Where does one find motivation after enduring several months of a global pandemic?
How does one maintain the ability to focus when the upcoming exam required for their future career, has been in flux from one proposed date to the next?
The answer isn’t quite straightforward. Pandemic or not, the last few weeks and days leading up to the bar exam is difficult to navigate. At this point, you may see your practice scores hitting a wall or even getting worse than they were at the midway point. At this point, you may feel like you have so much more information to cover, especially if your study schedule has been impacted by the quarantine limitations of working from home.
Finding motivation isn’t easy, but if you can land on intrinsic and even extrinsic factors that stimulate your individual interests, the next few weeks before your bar exam date, could be more manageable.
Here are 10 motivation tips to help you get through the bar prep home-stretch!
1. Stay Positive
Ok, hear me out here. I understand that it’s difficult to find any semblance of positivity right now, considering the state of the world, but this is key to staying motivated. Being positive gives you a reason to be motivated in the first place. It tells your mind that you can get through this difficult period, so your actions will just have to follow suit.
Finding positivity isn’t automatic. You will likely have to activate this, especially if you want it to be genuine. So, practice positivity by being mindful of the unprecedented difficulties you are facing and give yourself permission to foresee a successful exam score.
2. Switch Up Your Study Routine
If you have been studying in the same location or on the same schedule as you were when you started preparing back in May, it may be time to switch things up.
Having a new routine gives you something to look forward to which can do wonders for your motivation. Consider making a small change such as studying outside or perhaps implementing more breaks throughout your day.
3. Meditate on Your Future Goals
Why are you studying for the bar exam? Is it to be an attorney, to implement social change, or to accomplish a lifelong goal? Whatever your reasoning, it may be helpful to meditate on what your life will look like once you become an esquire.
Meditate on the happiness you will feel, on everything you will be able to do, and what it will feel like to practice law. Just take a few minutes each day to dwell on these goals. It may be helpful if you write this down and post it in a visible spot within your study area. Having these reminders can intrinsically boost your motivation to stay on track.
4. Reward Yourself
Give yourself a reason to study each day by rewarding your hard work. If you have something to look forward to, this increases your motivation to study to get to that reward. It could be something as small as treating yourself to your favorite food for lunch or even an hour of television time at the end of the day. Get creative and spoil yourself!
5. Don’t Overthink Your Answers
During my bar prep journey, my lack of motivation primarily stemmed from feeling like I hit a wall. I got to the point where my practice scores just would not get higher and in some cases started to get lower than they were earlier in my preparation. I believe that I hit this wall because I had so much information circulating in my brain, that I began to overthink my answers and oftentimes selected the wrong choice.
Are you experiencing this? If so, give yourself some grace. Your current performance may not mean that you know too little. In fact, you may just know too much. Spend more time reviewing answer guides and strategies to help you with your decision making. This will help to increase your confidence and strategy which will help you to overthink less.
6. Limit Your News Intake
The current news cycle is chaotic. Between the pandemic and the upcoming election, there is a lot of information that could cause anxiety and even depression. If you haven’t already, limit your news intake for the rest of bar prep. This may mean deleting your social media and disabling news notifications. However, limiting this intake can help you to reset your mind and maintain a more positive mindset.
7. Connect with A Mentor
Now is a great time to connect with a mentor. A mentor, especially one who has sat for the bar before, can help you to put things into perspective. They can help to motivate you through sharing their personal experiences and giving you a more realistic outlook of being in practice.
8. Connect with A Friend
Don’t forget to connect with your friends during this time. Even if you are studying alone, give a friend a call just to get your mind off things. Even if you don’t want to get your mind off things, contacting a friend who is also sitting for the bar could help with improving your mood and increasing your motivation, through knowing that you have someone in your corner.
9. Maintain Good Health
Don’t forget to take care of yourself physically and mentally. Practicing self-care by taking your vitamins, taking study breaks, and getting at least 8 hours of sleep, is key to giving you the energy you need to stay motivated.
10. Reflect on Your Past Success
Use your past success as an indicator of future success. At this point, you have graduated high school, college, and law school. You have been preparing for an extremely difficult exam during a global pandemic and maintained your resilience throughout.
Take at least five minutes each day to reflect on how amazing you are! Thank yourself for making it to that point and use that as motivation to get through this final stretch.