How to Use the Chain Rule to Stay Motivated from Day One of the Semester

How to Use the Chain Rule to Stay Motivated from Day One of the Semester

Before starting a new semester, many students think about what they want to achieve. They review the last lectures and exams, take a look at the course of their studies, and then set new aims. The only problem is that these aims are almost always unrealistic. And by that, I mean ridiculously unrealistic.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ll be the last person to tell you not to aim high. The aims are great. Especially when they challenge you and you can grow from them. But if your aims are unrealistic and way, way, way too optimistic, they only cause one thing: frustration.

  • Frustration because you feel like you’re not getting closer to your aims.
  • Frustration because you’re putting yourself under way too much pressure.
  • Frustration because you are not living up to your own expectations.

These aims won’t help you. They block you and destroy your motivation. For example, if you make it your aim to get up at 6 a.m. every day, go jogging, study for 8 hours, and write your bachelor thesis at the same time as well as learn Chinese and earn money on the side, this aim is everything – just not helpful. Fortunately, there is a much better alternative.

The Magic Word is “Regularity”

So, you need realistic aims – got it. But that’s not enough. Aims only get you further if you convert them into concrete plans and work on their implementation regularly. The emphasis is on the word “regular”. No matter how good your aims and plans are, only if you take care of them each day for a year, your success will be manageable.

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It is crucial that you continuously work on your aims. And preferably every day. If you invest a few minutes of your time every day and focus on your plans, you will automatically become successful. The small repetitions develop tremendous traction over time and establish productive habits in your everyday life, with the help of which you can master any challenge.

And this is where the chain rule comes into play.

How to Stay Motivated Using the Chain Rule

The chain rule is an equally simple and effective method for visualizing your own aims and thereby reinforcing positive behavioral patterns. To do this, get a large wall calendar that shows your entire semester or year and hang it up in your room. And in such a way that you can’t possibly miss it.

Now you work on your studies for a short period of time and then mark the day with a big, red “X”.

calendar first day

For each additional day that you have done something for your studies, continue in the same way and mark it on the calendar. After a few days, you’ll have a chain – and if you keep going, it’ll get longer by the day.

chain rule calendar

Your only task now is not to break the chain. You don’t have to study eight hours a day or do other unrealistic things, just continue your chain. It’s nothing more. But it is precisely through this mechanism that you generate tremendous motivation.

Let’s look at a few more examples.


You can use the chain rule for almost all tasks and activities. The only important thing is that you can break down your aims into small, manageable intermediate aims that you can accomplish in a few minutes a day. This is exactly how professionals at PayforEssay approach their work.

The chain rule is not so well suited for to-dos such as “carry out a heart operation” or “buy a house”.  So that you can try out the chain rule directly, I have put together seven application examples for you.

Example #1: Learning

Study X for 30 minutes every day.

Example #2: Reading

Read a book for 15 minutes every day.

Example #3: Writing a bachelor thesis

Write two pages every day.

Example #4: Learning a foreign language

Learn 20 words every day.

Example #5: Learn to code

Program for 20 minutes every day.

Example #6: Sleep

Sleep eight hours every day.

Example #7: Drink water

Drink two liters of water every day.


If you really want your new semester to be better than the previous ones, you need to work on your strategy. And it’s best to start at the very beginning with your personal aims: Don’t set unrealistic aims that overwhelm you and drive away your motivation. When you have tons of assignments coming up and finals, then definitely don’t be afraid to get help from the best writing services.

Instead, choose realistic lines and focus on regular progress as you implement them. You can use the chain rule for this. Using this method, you visualize your daily achievements and build strong habits. All you need is a calendar and a little determination to make the first cross in your chain. After that, all you have to do is keep at it.