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3 ways to motivate teenagers without having to give a pep talk.

Hi Rare Birds,
Did you spring break it up last week? I did and all that family fun was actually exhausting. Luckily we had the wisdom to come back ahead of the weekend, so I have been sleeping on and off for days to be able to greet this week with some measure of motivation.

Speaking of which, I found this great article by a professor of psychology at Kent State who focuses on one of my favorite academic coaching topics: self-regulated learning. Since finals season is almost here, I thought it would be a good share since it gives some great, straightforward tips about the most effective study methods, according to the research. You can find it here. Here’s a line from it that really caught my eye:

Although some of the strategies we reviewed can be implemented with computer software, they all can be used successfully by a motivated student who (at most) has access to a pen or pencil, some index cards, and perhaps a calendar.

You see that word motivated hanging out dead center? I think it’s doing a lot of work in that sentence and you might miss it if you get too focused on busting out the index cards and calendars.As I help my clients get ready for the final push in the spring semester, of course, I’ll be helping them break down their plans into the strategies that will be the most effective for their time. AND, I also know that the motivation to actually put them into practice when we’re not meeting is really what their success hinges on.

Because I believe motivation comes from action, here are 3 active steps you can use to encourage students to find the fuel they need to keep moving forward when their energy is low and the work volume gets higher in this spring season: 

1) Keep it tiny. The small things are the big things. Use one of those index cards to write this question down and keep it somewhere you can see it. What’s an easy and small small step I can take right now?
2) Declutter. Find just one physical spot you use a lot and declutter it. Set a timer, some good music and go! Then, for just 2-5 minutes a day, do a brain dump to declutter your mind. Write out all the things that are taking up precious space up there – your to do list, your worries, your distractions. You’d be amazed at how lighter and more motivated you feel when you unload those pesky thoughts onto a page where they seem so much easier to manage than up there in your brain.
3) Keep it visual. Break out some more interesting tools to bring more color and visual appeal into your work. Now is the time to bring out the big guns. I’m talking white boards, colored pencils, fun mutli-color index cards and sticky notes, the time-timer.

For some student tested tools I recommend to bring in some novelty and interest into their work, make sure you download my free resource guide.

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