Motivation & Goals

In this category, you will find all our science-based articles on motivation, self-determination theory, goal-setting and modalities like motivational interviewing.

What is Motivational Interviewing? A Practical Theory of Change

motivational interviewing

Conversations about change occur all the time. They can be related to just about anything and can happen with friends and family or with a provider at a routine health visit. During these conversations, people may voice various reasons for why they want and don’t want to change. In other […]

The 6 Stages of Change: Worksheets For Helping Your Clients

It was Dean Karnazes’ 30th birthday, and he felt trapped. Despite a successful career and a happy marriage, he was lost and disillusioned. That evening, he was drunk and out with friends at a night club in San Francisco when a beautiful young woman approached him. They hit it off […]

Goal-Setting: 20 Templates and Worksheets For Achieving Goals

We all have goals - some big, some small, some safe, and some bold. We wish to become a painter, to move to a new house, to write a book, to eat healthily, to exercise more, to become less anxious, and to run a marathon. The list is endless, if […]

The Science of Improving Motivation at Work

All motivation comes from within, whether it is triggered by rewards or endeavors that enhance one’s self-image or simply comes from intrinsically-motivating activities that we engage in for no reward other than the enjoyment these activities bring us. Realizing this makes the topic of employee motivation quite daunting for people […]

How to Motivate Someone, Including Yourself

We all seem to know how to live well, yet so few of us can bring ourselves actually to do it. Many proposed motivational strategies routinely fall short and prove themselves to be ineffective when put to the objective empirical test. We might be able to come up with strategies […]

Motivation in Education: What it Takes to Motivate Our Kids

Bored or stressed, they are simply our kids. Many traditional public schools do not offer much in terms of autonomy and do not allow students to learn at their own speed. The regiments often undermine students’ inclination to pursue topics that interest them and deeply engage them. The grading systems […]

20 Most Popular Theories of Motivation in Psychology

To describe the indescribable seems to be the ambitious undertaking of motivation theories. The many approaches to defining what drives human behavior are best understood when considering the very purpose of creating them, be it increased performance, goal pursuit, resilience, or relapse prevention, to name a few. There is nothing […]

17 Motivational Interviewing Questions and Skills

Have you ever been “healed” by a long conversation with someone where you were given full attention and felt the other person really listened to you without judgment? Has a particular relationship made you feel normal, lighter, or good about yourself again? Chances are this happened in an environment that […]

The Vital Importance and Benefits of Motivation

Being passive is not our default mode as human beings. Otherwise, we would have been born as a sloth or a panda bear (no offense to these lovely creatures). It is in our nature to strive, to want, and to move in a direction of something we desire and deem […]

How to Measure Motivation By Understanding the Science Behind It

Motivation is a psychological force that enables action and has long been the object of scientific inquiry (Carver & Scheier, 1998). The study of motivation is a behavioral science that concerns those internal processes that give behavior its energy, direction, and persistence. Science must begin with myths, and with the […]

What is Motivation? A Psychologist Explains.

Motivation has as many faces as there are human desires. The simplest definition of motivation boils down to wanting (Baumeister, 2016). We want a change in behavior, thoughts, feelings, self-concept, environment, and relationships. People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it […]

Motivation and What Really Drives Human Behavior

In our world of exponential change and ever-increasing complexity, the power rests with those who act, and especially those who act with self-determination and persistence. Our motivation is our most valuable commodity. Multiplied only by action, its value fluctuates with how we invest our attention. Why is it that we […]

17 Motivation Tools, Worksheets and Activities for You and Your Clients

One size does not fit all when it comes to motivation, so we will often find that we have to try new techniques, new mindsets, and new approaches in our search for that perfect ensemble. All the same, it’s good to have a few tricks up our sleeve, whether trying […]

What is Client Engagement in Therapy and How to Apply It?

The outcome of psychotherapy is mostly dependent on the quality of the relationship between the therapist and the client. Any form of therapy requires self-disclosure from the client’s end and an immense commitment to bringing about the desired change. Client engagement or treatment engagement in psychotherapy is one of the […]

Intrinsic Coaching: What Is It and How to Apply It?

In coaching, there is something called the coach’s stand. Coaches start working with clients with the notion that the client “has all that she needs and all that she has she needs.” Intrinsic coaching utilizes this stance from a values perspective and for igniting change within the client from their […]

21 Best Goal Setting Books to Read

Most people live their lives drifting from one day to the next. Their goals change but are rarely sought after with vision and purpose. What sets high achievers apart from those who continue in their regular “life is happening to me” routine, is effective goal setting. Having clarity and a […]

The Importance, Benefits, and Value of Goal Setting

How often do you set goals? How often do you revisit your list? We all know that setting goals is important, but we often don't realize how important they are as we continue to move through life. Goal setting does not have to be boring. There are many benefits and […]

47 Goal Setting Exercises, Tools, & Games (Incl. PDF Worksheets)

How many times have you approached the start of a new year with a list of positive goals you want to achieve, only to feel like you’re still stuck at square one when December rolls around again? Creating and setting goals is great, but actually achieving them can be much […]

How to Set and Achieve Life Goals The Right Way

Goal-setting theory draws on the concept that our conscious ideas guide our actions (Locke, 1968). So, can we take this premise and apply it to the biggest, most meaningful objectives we could possibly set for ourselves—our life goals? And what would that really mean, in terms of planning and getting […]

The Science & Psychology Of Goal-Setting 101

Imagine yourself going to work aimlessly every day, talking to others without a reason, working out just because you have to, and not having any aspirations for yourself or those around you. How would you feel? Goal-setting in psychology is an essential tool for self-motivation and self-drivenness - both at […]

Goal Setting for Students, Kids, & Teens (Incl. Worksheets & Templates)

Do you remember when you learned how to set goals? If you have trouble answering that question, you’re not alone! Most of us don’t spend much time thinking about how we set goals. In fact, many of us don’t even think of goal setting as a skill; rather, it’s just […]

What is Locke's Goal Setting Theory of Motivation?

Do you often find yourself struggling to change your habits, regardless of how willing you are to set objectives? If your goals rarely reach fruition, you are not alone. For many, there is the ‘you’ who you would like to be, and then (more consistently) the ‘you’ that you are. […]

Goal Setting in Counseling and Therapy (Incl. Workbooks & Templates)

Goal setting is important for those who want to improve their life. Setting goals helps you remain accountable for the things you want to achieve. Goal setting is even more important for those in counseling and therapy. Not knowing how to properly set up goals can often lead to failure. […]

What is Goal Setting and How to Do it Well

Do you ever feel like you’re sleepwalking through life with no real idea of what you want? Perhaps you know exactly what you want to achieve, but have no idea how to get there. That’s where goal setting comes in. Goals are the first step towards planning for the future, […]

Self-Motivation Explained + 100 Ways To Motivate Yourself

The best kind of motivation is self-motivation. To demonstrate this point, let's consider two scenarios you've likely experienced: You have something you have to do. You’re not excited or passionate about it, but you know you need to get it done. This feeling of obligation motivates you to work hard […]

Self-Determination Theory of Motivation: Why Intrinsic Motivation Matters

You may be familiar with “self-determination” in the context of foundational government documents and speeches from people long-dead. Traditionally, self-determination has been more used in this diplomatic and political context to describe the process a country undergoes to assert its independence. However, self-determination also has a more personal and psychology-relevant […]