Motivation for Your Goals!

Setting your goals is the easy part. Actually meeting those goals takes a lot more than just saying you will! Motivation is the key here and while it’s not easy, here’s a guide that can lead to a series of successful accomplishments, goals, and habit changes. Motivate yourself from the very start!

  1. Start small. I’ve said this before, but that’s because it’s one of the most important tips in motivating yourself toward a goal. Don’t start out big! Start out with a ridiculously easy goal, and then grow from there. If you want to exercise, for example, you may be thinking that you have to do these intense workouts 5 days a week. No — instead, do small, tiny, baby steps. Just do 2 minutes of exercise. Commit to 2 minutes of exercise for one week. You may want to do more, but just stick to 2 minutes. It’s so easy, you can’t fail. Do it at the same time, every day. Just some crunches, 2 pushups, and some jogging in place. Once you’ve done 2 minutes a day for a week, increase it to 5, and stick with that for a week. In a month, you’ll be doing 15-20. Want to wake up early? Don’t think about waking at 5 a.m. Instead, think about waking 10 minutes earlier for a week. That’s all. Once you’ve done that, wake 10 minutes earlier than that. Baby steps.
  2. One goal. Too many people start with too many goals at once, and try to do too much. It saps energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make. You cannot maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing a goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once. It’s not possible — I’ve tried it many times. You have to choose one goal, for now, and focus on it completely. You can always do your other goals when you’ve accomplished your One Goal.
  3. Examine your motivation. Know your reasons. Give them some thought … and write them down. If you have loved ones, and you are doing it for them, that is more powerful than just doing it for self-interest. Doing it for yourself is good too, but you should do it for something that you REALLY REALLY want to happen, for really good reasons.
  4. Commit publicly. None of us likes to look bad in front of others. We will go the extra mile to do something we’ve said publicly. Now, you don’t have to commit to your goal in your daily newspaper, but you can do it with friends and family and co-workers, and you can do it on your blog if you have one. And hold yourself accountable — don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone every week or so.
  5. Get excited. Well, it starts with inspiration from others (see above), but you have to take that excitement and build on it. Get pumped! Get excited about how amazing it will be once you’re on your way!
  6. Print it out, post it up. Print out your goal in big words. Make your goal just a few words long, like a mantra (”Exercise 15 mins. Daily”), and post it up on your wall or refrigerator. Post it at home and work. Put it on your computer desktop. You want to have big reminders about your goal, to keep your focus and keep your excitement going. A picture of your goal also helps.


Planning for the Semester

It’s a new semester (first term!) and it’s a good time to set up a plan for the next three months.

One great way to start the semester is to go through the syllabi for your classes, have your calendar at the ready, and mark the due dates for important assignments. Preparing now for that term paper that’s due at the end of the term will make your school and home life a lot less stressful.

Is there an assignment where you’re not sure about how to complete it? Read through the assignment prompt a couple of times and then contact your instructor with some pre-determined questions. Our BPS instructors are top-notch and are here to help you succeed. As always, we are here to help you, too!

Good luck in the new term!

Eye on the Prize

“Begin with the end in mind” is one of Stephen Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people.  For non-traditional students, starting the year with graduation in mind can be a good way to get over the jitters of going back to school.


Think about graduation…

When you feel like you might not fit in

When you begin to think that you’re too old

When you start to think that it’s too hard


Think about graduation and what it will mean…

When you start to worry about that first essay

When you are tired and up past your bed time

When you are at home studying and your friends are out


Think about how good you’re going to feel with that diploma in your hand…

When you make an embarrassing comment on the first day

When you find you spend less time in the kitchen preparing dinners

When you find you want to sleep in your spare time


Think about graduation and the better job you’ll be able to land…

When you feel everyone in the class is younger and sharper than you

When you think you will not be able to make friends (you can still do this online!)

When you’re doing assigned reading instead of watching your favorite TV show


We all hit snags on occasion, whatever we’ve chosen to pursue. Keeping your mind on the end will help you stay focused on your goal, on the reason you’re back in school in the first place.  “Begin with the end in mind.” Think about graduation and you’ll be like a laser on your way there.




Top achievement, an online motivational and self-improvement company, created the S.M.A.R.T. goals.  S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.  I think they are a smart way to look at goal setting.  What do you think?

  • Specific:A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:
    • Who: Who is involved?
    • What: What do I want to accomplish?
    • Where: Identify a location.
    • When: Establish a time frame.
    • Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
    • Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

EXAMPLE:  A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a health club and workout 3 days a week.”

  • Measurable:Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal. To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as:
    • How much?
    • How many?
    • How will I know when it is accomplished?
  • Attainable – When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.

  • Realistic– To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.

A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labor of love.

  • Timely – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 lbs., when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.

Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.

T can also stand for Tangible – A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing. When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.


Balancing Act

School and work. Family and studying. Keeping everything balanced can take the skill of a tightrope artist. There are a lot of ways to keep your life in sync.

Remember your goals.

Why did you decide to return to school? Are you looking for a new career? Wanting to complete your degree after a long hiatus?

Make sure your goals are the same today as when you started. If they’re not, it might be time to reassess.

Take Baby Steps.

It’s hard to go back to school. You don’t have to commit 100% your first semester in school. Take just one or two classes to see how it goes. Once you get used to studying again, you can take more classes.

Prepare to Plan.

Create schedules to stay on track for studying, spending time with family, work, and you time. Be aware that you might need to cut back on some extra-curricular activities to make time for school. But, by carefully planning your days, you can get all your work done and take advantage of any free time you might encounter.

Get Support from Family and Friends.

We say it all the time. You’re not alone. It’s not just you who will be sacrificing time and energy to earn your degree; it’s also your family and friends. Let those close to you know how important it is that you go back to school and they will accept that you’ll be less able to join them for a movie or family night.

Stay Professional on the Job.

If you’re working and going to school at the same time, keep them separate. Don’t study at your work desk. This might show your co-workers or even your boss that you’re not totally committed to your work. Doing homework at work is also a bad idea because you won’t be focused on that homework.

Just remember…if you have questions, concerns, or need someone to talk to, we’re here and ready to help.