MOTIVATION WHILE LEARNING
LAUNCHING THE MOTION AND MAINTAINING THE MOMENTUM
Tba, adding to, but you'll get the idea...
Motivation is "getting into motion", which we can see in terms of our actions, part of which is behavior.
Learning often has what I would call "vague' rewards. Consequently, a video program with immediate rewards may win out. We need a sense of progress, which is a reward in itself.
Salman Khan, in his marvelous creation (The Khan Academy), notes that students will work hard for the "points" given and the certificates or badges of achievement. (See Ted talk by him: Video.) Indeed, whenever we measure something we have a feeling of something having been achieved. Keeping score in a basketball game works alot better than not measuring results.
So, while we are motivated to "get better", "relieve stress", "get smarter", "be richer", etc., those are intangible goals that seem far off, so that we "discount" (or fail to count) them. Consequently, we select other things off far less value but more immediate emotional impact or reward. Actually our reward is "feeling good", in a sense, which is the result of our attributing positive value (and valence) to something - preferably something we can get value out of repeatedly and/or over time - such as pleasant memories or thinking that we are quite capable in life (able to handle life well).
It is our thinking and our beliefs that "make it so", that cause the good feelings - but only in one sense. It is actually that our thinking and our beliefs send signals to the brain, which then emits motivating chemicals that we feel as "good" or "bad" (or "negative" or "positive"). If we believe there is an imminent reward and when we first get the reward (a new car, money, love, etc.), evolution has the body do the reinforcing great positive feeling chemical called dopamine. (Note that if you misuse dopamine and are foolish about it, you'll be a real dope.) There are other chemicals that are motivating in a negative sense where they are so uncomfortable that they force us to react to relieve the discomfort - the process is based on evolution where an indication of a threat to survival caused a motivation to fix the threat - and negative chemicals are great motivators! In fact, we can use fear chemicals to motivate us to fix a problem in our lives instead of ignore it. "If I don't learn this, then...I'll suffer..."
We get cortisol (the stress hormone) as a negative-feeling motivator (i.e. we need to get rid of the discomfort).
However, one problem with the system is that we can relieve the discomfort from the fear by seeking distraction type activities or "relief" activities, which don't get us anywhere. We fight ourselves around this for not having enough willpower, but we vastly misunderstand what it takes for "willpower" - and we certainly seem not to understand the myths we create around it!
That's the background picture. So let's get on to motivating ourselves to learn and keep learning. I'll add to this later with a more advanced program to implement on this site, but for now, here are the beginning pieces or thoughts around this.
Part of maintaining the motion (motivation) of learning is, of course, reminding ourselves of the long term rewards, including the problems and/or negatives we will get rid of. The standard treatment is always: Write down the benefits of doing it and the costs/problems avoided by doing it. That will be a part of any LifePlan or short term planning, but what you must do is to reinforce the "why" of it, by pulling out a copy of what you need to be reminded of and reading it often (daily usually) in your set aside time for such things. (No "set aside time" = no results!)
pts. milestones modules # of pages written, # of pages read...certifications (including such things as ____ is now prepared well to have a good relationship with an intimate partner)
We receive a reward by thinking "this is good what I am doing", "I am creating good", "with this I can create more good. Yeah!"