How To Stay Motivated While Studying Online

Published on: May 08, 2022

There are many advantages to studying online, but doing so is not without challenges either. One of the biggest challenges that students, especially those studying online for the first time face is staying motivated. Many students struggle with the self-pacing aspect of online studies and struggle to stay motivated without having someone to keep them accountable. However, being able to motivate yourself is not only useful for studying online but also a valuable skill to have in the workplace. Here are a few tips that have helped other online students to remain motivated and make a success of their studies.

Pick The Right Degree

One of the most important choices students can make to stay motivated is what they want to study. Choosing the wrong degree will make it very difficult to stay motivated even if you follow the other tips mentioned in this article. Make sure that you are studying for a degree in a field that you will enjoy or else you might end up not completing it at all. Even if you pick the perfect degree you might not enjoy all of the classes that form part of your course, which is why motivation is so important.

Set Realistic Goals

If you don't set realistic goals for yourself when studying online you are only setting yourself up for failure and will end up feeling demotivated. Earning a degree is an ambitious undertaking, but breaking it into short-term and long-term goals can help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. Identifying short-term goals and crossing them off your list after completion is very motivational and having set intervals for evaluating long-term goals will prevent you from getting overwhelmed.

Reward Yourself

It is easy to stay motivated if you enjoy doing something, but for most students, the act of studying by itself is not that enjoyable. Rewarding yourself for completing certain study goals will help to create a positive association with the task, which makes it easier to stay motivated. Studying online often means having to give up other hobbies or fun activities, especially for students with tight schedules. This can quickly lead to these students feeling resentful toward their studies and losing motivation. Rewards can help to redress this imbalance and not only boost motivation, but also improve the emotional well-being of students (

Take Breaks

While it is tempting to push through with your studies if you have a tight schedule it is not good for your health or motivation in the long run. Taking a break might feel counterproductive, but can be useful for preventing burnout and will improve your motivation. Many students have found that they are more productive after taking a break instead of forcing themselves to continue and ending up feeling demotivated. However, make sure that these breaks are purposeful and serve to refresh your brain. A purposeful break can increase your energy, productivity, and focus. Also, keep in mind that using your phone for social media won't boost your mental stamina and can have the opposite effect.

Interact With Your Peers and Instructors

Studying online is different from being on campus, but there's no need to miss out on the social aspect. It is easy to feel alone and isolated while studying online, so wherever possible try and interact with your peers and instructors. This can be done through messages, emails, or conference calls and will help to put things into perspective. Forming online study groups with fellow students can also help everyone to stay accountable for their work and further boost motivation.

Involve Friends And Family

Even if it is not possible to interact with your peers and instructors due to your schedule or type of course, it is still important to involve other people. Talking to your friends or family about your studies can be a great way to foster a sense of pride and accomplishment. In addition, discussing your studies with other people will help you to see how far you have come and give you the motivation to keep going.

Go Outside

Technology has made it easy to do just about anything online, including studying, but it is still very important to spend some time outdoors. In addition to getting a boost of vitamin D, going outside can also lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Studies have even shown that spending more time outdoors can help your vision and boosts levels of concentration, creativity, and mental clarity. These days, online learning is flexible enough that it can even be done on a phone or tablet, so as long as you have an internet connection there's no excuse not to get some fresh air and step outside.


Some students believe that being hard on themselves is an efficient way to stay motivated, but this is actually not the case. Harsh self-criticism can have the opposite effect and result in a loss of motivation. Instead, students who engage in self-compassion can make it easier to recover from setbacks and remain motivated. Studies have shown that self-compassion can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, which in turn help with motivation (


There is no shame in losing motivation as it is something that even the most hard-working students have dealt with at some point. Also, don't be disheartened if not all of the tips listed above work for you. Not everyone is the same and you might have to tweak or combine some of the tips mentioned to find the right match for yourself. The most important thing to remember is that you have to make an effort to remain motivated and stick with what works for you if you want to succeed.

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