Finding your motivation for homework

Hey Woodski!

My mom says sports is a privilege but I put it before school. How do you break the habit of putting off schoolwork?  D Lay, age 14 (male, basketball)

Dear D. Lay,

First, I’m sure your mom is proud of you. High five for seeing her point of view!

Here’s a weird question: What are the benefits of the way it is now? In other words, what’s GOOD about putting off schoolwork? Maybe you have more fun playing sports than doing homework. Perhaps you love to win. Possibly you love to exercise and move. Pick ONE TOP REASON why you love sports. Write it down now and keep it short.

OK got it? We can borrow that word… that phrase… that motivator, to help you get your schoolwork done sooner with fewer struggles. Imagine how good that will feel!

Here are some examples: if fun is your biggest motivator, then find ways to add fun to schoolwork. Flash cards or games, for example. If winning means the most to you, then buddy up with someone and make schoolwork a competition. Can’t find someone? Compete against the clock. Challenge yourself to do 45 minutes of schoolwork by a certain time every school day. If exercise is your biggest motivator, get some of your schoolwork done while moving or exercising.

See how this works? You’re identifying your unique motivation for sports and applying it to your schoolwork. It’s OK to ask for help. See if you can involve others. Commit to one week. Then commit to another week and keep repeating.

As you get your schoolwork done sooner, notice how much better you feel. It probably won't be long before you get comfortable with this new, positive habit.


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The advice offered in this column is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Talk to your doctor before making any changes in your diet, exercise or lifestyle choices.
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