+
upworthy
Science

The simple, yet powerful shift that can actually keep you motivated

Andrew Huberman breaks down what people can do to stick to their goals—and it's surprisingly easy.

goal setting, motivation, andrew huberman, huberman podcast
Canva

Maybe we're focusing on the wrong thing.

There are a bajillion and one approaches out there when it comes to goal-setting, usually in the form of clever acronyms to remind us all of just how easy achieving our dreams can be. (Did you know there are more than just SMART goals? There are also HARD goals, WOOP goals, and OKR goals, according to Indeed.)

Still, despite the countless productivity tips, consistent motivation is something many of us struggle with. And while there can be serious factors causing this, like external stress or underlying mental health issues, it’s generally just a common thing people deal with. It’s really hard to keep your “eye on the prize” day in and day out, isn’t it?

But what if we shifted our perspective on what exactly the “prize” is in this scenario? According to neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman, it could mean a lot.

If you somehow have never heard of Andrew Huberman, he does deep dives on a wide range of complex scientific topics on his popular Huberman Lab podcast, explaining them in ways that are both easy to understand and applicable to everyday life.

Huberman regularly discusses the benefits of working with your body’s dopamine, i.e., pleasure hormone, in order to be more productive. In the case of staying motivated, he encourages people to make a mindset shift where they access pleasure from hard work rather than achievement.

Huberman notes that when we focus only on the “win” and work only for the sake of reward, it actually makes the required hard labor that much harder and less desirable, and generally makes us less likely to pursue more hard work in the future.

The concept of intrinsic motivation vs. extrinsic motivation became quite mainstream thanks to a well-known study conducted in 1973 in which researchers at Stanford gathered young children ages 3 to 5 who liked to draw and started rewarding them for drawing. After a while, the researchers stopped giving out the rewards, which caused a drop in interest among the children.

Bottom line: We garner less pleasure from activities when we begin to associate that pleasure with rewards, rather than the activity itself. That even goes for activities we naturally enjoy.

From a dopamine perspective, Huberman explains that if the “peak” in dopamine levels you get comes from a reward, it’s going to lower your baseline dopamine levels, which then signals to your brain that pleasure = reward, not pleasure = challenging activity, which is not always sustainable.

Luckily, there’s a way to rewire this perspective by incorporating a growth mindset.
mindset, growth mindset, motivation

Anyone can cultivate a growth mindset.

Canva

Having a growth mindset, a term coined by Carol Dweck, means viewing one’s mind as always being at the starting point, and focusing on deepening a love of learning through engaging in challenges, rather than trying to accomplish an end goal. Those who have this view have time and time again achieved great things, but only as a byproduct of willingly engaging in the effort for its own sake.

And the best part is anyone can cultivate this mindset.

“You can tell yourself the effort part is the good part. I know it’s painful. I know this doesn’t feel good. But I’m focused on this. I’m going to start to access the reward,” Huberman says.

Repeating this over and over again—especially during the most difficult parts—will eventually make that growth mindset sink in, and it will extend to all types of effort.

In other words, sometimes it is good to lie to ourselves.

Watch Huberman's full podcast episode on motivation and dopamine below. It’s full of other science-based gems.


We all know that Americans pay more for healthcare than every other country in the world. But how much more?

According an American expatriate who shared the story of his ER visit in a Taiwanese hospital, Americans are being taken to the cleaners when we go to the doctor. We live in a country that claims to be the greatest in the world, but where an emergency trip to the hospital can easily bankrupt someone.

Kevin Bozeat had that fact in mind when he fell ill while living in Taiwan and needed to go to the hospital. He didn't have insurance and he had no idea how much it was going to cost him. He shared the experience in a now-viral Facebook post he called "The Horrors of Socialized Medicine: A first hand experience."

Keep ReadingShow less
With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Men and the feels.


Note: This an excerpt is from Sarah Cooper's book, How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men's Feelings.

In this fast-paced business world, female leaders need to make sure they're not perceived as pushy, aggressive, or competent.

One way to do that is to alter your leadership style to account for the fragile male ego.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Man lists 8 not fun, but very important things you need to start doing as an adult.

"Welcome to being an adult. Maybe you weren't told this by your parents, but this is through my trial and error."

@johnfluenzer/TikTok

8 things you should be doing as an adult. Spoiler alert—none of them are fun.

Who among us hasn’t come into full adulthood wishing they had known certain things that could have made life so so so much easier in the long run? Choices that, if made, ultimately would have been much better for our well-being…not to mention our wallets.

But then again that is all part of growing older and (hopefully) wiser. However there is something to be said about getting advice from those who’ve been there, rather than learning the hard way every single time.

Thankfully, a man who goes by @johnfluenzer on TikTok has a great list of things young people should start doing once they become adults. Are any of his suggestions fun, cool or trendy? Not at all. But they are most definitely accurate. Just ask any 30+-year-olds who wished they had done at least four of these things.
Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Her boyfriend asked her to draw a comic about their relationship. Hilarity ensued.

The series combines humor and playful drawings with spot-on depictions of the intense familiarity that long-standing coupledom often brings.

All images by Catana Chetwynd


"It was all his idea."

An offhand suggestion from her boyfriend of two years coupled with her own lifelong love of comic strips like "Calvin and Hobbes" and "Get Fuzzy" gave 22-year-old Catana Chetwynd the push she needed to start drawing an illustrated series about long-term relationships.

Specifically, her own relationship.

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

My wife surprised her coworkers when she came out as trans. Then they surprised her.

She was ready for one reaction but was greeted with a beautiful response.

All photos by Amanda Jette, used with permission.

Zoe comes out to her coworkers.


Society, pay attention. This is important.

My wife, Zoe, is transgender. She came out to us — the kids and me — last summer and then slowly spread her beautiful feminine wings with extended family, friends, and neighbors.

A little coming out here, a little coming out there — you know how it is.

Keep ReadingShow less


It started with a simple, sincere question from a mother of an 11-year-old boy.

An anonymous mother posted a question to Quora, a website where people can ask questions and other people can answer them. This mother wrote:

How do I tell my wonderful 11 year old son, (in a way that won't tear him down), that the way he has started talking to me (disrespectfully) makes me not want to be around him (I've already told him the bad attitude is unacceptable)?

It's a familiar scenario for those of us who have raised kids into the teen years. Our sweet, snuggly little kids turn into moody middle schoolers seemingly overnight, and sometimes we're left reeling trying to figure out how to handle their sensitive-yet-insensitive selves.


Keep ReadingShow less