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How many degrees or apprenticeships go unfinished each year?

While we lack exact statistics, the world is filled with incomplete journeys.

Many people embark on an educational course only to allow life to derail them from their goals.

Still, just as many leave school before finishing their degrees, others go on to reach the doctorate level and beyond.

How can you motivate yourself to keep going when your learning journey comes to a seemingly screeching halt?

Here are eight ways to overcome obstacles and get yourself back on track.

1. Meditate on Your Goal

Talk to top coaches, and they'll tell you when athletes have a big event coming up, they spend time meditating and visualizing the outcome they desire. Why? Imagining the life you want after graduation generates powerful mental energy you can apply toward your goal.

Not only does meditation get you motivated, but it may also help you maintain that state of mind even when you're not on your mat. Research indicates meditation causes changes in the amygdala region of the brain, the area responsible for emotions and memory.

Spending even five minutes in meditation daily can create a ripple effect that keeps you motivated to continue moving forward when hitting the books yet again proves tedious.

2. Make a Schedule

Without an action plan, the loftiest goal in the world is nothing more than a pipe dream. To make concrete progress, including excelling in academia, you need to make a schedule.

At the beginning of each week, write down a list of all the things you have to do. Maybe you have a five-page research paper due on Friday. Do you want to pull an all-nighter on Thursday, or do you prefer to do your most thoughtful work by knocking out a page or two per day, then leaving some time for editing your work? Hopefully, you choose the latter.

Make a daily to-do list each morning, and do your most important but difficult chore first. Maybe you're looking forward to your creative writing assignment but also have a physics problem looming over your head.

Do your physics work first, then schedule a short break to take a walk or grab a coffee. Once you clear the most challenging task off your to-do list, the rest of the day flows easier.

3. Wake up the Right Way

What you do in the moments after you first open your eyes dictates the course of your whole day. Everyone has slept through the alarm once or twice — and most of us have felt "off" the rest of the day as a result.

Create a morning ritual for yourself that gets your energy flowing in a positive way. Maybe you do five minutes of gentle yoga in bed, or you get up and squeeze in a workout before your body realizes what you're doing.

Perhaps you simply enjoy sipping coffee on the porch. Whatever gets you in the right frame of mind at the start of each day, take a few minutes to honor it.

4. Get Your Body Moving

It's difficult to act your motivated best, let alone make it to 8 a.m. class when you're tired and sluggish. Exercise is a key component of overall health and well-being.

Research indicates exercise helps increase growth in mitochondria, the energy powerhouses inside cells, giving you more energy to plow through your classes and make it to your part-time job.

Additionally, as we age, the body creates fewer brain cells. However, studies in mice indicate regular exercise pauses this slowdown.

5. Follow the Goldilocks Rule

Remember the classic fairy tale where Goldilocks seeks a bed not too hard, not too soft, but just right?

As much as possible, try to achieve the same with the difficulty of your educational journey.

When scheduling your courses, if one prerequisite proves daunting, aim for balance by taking an easier class during the same semester.

This way, your brain gets a break instead of dealing with an overwhelmingly tedious schedule day after day.

6. Lean on Your Support System

When the going gets particularly tough, rally the troops. Your friends and family can remind you why you embarked on your academic journey and the rewards you hope to reap by achieving your goals. They also offer a valuable sounding board for those times you simply need to vent.

Invite a friend over to binge-watch a new series on Netflix. Pay a visit to the folks and let a parent prep you a home-cooked meal and do your laundry. Take a bit of time to recharge.

7. Learn to Regroup From Setbacks

If you fail a class or do poorly on an important exam, it's easy to feel discouraged and want to give up. However, the most successful people are resilient and able to bounce back when they experience a setback.

When you face disappointment, take time to lick your wounds. Then, evaluate what went wrong and the role you played in it. Detach yourself from the outcome — a bad grade — and focus on the process of getting your degree. Learn from your mistake and move forward.

8. Get a Good Night's Rest

Finally, success in any endeavor proves more difficult when you're exhausted. Even if you can't create a bedroom oasis, you can establish a ritual that helps you sleep better.

Practice waking up and falling asleep at roughly the same times each day — even on the weekends. Avoid using your laptop or phone in bed, as the blue light from the screen can keep you awake. In addition, sip some chamomile or lavender tea instead of reaching for the booze when counting sheep fails.

Staying Motivated for the Long Haul

Staying the course isn't easy — if it were, everyone would possess at least one credential.

However, if advancing your education is key to attaining the career of your dreams, you can and must power through.

Kayla Matthews, Editor, Productivity Theory


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The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

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FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

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FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

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In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

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FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

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The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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