Keeping Your Momentum When Learning to Code

By Pluralsight    |    September 16, 2015

Online learning is a great way to fit education into a busy schedule, but it can also come with a challenge — staying motivated. After the initial excitement of starting to learn a new subject has worn off, it can sometimes be tough to keep your learning on track. So how do you keep up your momentum when you’ve got so many other things competing for your time and energy? Today I’m going to dig into some tips I’ve found helpful to get motivation levels topped back up so you can conquer learning code.

Make Your Own Classmates

Isolation and lack of social contact with others going through the same process as you can sometimes be one of the drawbacks of online learning — but it doesn’t have to be! Whether you turn to a forum or a real-life meet-up group, tracking down people who are learning the same subject as you can really help you — and them — stay on track.

Set Achievable Goals

Hoping to understand PHP by Christmas? Want to crack CSS by your birthday? If your course doesn’t have any set deadlines or target dates, it’s easy to let things slip. Work out what you want to have done, by when, and set milestones along the way. You can also try making yourself accountable for these goals and milestones by letting someone know what you’re aiming for (perhaps this is where those new-found classmates will come in handy).

Reward Yourself

Hit one of your target goals? Then give yourself a reward! Whether it’s that new shirt you’ve had your eye on, a meal out, or a day off, rewarding yourself for your hard work is an important part of keeping your motivation levels healthy.


This goes hand-in-hand with rewarding yourself — make sure you take a moment to celebrate yourself. If you’re learning on your own, it’s easy to lose perspective on how much you’ve achieved and learned. So take a minute to realize how much you’ve covered since you’ started, and remember how far you’ve come. Give a friend or relative a call, post to your favorite forum, or stick a list of your completed courses on your fridge — sometimes you deserve to brag a little after all your hard work!

Just Get Started

It can be hard to settle in for a study session (we’ve all been there). Perhaps you’ve had a long, tiring day, or you’ve got something else on your mind? Try just sitting down to work on a small amount — even a quarter of an hour is better than nothing, and you might find that once you get going, you end up doing more than you thought. And if you don’t? It’s okay, just remember to take it at a pace that’s appropriate for you.

Take Breaks

Still struggling to get going? It’s possible you really do just need some time off. Spend a little time doing something fun so you can come back to your studies refreshed, relaxed, and ready to go.

Mix Things Up

Although having a suitable study space is important, sometimes a change of scenery can do wonders for your motivation. So if you usually study at home, try your local library. Typically stay a bit longer at the office? Go check out a coffee shop, or book some time in a coworking space. A bit of variety can often kickstart a flagging routine, so if you’re struggling, try mixing it up!

Remember Why

We’ve all had those “why on earth am I putting myself through this?” moments! But why are you doing it? Is it to improve your work prospects? To change your career? Or simply for fun? If motivation to get on with your studies is eluding you, remembering the “why” can often get you back on track and help you through the daily challenges that all build up to the bigger picture.

Education has unlimited benefits, but we’ve all hit challenges along the way. By keeping these tips and tricks in mind, you can overcome those hurdles and get on with your learning journey! Have you ever struggled to motivate yourself to learn? I’d love to hear how you keep yourself on track in the comments section below!

About the author

Pluralsight is the technology skills platform. We enable individuals and teams to grow their skills, accelerate their careers and create the future.