The Material and You (Intrinsic Regulation)
Do you ever find some tasks just boring? They might not be too hard, but they just seem mind-numbing… Even when these tasks, though dull, have a purpose, it can be hard to motivate yourself to complete them. That’s where motivation regulation and this strategy come in!
For this strategy, you need to try to increase your motivation by making the task itself more enjoyable to complete. You should focus on or add in an aspect of the task to make it more enjoyable or interesting. This positive feeling will increase your motivation, and thereby your effort and attainment!
- If you like to keep organized notes, you could focus on taking especially neat notes. Similarly, if you like to colour-code your work for future reference, you could add that into your note-taking to increase your interest and enjoyment.
The key is to identify what you find interesting or enjoyable, and focus or add that aspect to your task. Research shows that students who used interest-enhancement strategies tended to persist in the activity longer than those who did not.
Research shows that your self-efficacy (belief about whether or not you will be successful on a given task) is a powerful predictor of your choice, effort, and persistence for academic and non academic activities.
This means your ability to monitor, evaluate, and purposefully control your own expectations and perceptions of competence is a powerful form of motivational regulation.
There are three strategies for regulating perceived confidence: proximal goal setting, defensive pessimism, and efficacy self-talk.
- Proximal goal setting: consists of breaking complex or larger tasks into simpler more easily and quickly completed segments (e.g., reading assignment of 30 pages can be broken into three 10 page chunks). This is motivation regulation you consciously motivate yourself to complete a task via this process. Research shows that providing students with short-term goals can raise their efficacy and subsequently motivation for particular tasks.
- Defensive pessimism: students focus on their level of unpreparedness to convince themselves they are unable to complete an assigned task successfully. This focused thought increases anxiety which the student consciously and strategically uses to increase their willingness to prepare and thereby avoid failure. (e.g. “I think about how unprepared I am in order to motivate myself to study harder”). WARNING: While this strategy may work in the short term, studies show it may also have negative impacts in the long run: lower grades, higher instances of reported worry.
- Efficacy self-talk: students engage in thoughts or statements aimed at influencing their efficacy for an ongoing academic task (e.g. “You’re doing great. Keep going and you can finish this!”). This strategy has been found successful when used in combination with other strategies, but more research is necessary in order to determine how successful it is independently.
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