Goal hacks that actually work


One of our guiding principles at Sophya is automating mundane tasks to save time. We do that because we believe that time is our most precious commodity. Today, it’s zapped and competed for like it’s going out of style. We live in a world where we always have too much to do, too many options, too many things we want to complete in a day. So little wins in the time-saving category are big wins overall.

Everyone is always trying to find hacks to accomplish. And for some reason, we seem to focus our efforts on hacking into this sublime willpower store we think we have buried somewhere, just out of reach. If only we could tap into this extra willpower, we’d be able to do it all.

The thing is, the big hack we’re all looking for isn’t coupled to motivation or willpower. In fact, the less coupled to motivation or willpower, the better! 🤯

Let me tell you a lil something about willpower and motivation. They’re limited and a one-stop shop. So in any given period of time, let’s say a day, we only have so much we can tap into. Our motivation for exercise isn’t stored separately from our motivation for work. It’s all one, generic, limited pool. And we draw from it constantly throughout the day, without noticing or giving permission. By the time we need to do that big thing that requires a bunch of motivation or willpower, we’re all out. And if that’s the only tool we’ve got to get things done, we’re totally hooped.

So what’s the secret? Remove motivation and willpower from the equation completely. Seriously.

1. Eliminate situations where your willpower & motivation are zapped with no return to you.

Every time we’re distracted or need to make a decision, we tap into motivation & willpower reserves. What time should I wake up? What should I eat? Should I work from home? What should I wear? Should I eat that donut? You get the idea. Each one of these micro decisions is inconsequential. Individually, they aren’t going to move the needle on us being better people or having more epic lives, yet they tap into our motivation and willpower. And if the decision we need to make has consequences on our goals (I know I should go work on my side project, but all my friends are going to the bar…), we’re in trouble if we’ve used all our resources on stuff that didn’t matter.

2. Don’t rely on willpower or motivation for the stuff that does matter. Create automated habits instead to cruise to your goals.

Our lives can be boiled down to habits. Every day we operate under a framework of habits (good and bad), without even thinking about it. And we can tap into that same power of doing things automatically to accomplish the things that matter to us, without relying on motivation or willpower. So if everything that’s important in your life is powered by habits, you never have to worry about being motivated enough to get something done. And the best part? Once something is a habit, it feels uncomfortable not to do it.

Wanna action this stuff? Check out this learning path on Sophya

Meet the Sophya Team: Emma

How do you build amazing products that change peoples’ lives? With amazing people. Our team is fun, brilliant, talented, and whacky. They’re so worth knowing. So today, we want to introduce you to…


CO-founder & COO


When I’m not Sophya-ing, you’ll find me: Running! 🏃‍♀️My entire schedule is adjusted for it. You’ll definitely find me out in that east coast summer humidity nabbing heat training gains. I’m working towards some fun fall goals, including an altitude trail running camp, an ultra marathon on the coast of my favourite place, Vancouver Island, and a Boston-qualifying marathon.

People always say I’m: Articulate. But one thing I’m working on is way more asking of questions and listening, rather than offering up my thoughts and opinions so freely. It’s amazing how off your opinions are when you don’t listen and ask enough questions. Every day I challenge myself to hold back my opinions and only ask questions and listen, which is really unintuitive when, on the surface, you’d think my job is to have an opinion and make decisions. But it’s changed the way I see almost every situation, and drastically improved my communication and relationships.

The most surprising thing about me: I don’t feel like I have a home, and I’m not sure if I want to. I was born in New Zealand, raised in Canada, spent half of my 20s in Australia, and the other half in the USA, and lived in several places temporarily in between. And I’ve spent enough time in each that the meaning of ‘home’ is really fuzzy. Answering the question “where are you from” is complicated, and I usually go by whatever passport I’m currently traveling on to save the time. But I think it’s all taught me invaluable lessons in minimalism, flexibility, adaptivity, and focusing on what really matters in life (a few precious things) and what’s just noise (most things).

How I want to impact the world: I want to be a part of making the world a place where more people can break free from the shackles of expectations and social norms. Too much time, happiness and potential is lost from people perceiving ceilings that totally don’t exist.

More from me: I like to express my life in pictures (emmie_giles on Instagram)

Meet the Sophya Team: Leandrit

How do you build amazing products that change peoples’ lives? With amazing people. Our team is fun, brilliant, talented, and whacky. They’re so worth knowing. So today, we want to introduce you to…




When I’m not Sophya-ing, you’ll find me: Attending college, local tech meetings, traveling, at the the gym, biking.

People always say I’m: Independent, smart, rational, cautious spender.

The most surprising thing about me: Many people don't realize that I am an introvert. I think it’s because I don’t quite fit the stereotype, but I’m definitely on the introverted side of the spectrum!

How I want to impact the world: I think that seeking to be a lifelong learner, maintaining good ethics, having a growth mindset, and giving my best in everything I do will ensure I have a great impact on the world. I also believe I can have a huge impact by contributing to Sophya, due to our big vision to help students around the world learn better.

More from me: LinkedIn & Twitter

Meet the Sophya Team: Vish

How do you build amazing products that change peoples’ lives? With amazing people. Our team is fun, brilliant, talented, and whacky. They’re so worth knowing. So today, we want to introduce you to…


Co-Founder & CEO


When I’m not Sophya-ing, you’ll find me: Playing video games, dancing, making faces at myself in the mirror, or playing with animals.

People always say I’m: An optimist. Lol. But in truth, we have the capability to do so much more than we’re doing with ourselves and our planet. Let’s get there.

The most surprising thing about me: I don’t think people realize how nerdy I am. Yes, I’m a doctor, but I’m like…way nerdier than your average doctor. I started building computers with my brother when I was 9, got into IRC and code when I was 10, and have been a lifelong video gamer. My favorite games: Chrono Trigger, FF7, the Uncharteds and Last of Us, and Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

The fact that we may be able to fly around in exoskeletons and learn about everything around us at a glance using advanced computer vision is extremely appealing to me.

…Extremely appealing. 🤔 ❤️

How I want to impact the world:

We have an incredible capacity as humans to be ultra magical and build compassionate systems that ensure that no person is uncared for. We can and should change our systems of education and healthcare so that every person can become what they want to be and have their own positive impact. I’m going to be a big part of constructing this system, whether it’s here on Earth or elsewhere (shoutout to my boy Musk).

Stretch goal: I also want to help humans become more ‘ecocentric’, and less ‘egocentric’.

More from me: LinkedIn. I’m also trying to be more active on Twitter - follow me! I promise I’ll be fun: @VishalPunwaniMD

Meet the Sophya Team: Eddy

How do you build amazing products that change peoples’ lives? With amazing people. Our team is fun, brilliant, talented, and whacky. They’re so worth knowing. So today, we want to introduce you to…


Developer & Engineering Pioneer


When I’m not Sophya-ing, you’ll find me: writing my novel, making music, or working on a video game prototype. When I’m not creating, I’m reading, or playing video games.

People always say I’m: radically transparent. (people don’t actually say those words, but bear with me) I don’t have secrets. There’s not a thing in my life I wouldn’t tell a stranger. It’s incredibly freeing.

The most surprising thing about me: I have Muscular Dystrophy. Fortunately, it’s not fatal, and it’s given me a compassionate and humble world view. You don’t realize the value of the little things in life until you can’t do them anymore. It’s a huge reason of why I am who I am.

How I want to impact the world: I want to encourage others to share their lives with the people around them. I think if we all didn’t have secrets, the world would look much different. I think that, by extension, people would see that everyone has fears and weaknesses, be happier with who they are.

More from me: @eddywalda on Twitter. It’s the only thing that’s updated atm. 😅

We Take Our Opportunity Seriously

Last week, we found out we were one of the winners of the 2019 Harvard’s President’s Innovation Challenge 🤗🎉. During the event, Harvard President Bacow expressed: “You are our future…and that future is very bright”.

While this sure made us feel warm and fuzzy inside (thank you, President Bacow!), it’s an important reminder of our responsibility to you, to education, to the world today, and the world tomorrow. As a young Boston-based tech startup, we are in a time of great opportunity. Technology is abundant, relatively affordable, and progressing at a dizzying pace. Our world is 24/7 and remote-able, allowing for work to be done just about anywhere, anytime, with anyone. Expertise is a few well-written paragraphs and a button click away. And the problem we aim to tackle is a big, impactful, and gets people excited. We have all of the opportunities. They are ours to seize, and they are ours to lose.

And we plan to seize them. Please, hold us accountable.

Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.
— Warren Buffet



Hi there 🙂

First, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for being on this page.

Every day, we wake up and put our time, creativity, and sweat into figuring out how to make education a more engaging, personalized experience for anyone, anywhere. We wouldn’t have it any other way. So we really appreciate you taking some of your own time to hang out with us along the way.