Need to get started? Or all was well but now you’re stuck? Try some goal work and motivation techniques to jump-start your action!

Even when we’ve got a time management tool – or an entire toolbox – that we’re using, it can still feel hard to get things done. Or sometimes we still find ways to avoid the work we need to be doing. If this is what you’re experiencing, we get it, and you’re not alone!

In moments like these, it can be helpful to set a goal for yourself, or to find a way to motivate into action.

Goal Setting TIPS

  1. Break your goal into smaller tasks or action steps. This can make progress feel more manageable and give you a sense of accomplishment as you move towards your goal. Who doesn’t love checking off a box or crossing off a to-do?
  2. Make goals with others (friends, family members, coworkers). You don't have to go it alone. Letting other people know about your goals can help with accountability (ask them to check in with you) and support (again, ask them to check in with you). Accountability and support can be key to your progress.
  3. Anticipate possible challenges. Obstacles and setbacks are a part of life. For each of your goals, try to anticipate some challenges you might encounter. Generate a list of resources that can help you overcome these challenges and get ahead of obstacles by overestimating the time it may take to finish your goal.
  4. Visualize your achievement. What will completing your goal look and feel like? Visualizing your accomplishments motivate your work and progress. Practice all the steps and pieces in your mind, including that point when you succeed!
  5. Reward yourself. Incentives can be a fun way to encourage your work towards your goal. Structure your work with little rewards along the way. They give you something to look forward to, which can help you get down to work in the first place.
  6. Manage your time. Use time management tools to help you organize your tasks, set aside time to work towards your goal, and track your progress. Goals are at their best with a structure in place for you to achieve them!

Will these tips be foolproof? Will you never feel unmotivated again? If this happens, please share your wisdom with us! If the above tips don't help, here are a few more things to try:

  1. Find someone to talk with. Objective listeners who can ask you questions and help you think through experiences/brainstorm next steps are a huge help when you're not quite what to do. 
  2. Break your task down into smaller steps. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by an entire, amazing and huge goal. But remember, your ultimate goal is built by all the smaller steps along the way. To finish your paper or dissertation, you might first create a timeline, then think about an outline, then perhaps you'll list some questions, and after that begin to draft sections, and then you'll get it all peer reviewed and seek help from the writing studio... Bottom line: success doesn't all happen at once. Embrace the steps.
  3. Find your mantra and use it. Plug into your positivity and your supportive self-talk. Find that inspirational quote and keep it where you can see it. Remind yourself that you can do this, and believe it.
  4. Check out these other motivation techniques. There are so many possibilities, and you don't have to stick with just one!

In addition to these tips and strategies, check out the two goal frameworks below. They can help you think through, plan out, and plan for your goal.

And finally, if at any point you want to talk about any of this, come and see us:

Waldo Hall room 125 | Monday through Friday | 9 AM to 5 PM.

This is what we do! It's magical here. Sometimes it can be most helpful to think aloud with someone, and our strategists are trained to sit down and chat, ask questions, offer ideas, and share their own experiences with this stuff. We're excited to see you soon.

SMART Goals ask you to set a goal that's specific, measureable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-oriented. Once you've set it, use a calendar to plan the process out!


If you're familiar with SMART, try WOOP, and if you're familiar with WOOP, try SMART.

They carry similar elements but each approaches goal setting a bit differently.

Try them both, and see which one works for you. If you like elements of each, how can you combine them?

Remember: we're always here to chat about this stuff:

Waldo Hall 125 | M through F | 9 AM to 5 PM

The WOOP goal-setting framework invites you to think about goals in terms of wish (or want), opportunity, obstacle, plan. It's important to begin with something you really want to accomplish, for yourself.