Perhaps you’re determined to go back to college or university or perhaps you really want to find a job. ‘Thinking’ is one thing, ‘doing’ is quite another. It can be really difficult to make that first small move, so here are our favourite tips to get you started (and to keep you going).

Start at the end

No matter what it is that you’re aiming to achieve you should know when you’ve achieved it. In other words, it’s useful to figure out exactly what you want, in detail. This gives you an opportunity to ‘visualise’ it in your mind and consider how good you’ll feel. This is a simple motivational concept that’ll help you to kick-start your project.

Interim goals

Take your goal and start to work backwards, thinking about the various steps and stages you’ll need to have achieved before you’ve accomplished your main objective. Making the steps small means that your goal never seems unattainable because you’ll be able to take positive moves towards it. Interim goals should be sensible and can be scaled to your ability and other resources such as time or money. The trick here is to find a balance and not get sucked into making excuses for a lack of action.

Little and often

If you do a tiny bit today and a tiny bit tomorrow and daily thereafter, you’ll eventually succeed. Trying to do too much, too soon might put your project in jeopardy because you can’t keep pace with your own schedule and you’ll consider giving up. If you start to associate it with failure, you’re onto a loser. Choose to look back over what you’ve achieved after a week or a month rather than panicking that you’ve only do a little bit today. It’s all about accumulation.

Time sensitive

Tomorrow never arrives and that means that your plans to ‘do it tomorrow’ will never happen. It’s far better to put a date and time to your plans because this will give you not only encouragement to keep going and achieve your small milestones but it’ll give you an expected finish date for when you’ll have your larger goals attained. The schedule, again, is up to you and can be flexible to incorporate setbacks or progress.

Multiple goals

There’s nothing stopping you from having goals in all areas of your life, they might be linked with financial outcomes, your health or progress through any other sort of project. (A goal to become healthier might help you to achieve a goal that requires you to have more energy to tackle it.)

Tell people 

Sharing your goals can help you to invest in them and gain the extra traction from other supporters. It’s far easier to give up on a goal that nobody knows about than it is when lots of people expect you to do what you said you’d do.

You might find that other people are working on similar projects or goals, in which case you can compare notes or enjoy friendly competition if you think it’ll help.

Find an expert

Find somebody who has achieved what you’re aiming to do and ask them how they did it. They might have tips or contacts to make your route more efficient.

Enjoy it.

Don’t do something because you ‘have to’, do it because you ‘want to’. Even if it’s something like looking for a job, you should be trying to find something you’d love to do; it’s far more motivating.

Start with your strengths

If you have a particular set of skills or strengths, start there. These are usually areas where you’ll have successes and there’s nothing more motivating in the early stages of a project than achievement.


When you reach an interim goal you should give yourself a small reward and focus on your achievement before moving on to your next goal.