+
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.

Sponsored

From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

True

Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.

Brielle Asero lost her job after 2 months.

TikTokker Brielle Asero, 21, a recent college graduate, went viral on TikTok in October for her emotional reaction to the first day at a 9-to-5 job. The video, which received 3.4 million views, captured the public’s attention because it was like a cultural Rorschach test.

Some who saw the video thought that Asero came off as entitled and exemplified the younger generation’s lack of work ethic. In contrast, others sympathized with the young woman who is just beginning to understand how hard it is to find work-life balance in modern-day America.

“I’m so upset,” she says in the video. "I get on the train at 7:30 a.m., and I don't get home until 6:15 p.m. [at the] earliest. I don't have time to do anything!" Asero said in a video.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Mom's has epic response to a 'polite' phrase parents hear all the time

Judging by the overwhelming response to her post, she's not the only one who feels this way.

Canva

Yep. Relatable


Parents — especially those with multiple kids — know the phrase: "Oof, you must have your hands full!"

It's a common refrain from strangers who see us out and about.

Sometimes it even comes along with an "I feel sorry for you," if you're really lucky.

Keep ReadingShow less
popular

Single dad receives letter from late wife and immediately gets a DNA test

"She wrote a letter for me before she died, but I couldn’t bring myself to read it until now."

A devastated man sitting by the ocean.

Ten months after a man’s wife passed away, he finally got the courage to read a letter she left him, which contained a devastating admission. The 4-year-old son they had together may not be his.

“My ‘darling’ wife passed away 10 months ago,” the man wrote on Reddit’s Off My Chest forum. “She wrote a letter for me before she died, but I couldn’t bring myself to read it until now. She told me how sorry she was that she didn’t have the guts to tell me this to my face when she was alive.”

In the letter, the wife revealed that there was a “good chance” that the son he thought was his wasn’t his biological child. A few weeks before their wedding day, the wife got drunk at her bachelorette party and had a one-night stand with another man. Soon after that night, she became pregnant but was unsure who the father was.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

X-rayed couples prove that love truly is blind

Love is blind, and it only takes a few creepy skeletons to prove it.

Photo from Ad Council/YouTube.

An audience watches an X-ray screen showing skeletons in love.

In this video from the Ad Council, they brilliantly use an X-ray screen to show couples as skeletons in love, but it's when they reveal the true identities of the people that they really pull at the old heartstrings.

Apparently love really is blind, and it only takes a few creepy bone people to prove it.

Keep ReadingShow less

Gerod Roth's racist Facebook post.


Gerod Roth posted a photo of himself with a coworker's child last month.

And while it might not be immediately obvious why this was such a mistake, well ... let me tell you.

The initial photo, screencapped and tweeted above by Twitter user Dr. X, is seemingly adorable. But the comments and Roth's intent soon turned rather ugly.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

A viral photo of a calm dad and a screaming toddler holds an important parenting lesson

He exemplified patient parenting when his daughter started having a meltdown at the store.

Actor Justin Baldoni exemplified patient parenting when his daughter had a meltdown at the store.


Young kids don't always pick the best times to have emotional meltdowns.

Just ask any parent.

Grocery stores, malls, and restaurants (or any place with lots of people around) in particular seem to bring out the worst in our little ones, prompting explosive tantrums that can make even the most stoic parent turn red-faced with embarrassment.

But why be embarrassed? It's just kids being kids, after all.

Keep ReadingShow less