30 Day IELTS Motivation Challenge
Hey! Are you tired of preparing for IELTS? Do you have good intentions but never seem to get the work needed done? Well, you are not alone! Almost all of my students tell me that they would like to be more motivated to study. That’s why today, Nick and I will start the podcast by going through 5 great motivational tricks that will help you start studying again. Then, we will encourage you to take the first steps to positive change by asking you to join us in our 30 day IELTS motivation challenge. Are you ready? Let’s do this!!!
Below, you can find a summary of the episode, which includes all of the links to useful materials and the times of each part of the discussion (so you can go directly to the part you want to listen to). You can also find every episode of the podcast here 🚀
My IELTS Classroom Podcast Episode 13 Summary: 30 Day IELTS Motivation Challenge
00:00 – 03:28 Introduction (How self-motivated are Nick and I? Not very!)
Nick and I chat about postponing tasks, the importance of a deadline, and the difficulty of being consistent!
03:33 – 07:24 Motivation Trick 1 – Don’t wait until you are “in the mood” to study!
You are hardly ever going to wake up and be “in the mood” to do a difficult task like learning how to answer IELTS headings match questions or understanding complex grammar. If you always wait to be ready to start, you are NEVER going to do it.
But, here is the thing. You know when the mood comes? It comes AFTER you have started. I bet if you sit down to study for IELTS writing today, you will feel so great afterwards that you will want to sit down to study again tomorrow.
The truth is that the more you do, the more motivated you become! Yes, the first few days will be difficult, but you are going to feel so good about yourself after you finish studying that you will want to feel the same way tomorrow (and the day after). I follow an online sports instructor called Joe Wicks (who is known as the Body Coach) and he says “You never regret doing exercise”. The same is true for IELTS study – nobody has ever put their pen down at the end of a lesson and said “I regret doing that”!
So, stop waiting for “inspiration” and just sit down at your desk and start – I promise that is the hardest part!
07:25 – 14:10 Motivation Trick 2 – Don’t let fear stop you!
This is my biggest hurdle to success – I always put off tasks that I am afraid will be difficult. This means that for weeks (or even months or years), I am stuck with that horrible feeling of fear or dread as I keep on postponing the task. Do you know that feeling? It is the one where you wake up in the morning and immediately feel bad or guilty because you know that there is something that you “should” do today, but you know you definitely “won’t”.
Well, what I have discovered is that all of these difficult tasks are usually MUCH easier than I imagined once I start them. And, even if they are difficult, I always feel mentally so much better once I am actively tackling them.
So, if you are afraid of IELTS (which is natural as it is a hard exam), then that fear will only disappear once you start to take control of the situation and prepare. Plus, IELTS is never going to get easier, so there is no point postponing – just take a deep breath and start! I promise it won’t be as hard as you think!
14:11 – 18:56 Motivation Trick 3 – Visualise what your future life will look like after IELTS!
When you are deep in the depths of IELTS preparation, learning how to hedge or add balance to your essay, it can easily feel that everything is too difficult and hopeless. This is the time that you should remember WHY you are sitting the IELTS test.
Yes, it is difficult, but everything in life that is worthwhile always is. For most people IELTS is the gateway to a new life, and almost always one that will be better and more prosperous than the one you are living now. So, close your eyes now (or when you finish reading this!) and imagine, your life beyond IELTS.
- If you are going to be studying at university, what does it feel like to be sitting in that classroom? Who are your new friends? What are you learning that you can’t learn at home? What do you do at the weekends? What type of house do you live in?
- If you are going to work abroad, imagine yourself in a hospital, or in the IT department – what are you doing there? How do you feel? What do your new colleagues look like (or your pay packet at the end of the month!?).
The more you can visualise this life and “feel’ what it will be like, the more motivated you will be to take steps to reach it. I spoke in the Boss episode a couple of weeks ago about my struggle to finish all of the video lessons in My IELTS Classroom, and this was the tool I used in my darkest hours to keep going – it really does work.
18:57 – 22:33 Motivation Trick 4 – Make yourself accountable!
When a plan only exists in your head, it can be hard to stick to it. Telling another person what you intend to achieve each week can help some people to stick to their goals. I talk about this a lot in my previous post about IELTS motivation.
In a way, this is a form of “negative” motivation. In other words, you are likely to sit down and work because otherwise your friend or family member will know that you didn’t stick to your plans. I personally don’t like this as much as the positive motivation factors (like visualising the future, or studying to remove fear) but if this works for you then do it!
Personally, I think that this works best if you make yourself accountable to another student – working with one other person in a “team” can be highly motivating as you don’t want to “let your partner down”.
22:33 – 24:43 Motivation Trick 5 – Break your overall goal down into small achievable mini-targets
When you are at the start of your IELTS journey (or even half-way through), your desired target score can seem an impossibly long way away. Therefore, I would strongly recommend that you set smaller achievable goals that will help you reach your final target.
You are not going to get to a 7766, or 7777 or 8777 overnight, but if you set yourself small achievable goals you will get there much more quickly (and painlessly). For example, for IELTS writing I recommend setting yourself goals each week like this:
- learning how to reference
- learning how to find relevant ideas
- learning how to write a topic sentence
- learning how to organise paragraphs
- learning how to write complex sentences
Do you see how powerful this is? Each of these goals can easily be achieved in 7 days, and if you can complete them consistently, you will soon be at your target score. And, if you don’t know what skills you need to learn – don’t worry! You can just follow my course – trust me, I have put all of the skills in a logical order, so if you follow my IELTS writing course, you will cover everything you need for a 7.0. and much more!!
24:40 – END The 30 Day IELTS Motivation Challenge OK, so those are some things that you can do to motivate yourself to study more, but the purpose of today’s episode is to introduce you to the 30 Day IELTS Motivation challenge.
This is based on a TED talk by Matt Cutts who believes that the key to making lifelong changes to your habits is setting small achievable tasks that you complete daily for 30 days. In fact, why am I explaining it to you when you can listen to Matt explain it himself:
In short, if you can make small achievable changes to your routine for 30 days in a row, it will become a lifelong habit! So, this is what we are challenging you to do with us this month – choose two “good” habits to add to your daily routine, and one “bad” habit to remove.
Remember, our goal is to create new ACHIEVABLE habits, so choose things that you know are manageable. There are no “right” changes, so just spend a few minutes now thinking what you can add or take away that will make you feel good about yourself and help you to move forward to achieve your IELTS goal (or any goal that you want to achieve!). Here are some ideas for things that you could add or remove from your life over the next 30 days:
Things you can add for the 30 day IELTS Motivation Challenge
- Complete one of my blog lessons every day – don’t worry about the order, don’t make notes, just read one and absorb the information. http://blog.myieltsclassroom.com
- Think of ideas for ONE essay every day – you can find the latest reported essay questions here
- Spend 15 minutes reviewing an old reading or listening test to assess why you got questions wrong.
- Learn one word from a reading or listening test that you previously didn’t understand (write them down in your vocabulary book).
- Listen to a podcast every day (or even part of a podcast – it is OK to just listen for 10 or fifteen minutes!). You can find my favourite podcasts here.
- Read an article from a good quality newspaper like the Independent or Guardian (try to find articles that focus on science or culture rather than current affairs).
- Revise one grammar point each day (or spend 10 minutes on grammar each day).
- Spend 5 minutes each day visualising your life after IELTS – the more detailed the better!
- Spend 10 minutes doing some breathing exercises to control stress. I am currently doing this breathing activity from Wim Hoff every day and have found it very helpful. If nothing else, he has a great voice!
- Move your body for 30 minutes each day – you can walk, you can exercise, you can play with your kids, you can even just dance in your living room – but if you move your body, your mind will also benefit.
Things you can remove for the 30 day IELTS Motivation Challenge
- Stop looking at YouTube for “quick fixes” for your IELTS mistakes.
- Don’t look at social media first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
- Stop telling yourself that it is impossible to pass IELTS or focusing on your previous failed tests – these are in the past and dwelling on them won’t help you.
- Stop doing Cambridge tests – spend the time learning new skills and language instead.
- Stop or reduce an unhealthy habit that is making you feel bad (maybe you can change your diet, smoke less, or stop talking to a person who makes you feel bad about yourself!).
So, write down the changes you are going to make and start doing them tomorrow. Or, even better, make yourself accountable by telling us what you are going to add and take away in the comments below 👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇
Also, follow my Facebook page for daily motivation over the next 30 days – the more of us that work together, the higher the chance we have of success. We can do this!