predict decreases in both subjective and objective measures of depressive symptoms [ 17 - 23 ]. Similarly, homework compliance is correlated with short-term and long-term improvement of symptoms in anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), hoarding, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) [ 17 , 24 - 32 ]. Fewer studies have been done on homework compliance in other psychiatric conditions, but better homework compliance has been correlated with significant reductions in pathological behaviors in psychotic disorders [ 33 , 34 ], cocaine dependence [ 35 , 36 ], and smoking [ 37 ]. Two meta-analyses further support the notion that greater homework adherence is associated with better treatment outcomes in depression, anxiety-related disorders, and substance use [ 38 , 39 ].

The Utility of Technology in Enhancing CBT Homework

Despite its demonstrated efficacy, access to CBT (as well as other forms of psychotherapy) remains difficult due to the limited number of practicing psychotherapists and the cost of therapy sessions [ 40 ]. With the rise of mass-market mobile communication devices such as the iPhone or other kinds of mobile devices with app capabilities (smartphones), new solutions are being sought that will use these devices to provide therapy to patients in a more cost-effective manner. Mobile phones with app capabilities are portable devices that combine features of a cellphone and a hand-held computer with the ability to wirelessly access the Internet. Over time, ownership of mobile phones in North America has grown [ 41 , 42 ] and progressively lower prices have further reduced barriers to their use and ownership [ 43 , 44 ]. As more and more people acquire mobile phones, the acceptance of and the demand for mobile health solutions have been on the rise [ 45 ]. Boschen (2008), in a review predating the popularization of the modern mobile phone, identified the unique features of the mobile telephone that made it a potentially suitable vehicle for adjunctive therapeutic applications: portability, acceptability, low initial cost, low maintenance cost, social penetration and ubiquity, “always on,” “always connected,” programmability, audio and video output, keypad and audio input, user-friendliness, and ease of use [ 46 ]. Over the last decade, modern mobile phones have supplanted the previous generation of mobile telephones; progressive increases in their computing power, ongoing advances in the software that they run and interact with (eg, JAVA, HTML5, etc.), common feature sets across different operating systems such as Google Inc.'s Android or Apple Inc.'s iOS, and adoption of common hardware elements across manufacturers (eg, touch screens, high-resolution cameras, etc) have enabled the development of platform-independent apps for mobile phones, or at least apps on different platforms with comparable functionality (eg, apps written for Apple's HealthKit or the apps written for Microsoft's HealthVault).

The popularization of the smartphone presents a unique opportunity to enhance CBT homework compliance using adjunctive therapeutic applications such that well-designed mobile software may be able to diminish barriers to CBT [ 40 ] by making CBT therapists' work more cost-effective. However, there are no guidelines and no existing research that directly address the design of mobile phone apps for this purpose. Given this gap in the literature, we searched MEDLINE (1946 to April 2015) and PsycINFO (1806 to April 2015) for all articles related to “cognitive behavioral therapy”, “homework”, “mobile applications” and “treatment compliance or adherence”, and reviewed articles related to (1) mobile technologies that address homework completion, (2) essential features of therapy, or (3) barriers to homework completion in CBT. In this article, we propose a collection of essential features for mobile phone-based apps that will optimally support homework compliance in CBT.

A Proposed List of Essential Features for Mobile Apps That Optimally Support CBT Homework Compliance

In order to be effective for patients and acceptable to therapists, an optimal mobile phone app to support CBT homework compliance should conform to the CBT model of homework while addressing barriers to homework compliance. Tompkins (2002) provides a comprehensive guideline on the appropriate ways to provide CBT homework such that homework should be meaningful, relevant to the central goals of therapy, salient to focus of the session, agreeable to both therapist and client, appropriate to sociocultural context, practiced in session to improve skill, doable, begin small, have a clear rationale, include written instructions, and include a backup plan with homework obstacles [ 47 ]. In addition, the therapist providing the homework needs to be curious, collaborative, reinforce all pro-homework behavior and successful homework completion, and emphasize completion over outcome [ 47 ]. By combining Tompkins' guidelines with the need to reduce barriers to homework compliance (as described above), we obtained the following list of 6 essential features that should be incorporated into mobile apps to maximize homework compliance: (1) congruency to therapy, (2) fostering learning, (3) guiding therapy, (4) building connections, (5) emphasizing completion, and (6) population specificity.

Congruency to Therapy

Any intervention in therapy needs to be relevant to the central goals of the therapy and salient to the focus of the therapeutic session. A mobile app is no exception; apps have to deliver useful content and be congruent to the therapy being delivered. There are different types of homework in CBT, including (1) psychoeducational homework; (2) self-assessment homework; and (3) modality-specific homework. Which types are assigned will depend on the nature of the illness being treated, the stage of treatment, and the specific target [ 48 ]. An effective app supporting homework compliance will need to be able to adjust its focus as the therapy progresses. Self-monitoring and psychoeducation are major components in the early stage of therapy. Thought records can be used in depression and anxiety while other disorders may require more specific tasks, such as initiating conversation with strangers in the treatment of SAD. Therefore, the treatment modules delivered via mobile phones should meet the specific needs of therapy at each stage of therapy, while also providing psychoeducation resources and self-monitoring capabilities.

Psychoeducational Homework

While there are large amounts of health-related information on the Internet, the majority of information is not easily accessible to the users [ 49 ]. Mobile apps can enhance psychoeducation by delivering clear and concise psychoeducational information linked to the topics being covered in therapy. As psychoeducation is seen as a major component of mobile intervention [ 50 ], it has been incorporated into several mobile apps, some of which have been shown to be efficacious in treating various psychiatric conditions, including stress [ 51 ], anxiety and depression [ 52 ], eating disorders [ 53 ], PTSD [ 54 ], and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) [ 55 ]. For example, Mayo Clinic Anxiety Coach is a mobile phone app “designed to deliver CBT for anxiety disorders, including OCD” [ 55 ]. The app contains a psychoeducational module that teaches the user on “the use of the application, the cognitive-behavioral conceptualization of anxiety, descriptions of each anxiety disorder, explanations of CBT, and guidance for assessing other forms of treatment” [ 55 ]. The benefits of delivering psychoeducation via a mobile phone app are obvious: the psychoeducational information becomes portable and is easily accessed by the patient. Furthermore, the information is also curated and validated by proper healthcare authorities, which builds trust and reduces the potential for misinformation that can result from patient-directed Internet searches. However, psychoeducation on its own is not optimal. Mobile interventions that also incorporate symptom-tracking and self-help interventions have resulted in greater improvement when used for depression and anxiety symptoms than those that deliver only online psychoeducation [ 50 ].

Self-Assessment Homework

In contrast to conventional, paper-based homework, mobile apps can support in-the-moment self-assessments by prompting the user to record self-report data about the user’s current state [ 56 ]. While information collected retrospectively using paper records can be adversely affected by recall biases [ 57 ], mobile apps enable the patient to document his or her thoughts and feelings as they occur, resulting in increased accuracy of the data [ 58 ]. Such self-assessment features are found in many mobile apps that have been shown to significantly improve symptoms in chronic pain [ 59 , 60 ], eating disorders [ 61 ], GAD [ 62 ], and OCD [ 55 ]. Continuing with the previous example, the Mayo Clinic Anxiety Coach offers a self-assessment module that “measures the frequency of anxiety symptoms” with a self-report Likert-type scale [ 55 ]. The app tracks users’ progress over time based on the self-assessment data; users reported liking the record of daily symptom severity scores that the application provides.

Modality-Specific Homework

Evidence suggests that a variety of modality-specific homework assignments on mobile apps are effective, including relaxation practices, cognitive therapy, imaginal exposure in GAD and PTSD [ 54 , 57 ], multimedia solutions for skill learning and problem solving in children with disruptive behavior or anxiety disorders [ 63 ], relaxation and cognitive therapy in GAD [ 62 ], or self-monitoring via text messages (short message service, SMS) to therapists in bulimia nervosa [ 61 ]. Mayo Clinic Anxiety Coach, for example, has a treatment module for OCD that “guides patients through the use of exposure therapy” [ 55 ]; patients can use this to build their own fear hierarchies according to their unique diagnoses. Users reported liking the app because it contains modality-specific homework that can be tailored to their own needs. Novel formats, such as virtual reality apps to create immersive environments, have been experimented with as a tool for facilitating exposure in the treatment of anxiety disorders with mostly positive feedback [ 64 - 66 ]. Apps that provide elements of biofeedback (such as heart rate monitoring via colorimetry of users' faces using the mobile phone's camera), have recently begun to be deployed. So-called ”serious games,“ (ie, games developed for treatment purposes), are also showing promise in symptom improvement in certain cases [ 51 , 67 , 68 ].

Fostering Learning

Doing CBT homework properly requires time and effort. As noted above, any sense of inconvenience while doing the homework may hamper a patient’s motivation to complete the homework. While patients may appreciate the importance of doing homework, they often find the length of time spent and the lack of clear instructions discouraging, resulting in poor engagement rates [ 49 , 52 ]. Therefore, it makes sense that the tasks should be simple, short in duration to begin with, and include detailed instructions [ 47 ], since homework completion rates have been shown to be correlated with patients’ knowing exactly what to do [ 33 , 69 ]. Many apps incorporate text messaging-based services or personalized feedback to encourage dynamic interactions between the therapist and the client [ 59 ]. However, the types of homework delivered by these apps are fixed. An app that adapts the contents to the user’s progress in learning homework tasks would be more engaging and effective since therapy should be a flexible process by nature. Ideally, the app would monitor and analyze the user’s progress and adjust the homework's content and difficulty level accordingly. While the effectiveness of this type of app has not been studied, a similar app has been described in the literature for treating GAD [ 62 ]. This app, used in conjunction with group CBT, collected regular symptom rating self-reports from patients to track anxiety. Based on patients’ ratings, the app would respond with encouraging comments and invite patients to practice relaxation techniques or prompt the patient to complete specific built-in cognitive therapy modules if their anxiety exceeded a threshold rating. Despite the simple algorithm used to trigger interventions, use of the app with group CBT was found to be superior to group CBT alone.

Guiding Therapy

Therapists have a number of important roles to play in guiding and motivating clients to complete homework. First, the therapist needs to address the rationale of the prescribed homework and work with the client in the development of the treatment plan [ 47 ]. Failure to do this has been identified as a barrier to homework compliance. Second, the therapist should allow the patient to practice the homework tasks during the therapy sessions [ 47 ] in order to build confidence and minimize internal barriers, such as the failing to identify automatic thoughts. Lastly, the therapist has to be collaborative, regularly reviewing homework progress and troubleshooting with the patients [ 47 , 70 ]; this can be done during or in between homework assignments, either in-person or remotely (ie, via voice or text messaging) [ 60 , 71 ].

Reviewing and troubleshooting homework has been seen as a natural opportunity for apps to augment the role of therapists. Individualized guidance and feedback on homework is found in many Internet-based or mobile apps that have been shown to be effective in treating conditions such as PTSD [ 72 ], OCD [ 55 ], chronic pain [ 59 , 60 ], depression and suicide ideation [ 71 ], and situational stress [ 73 ]. Moreover, providing a rationale for homework, ensuring understanding of homework tasks, reviewing homework, and troubleshooting with a therapist have each individually been identified as predictors of homework compliance in CBT [ 74 , 75 ]. However, despite incorporating a variety of features including self-monitoring, psychoeducation, scheduled reminders, and graphical feedback [ 52 ], automated apps with minimal therapist guidance have demonstrated elevated homework non-completion rates of up to 40%, which is less than ideal.

Building Connections

The effects of technology should not interfere with but rather encourage a patient’s ability to build meaningful connections with others [ 76 ]. The therapeutic alliance between the therapist and the client is the strongest predictor of therapeutic outcome [ 77 ] and has been suggested to predict level of homework compliance as well [ 78 ]. While there is no evidence so far to suggest that technology-based interventions have an adverse effect on the therapeutic alliance [ 79 , 80 ], this conclusion should not be generalized to novel technologies as their impact on therapeutic alliance has not been well studied [ 81 ].

An arguably more significant innovation attributable to technology has been its potential to allow patients to form online communities, which have been identified as useful for stigma reduction and constructive peer support systems [ 82 ]. Online or virtual communities provide patients with a greater ability to connect with others in similar situations or with similar conditions than would be possible physically. Internet-delivered CBT that includes a moderated discussion forum has been shown to significantly improve depression symptoms [ 83 ]. Furthermore, professional moderation of online communities increases users’ trust of the service [ 84 ]. Therefore, including social platforms and online forums in a mobile app may provide additional advantages over conventional approaches by allowing easier access to social support, fostering collaboration when completing homework, and enabling communication with therapists.

Emphasizing Completion

A patient’s need to see immediate symptomatic improvement is an impediment to homework compliance since the perception of slow progress can be discouraging to the user [ 35 ]. To address this issue, it is important for both therapists and mobile apps to emphasize homework completion over outcome [ 47 ]. While a therapist can urge the client to finish uncompleted homework during the therapy session to reinforce its importance [ 47 , 85 ], there is little a therapist can do in between therapy sessions to remind clients to complete homework. In contrast, a mobile app can, for example, provide ongoing graphical feedback on progress between sessions to motivate users [ 52 , 86 ], or employ automatic text message reminders, which have been demonstrated to significantly improve treatment adherence in medical illnesses [ 87 ]. These features have previously been incorporated into some technology-based apps for homework adherence when treating stress, depression, anxiety, and PTSD [ 52 , 54 , 88 ] with significant symptom improvement reported in one paper [ 71 ].

Population Specificity

Homework apps should, where relevant or useful, explicitly be designed taking into account the specific characteristics of its target audience, including culture, gender, literacy, or educational levels (including learning or cognitive disabilities). One example of how culture-specific design features can be incorporated can be found in Journal to the West, a mobile app for stress management designed for the Chinese international students in the United States, which incorporates cultural features into its game design [ 89 ]. In this game, breathing activity is associated with the concept of “Qi” (natural energy) in accordance with Chinese traditions; the name of the game itself references to a famous Chinese novel and the gaming environment features inkwash and watercolor schemes of the East Asian style, making the experience feel more “natural” as reported by the users. A different approach to tailoring design is taken by the computer-based games described by Kiluk et al [ 68 ] that combine CBT techniques and multi-touch interface to teach the concepts of social collaboration and conversation to children with autism spectrum disorders. In these games, the touch screen surface offers simulated activities where children who have difficulties with peer engagement can collaborate to accomplish tasks. Children in this study demonstrated improvement in the ability to provide social solutions and better understanding of the concepts of collaboration. Although the population-specific design is intuitively appealing, the degree to which it can enhance homework compliance has yet to be investigated.

Other Considerations

There are several additional issues specific to mobile apps that should be carefully considered when developing mobile apps for homework compliance. Because of screen sizes, input modes, the nature of electronic media, etc, standard CBT homework may need to be translated or modified to convert it into a format optimal for delivery via a mobile phone [ 47 ]. The inclusion of text messaging features remains controversial, in part because of concerns about client-therapist boundary issues outside the therapy sessions [ 90 ]. One potential solution is to use automated text messaging services to replace direct communication between the therapist and the client so the therapist can't be bombarded by abusive messages [ 52 , 61 , 91 , 92 ]. Privacy and security issues are also real concerns for the users of technology [ 93 ], although no privacy breaches related to text messaging or data security have been reported in studies on mobile apps so far [ 88 , 94 - 98 ]. Designers of mobile apps should ensure that any sensitive health-related or personal data is stored securely, whether on the mobile device or on a server.

Finally, while this paper focused on “essential” features of apps, this should not be misunderstood as an attempt to itemize all elements necessary for designing a successful piece of software. Good software design depends on many important elements that are beyond the scope of this paper, such as a well-designed user interface [ 99 ] that is cognitively efficient relative to its intended purpose [ 100 ] and which makes effective use of underlying hardware.

The popularization and proliferation of the mobile phone presents a distinct opportunity to enhance the success rate of CBT by addressing the pervasive issue of poor homework compliance. A variety of barriers exist in traditional, paper-based CBT homework that can significantly hamper clients’ motivation to complete homework as directed. The 6 essential features identified in this paper can each potentially enhance homework compliance. Therapy congruency focuses the features of the app on the central goal of therapy and fostering learning eases engagement in therapy by reducing barriers. Apps should help the therapist guide the client through therapy and not hinder the therapeutic process or interfere with patient’s building connections with others. It is crucial that homework completion be emphasized by the app, not just homework attempting. Population-specific issues should also be considered depending on the characteristics of targeted users.

As an example of how this applies in practice, “Mental Health Telemetry-Anxiety Disorders” (MHT-ANX) is a new mobile app developed by the Centre for Mobile Computing in Mental Health at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto that helps patients monitor their anxiety symptoms using longitudinal self-report. The symptom log is therapy congruent to the practice of CBT since it promotes patients' awareness of their anxiety symptoms and the symptoms’ intensity. The simplicity of the app makes it easy for patients to learn to use, consistent with the need for fostering learning and increasing compliance. The MHT-ANX app was designed to share patient data with their clinicians, helping clinicians guide patients through therapy and more readily engage in discussion about symptom records, thus potentially enhancing the therapeutic relationship. Homework completion is emphasized both by automated text message reminders that the system sends and by questions presented by MHT-ANX that focus on how homework was done. While there are few population-specific design issues obvious at first glance in MHT-ANX, the focus groups conducted as part of our design process highlighted that our target group preferred greater privacy in our app rather than ease of sharing results via social media, and prioritized ease-of-use. While not yet formally assessed, reports from staff and early users suggest that MHT-ANX has been helpful for some patients with promoting homework compliance.

Limitations and Future Challenges

The feature list we have compiled is grounded in current technology; as technology evolves, this list may need to be revised. For example, as artificial intelligence [ 101 ] or emotional sensing [ 102 ] develops further, we would expect that software should be able to dynamically modify its approach to the user in response to users' evolving emotional states.

This paper presents our opinion on this topic, supported by a survey of associated literature. Our original intention was to write a review of the literature on essential features of apps supporting CBT homework compliance, but there was no literature to review. The essential features that are the focus of this article are summaries of key characteristics of mobile apps that are thought to improve homework compliance in CBT, but randomized trials assessing the impact of these apps on homework compliance have not yet been done. We would anticipate synergistic effects when homework-compliance apps are used in CBT (eg, if measures of progress collected from an app were used as feedback during therapy sessions to enhance motivation for doing further CBT work), but the actual impact and efficacy of therapy-oriented mobile apps cannot be predicted without proper investigation.


Conflicts of Interest: None declared.

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Empowering Progress: Effective Therapy Homework for Depression

The role of therapy homework.

Therapy homework plays a vital role in the treatment of depression, providing individuals with an opportunity to actively engage in their healing process. By completing assignments outside of therapy sessions, individuals can reinforce the concepts learned in therapy, apply new skills, and make progress towards their treatment goals. In this section, we will explore the importance of therapy homework and how it can specifically help with depression.

Understanding the Importance of Homework in Therapy

Homework assignments serve as an extension of therapy and allow individuals to continue their progress beyond the confines of the therapy room. It provides an opportunity for individuals to practice and integrate new insights, coping strategies, and techniques into their daily lives. Through regular engagement with therapy homework, individuals can reinforce the therapeutic work, develop new habits, and enhance their overall well-being.

Therapy homework offers several benefits for individuals with depression. It allows for increased self-awareness, as individuals are encouraged to reflect on their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This self-reflection promotes a deeper understanding of oneself and the factors contributing to their depression, enabling individuals to identify patterns and make positive changes.

Additionally, therapy homework empowers individuals by giving them a sense of control and agency in their recovery journey. It fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility for one’s mental health, promoting active participation and engagement in the therapeutic process.

How Therapy Homework Can Help with Depression

Therapy homework can be particularly effective in addressing various aspects of depression. It can help individuals challenge negative thought patterns and develop more adaptive and positive thinking. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) worksheets, for example, provide structured exercises to identify and reframe negative thoughts. These worksheets, along with journaling and thought records, allow individuals to track their thoughts and emotions, identify cognitive distortions, and develop healthier thinking patterns.

Behavioral activation exercises are another valuable component of therapy homework for depression. They involve engaging in activities that provide a sense of accomplishment, pleasure, or mastery, even when motivation is low. By gradually increasing participation in enjoyable and fulfilling activities, individuals can combat the inertia often associated with depression and experience an improvement in mood.

By consistently engaging in therapy homework, individuals with depression can experience a sense of progress, growth, and empowerment. However, it’s essential to collaborate with a therapist to develop a personalized homework plan that aligns with individual goals, needs, and preferences. This collaboration ensures that the homework assignments are tailored to the specific challenges and circumstances faced by each individual.

In the following sections, we will explore different types of therapy homework for depression and provide tips for developing a personalized homework plan that maximizes the benefits of therapy.

Types of Therapy Homework for Depression

When it comes to managing depression through therapy,  various types of homework assignments  can be incorporated to enhance the therapeutic process. These assignments aim to reinforce the skills and techniques learned in therapy sessions and provide individuals with opportunities for self-reflection and growth. Here are three common types of therapy homework for depression:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Worksheets

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a widely used approach for treating depression. CBT worksheets are valuable homework tools that help individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and beliefs. These worksheets typically involve exercises such as identifying automatic negative thoughts, examining evidence for and against these thoughts, and developing more balanced and realistic thinking patterns. CBT worksheets can be used to address distorted thinking commonly associated with depression, such as overgeneralization, personalization, and catastrophizing.

Journaling and Thought Records

Journaling and thought records are effective homework assignments for promoting self-awareness and monitoring thoughts and emotions related to depression. By encouraging individuals to write down their thoughts and feelings, these assignments provide an opportunity to identify negative thinking patterns and emotions that contribute to depressive symptoms. Thought records, in particular, involve documenting a specific negative thought, examining evidence for and against it, and generating alternative, more positive thoughts. Journaling and thought records can be powerful tools for increasing self-reflection and challenging negative self-perceptions.

Behavior Activation Exercises

Behavior activation is a key component of therapy for depression . Homework assignments focused on behavior activation aim to increase engagement in pleasurable and meaningful activities, even when motivation is low. These assignments may involve creating a schedule of daily activities, setting achievable goals, and gradually increasing involvement in enjoyable activities. By actively participating in positive experiences, individuals with depression can counteract the cycle of withdrawal and isolation often associated with the condition.

By incorporating these types of therapy homework into the treatment plan, individuals with depression can actively engage in their own healing process. It is important for therapists to collaborate with their clients, identifying specific goals and areas of focus, to tailor the homework assignments to each individual’s needs and preferences. Consistency, tracking progress, and seeking support are essential for making therapy homework a meaningful and effective part of the journey towards overcoming depression.

For more information on therapy homework assignments and ideas for other areas of focus, visit our articles on  therapy homework assignments  and  therapy homework ideas .

Developing a Personalized Homework Plan

To make the most out of therapy homework for depression, it’s essential to collaborate with your therapist and develop a personalized plan. This plan should be tailored to your specific needs, goals, and areas of focus. By working together with your therapist, you can create a realistic and manageable homework plan that complements your therapy sessions.

Collaborating with Your Therapist

The first step in developing a personalized homework plan is to collaborate with your therapist. Through open and honest communication, express your goals, challenges, and preferences. Your therapist will use their expertise to guide you in selecting appropriate homework assignments that align with your therapy objectives.

Your therapist may suggest specific therapy techniques or resources that can be incorporated into your homework plan. These may include  cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) worksheets ,  journaling ,  thought records ,  behavior activation exercises , or other relevant tools. By discussing your preferences and comfort level, you can ensure that the chosen homework assignments resonate with you.

Identifying Goals and Areas of Focus

During therapy sessions, you and your therapist will identify specific goals and areas of focus. These goals may include developing coping skills, challenging negative thought patterns, improving self-esteem, or enhancing communication skills. By identifying these goals, you can create homework assignments that directly address the areas you want to work on.

For example, if one of your goals is to challenge negative thought patterns, your therapist may suggest completing CBT worksheets that help you identify and reframe negative thoughts. By integrating these worksheets into your homework plan, you can reinforce the skills learned during therapy sessions and continue working on them independently.

Creating a Realistic and Manageable Plan

When creating your homework plan, it’s crucial to ensure that it is realistic and manageable. Your therapist will help you set realistic expectations and establish a schedule that fits your lifestyle. It’s important to strike a balance between challenging yourself and avoiding overwhelming tasks.

By breaking down larger goals into smaller, achievable tasks, you can maintain motivation and progress steadily. Your therapist may also suggest incorporating self-care activities, relaxation exercises, or mindfulness practices into your homework plan to foster emotional well-being and resilience.

To help you stay organized and track your progress, consider using a journal or a digital tool specifically designed for therapy homework. These tools can help you monitor your assignments, record your thoughts and emotions, and reflect on your progress over time.

Remember, the success of your therapy homework plan depends on your consistency, commitment, and willingness to actively engage in the process. By collaborating with your therapist, identifying goals, and creating a realistic plan, you can maximize the benefits of therapy homework for depression.

Tips for Effective Therapy Homework

To make the most out of therapy homework and enhance the effectiveness of your treatment for depression , it’s important to keep a few key tips in mind. These tips will help you stay on track and maximize the benefits of your therapy sessions.

Consistency and Commitment

Consistency is key when it comes to therapy homework. Make a commitment to regularly engage in your assigned exercises or activities. Set aside dedicated time each day or week to work on your homework. Treat it as a priority and integrate it into your routine. By being consistent and committed, you’ll reinforce the therapeutic progress and build momentum towards achieving your goals.

Tracking Progress and Making Adjustments

Keep track of your progress as you engage in therapy homework. Maintain a record of your experiences, observations, and any changes you notice. This tracking will help you identify patterns and trends, providing valuable insights into your journey. It can be helpful to use a journal or a tracking app to record your thoughts and progress. Regularly review your records with your therapist to assess your growth, make adjustments, and refine your homework plan if necessary.

Seeking Support and Accountability

Seek support and accountability to stay motivated and committed to your therapy homework. Share your goals and progress with a trusted friend, family member, or support group. Consider joining a therapy or coaching community where you can connect with others who are also working on their mental health. Engaging in discussions, sharing experiences, and receiving encouragement from others can provide a sense of support and accountability that keeps you motivated and engaged.

Remember, therapy homework is an integral part of the treatment process for depression. By following these tips for effective therapy homework, you can enhance your progress and experience the full benefits of your therapeutic journey. Stay consistent, track your progress, and seek support to make the most out of your therapy experience.

For more information and resources on therapy homework for various topics, visit our  therapy homework assignments  page.

Overcoming Challenges with Therapy Homework

While therapy homework can be an effective tool for managing depression, it’s important to acknowledge and address the challenges that may arise during the process. Here are some common challenges individuals may encounter when completing therapy homework and strategies for overcoming them.

Addressing Resistance and Motivation Issues

Resistance and lack of motivation can hinder progress when it comes to therapy homework. It’s not uncommon to feel resistant or unmotivated, especially when dealing with the symptoms of depression. However, it’s important to remember that therapy homework plays a significant role in your overall treatment and recovery.

To address resistance and motivation issues, consider the following strategies:

  • Explore the underlying reasons : Reflect on why you may be resistant or lacking motivation. Are there specific barriers or fears that need to be addressed? Share your concerns with your therapist to gain a deeper understanding and explore possible solutions.
  • Break tasks into smaller steps : Overwhelming tasks can lead to resistance. Break down your therapy homework into smaller, more manageable steps. This can help make the tasks feel less daunting and increase motivation.
  • Find intrinsic motivation : Connect with the deeper reasons behind why you want to engage in therapy homework. Remind yourself of the potential benefits, such as improved coping skills or increased self-awareness. Focusing on these intrinsic motivations can help reignite your motivation.

Dealing with Time Constraints

Finding time to complete therapy homework can be challenging, especially when juggling other responsibilities and commitments. However, dedicating time to your therapy homework is essential for making progress in your treatment.

To overcome time constraints, consider the following strategies:

  • Prioritize and schedule : Prioritize your therapy homework by scheduling specific times in your daily or weekly routine dedicated solely to completing the tasks. Treat these scheduled times as non-negotiable commitments to yourself and your well-being.
  • Break tasks into shorter sessions : If the length of the tasks feels overwhelming, break them into shorter sessions spread out over several days. This can help you fit therapy homework into your schedule more easily.
  • Utilize downtime : Identify pockets of time throughout your day that can be used to complete smaller tasks. For example, you can work on journaling exercises during your morning commute or listen to guided meditation during your lunch break.

Modifying Homework to Fit Individual Needs

Therapy homework is not one-size-fits-all, and it’s important to tailor it to your individual needs and preferences. If you find that certain exercises or assignments are not resonating with you or are not producing the desired outcomes, it may be necessary to modify them.

Consider the following strategies for modifying therapy homework:

  • Communicate with your therapist : Discuss any challenges or concerns you have with your therapist. They can help modify the homework assignments to better suit your needs and provide alternative options if necessary.
  • Explore alternative techniques or activities : If a particular exercise is not effective for you, discuss alternative techniques or activities with your therapist. They may be able to suggest different approaches that align better with your preferences and goals.
  • Experiment and adapt : Be open to experimenting with different approaches and techniques. Therapy homework is a collaborative process, and it may take some trial and error to find what works best for you. With the guidance of your therapist, adapt and modify the homework assignments to suit your unique circumstances.

By addressing resistance and motivation issues, managing time constraints, and modifying therapy homework to fit your individual needs, you can overcome challenges and make the most of your treatment. Remember to communicate openly with your therapist, as they are there to support you in your journey toward healing and recovery.

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