Coast Lifestyle

TACKLE YOUR TO-DO LIST WITH THE SCIENCE OF SELF-MOTIVATION

Two-days’ worth of dirty dishes sitting in the sink. That stack of mail that’s been “on its way” to the post office for a month. And a nail-biting habit you thought you’d kicked is rearing its ugly head. Sound familiar?

You’re not the only one with a to-do list and no idea about where to find the motivation to start. But deep within you is the power to set goals and accomplish them. And you can unlock it with the science of self-motivation.

This intro course will provide you with the tools you need to get motivated to complete tasks and learn new things. Tapping into self-motivation is a talent in constant need of refining. So, get in the zone and learn how to get motivated—and stay that way.

What is Motivation?

Simply put, motivation is desire that focuses your behavior on a goal. It has roots in needs and wants, so it compels you to provide for your family and drives you towards personal improvement. And there are two main forces of motivation—external and intrinsic.

External motivation arises from factors outside of yourself. Money is a prime example of an external motivator because it’s necessary to buy food and have a place to live. External motivators can be thought of as rewards, too. A trophy, medal, or ribbon for competing in an athletic event. A performance bonus at work. Praise from your family members after you prepare a delicious meal. Each of these rewards are considered external motivators.

No surprise, intrinsic motivation comes from within. Curiosity, an interest in a particular topic, and desire to improve a talent or skill are intrinsic motivations. These types of self-motivation help you learn and become more capable.

Examples of intrinsic motivators vary from person to person. They are fostered by individuals and manifest themselves in many ways. Mastery of a piece of music. Reading for pleasure. Playing a game because you think it’s fun. Intrinsic motivation provides you with the power to do things you enjoy, simply because you enjoy them. And accomplish tasks you don’t enjoy because it will ultimately be good for you.

Biological Factors for Motivation

Whether it’s external or intrinsic, motivation originates in the amygdala—a grape-sized portion of the brain located in each hemisphere. So, like most things, the science of self-motivation starts in your brain. The amygdala is part of the limbic system, which controls your emotions and directs memory storage.

Your amygdala works with a hormone called dopamine. This neurotransmitter (a brain chemical messenger) is usually associated with pleasure. But dopamine has recently been linked to motivation, too. It’s still not clear exactly what the connection is, but researchers are continually investigating its role in the brain.

Here’s what is known: Brain-mapping techniques show that highly motivated people have lots of dopamine available in the right parts of their brains. When compared to less motivated people, go-getters don’t necessarily produce more dopamine. Rather, the hormone is concentrated in different areas of the brain; specifically, the striatum and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VPC) in the brains.

The striatum is located at the center of the brain. It performs essential functions related to decision making, planning, and motivation. The striatum works in conjunction with the VPC. Located toward the front of the brain, the VPC also plays important roles in decision making and self-control. Both are critical to successful goal-getting.

Dopamine can also concentrate in the anterior insula, a section of the brain associated with emotion and risk. For individuals who struggle with self-motivation, it may be the case that a concentration in the anterior insula exists.

There is also growing evidence that you may be able to train your brain to become more motivated. That means directing dopamine towards the key areas of the brain mentioned above. This branch of science is still young, so you won’t find any tips right now. But as the understanding of dopamine and motivation grows, more valid methods for directing dopamine could also pop up.

Opposing Forces in Self-Motivation: Willpower and Procrastination

Two kinds of behavior meet motivation head on—willpower and procrastination. The former provides you with mental strength and fortitude. The latter distracts from the important tasks at hand. Both are extremely effective and can lead to dramatically different results.

Willpower is the ability to resist short-term gratification while chasing long-term goals. Think of ignoring the urge to indulge in high-calorie foods when you’re trying to lose weight. Whatever the end-goal, willpower is a tool to help you get there.

Armed with willpower, you may enjoy several positive life outcomes in addition to meeting goals. People with lots of willpower are shown to have:

  • Better grades in school
  • Increased financial security
  • Higher self-esteem
  • A greater overall sense of well-being

Motivation and willpower are teammates in the game of personal improvement. Willpower fuels the self-motivation you need to set goals and achieve them. By setting aside behaviors or habits that can derail your progress, willpower can make you a champion of personal betterment.

Procrastination is willpower’s nemesis. It’s the act of avoiding or delaying work that must get done. While willpower strengthens your drive to tackle your to-do list, procrastination is the ultimate challenger to that endeavor.

You may have a hard time recognizing procrastination. It has several forms. At the most basic level, procrastination is putting off a task to be completed until the last possible moment. You fail to start a work assignment until a day or two before it’s due. Or you ignore the low fuel indicator and wait until your tank is on empty to fill up on gas.

It’s possible that your brain uses procrastination to temporarily relieve emotional stress. There is some evidence to suggest that procrastinating important projects provides short-term mood improvement. But when the stress-reducing effects wear off, you’re left with a lot of work to do in a short period of time.

Procrastination in any form eats away at your motivation to meet your goals. So, do yourself a favor and shut it down early, before it snowballs out of control. Instead, ramp up your willpower next time you feel motivated to get something done.

How to Get Motivated with Temptation Bundling and Habit Stacking

There are lots of tips and tricks to improve your self-motivation and dedication to your goals. Two great ones are temptation bundling and habit stacking. Each method helps reinforce your motivation for a particular goal, habit, or behavior. Try each out and see what works best for you.

Temptation Bundling

It’s hard not to procrastinate when your favorite activities distract you from crucial work. Whether it’s exercise or household chores, these needs take a backseat to fun temptations. But what if you can actually mix work and pleasure?

Suppose you want to get caught up on your favorite TV show. Binge-watching TV is one of the least productive ways to spend your time. It’s relaxing, but spending hours in front of a screen dwindles your time to complete other tasks (and is terrible for your weight).

But if you pair your nightly TV time with something productive—like exercise or folding the laundry—you’ll fulfill your desire to watch the show and get things done at the same time. This partnering of activities you want to do with those you need to do is called temptation bundling.

It works like this: temptations (television) are only indulged at the same time as behaviors or tasks that need to be done (exercising or folding laundry). Associating necessary activities with a more pleasurable one helps essentials like household chores and physical fitness become more enticing.

This package deal is called a temptation bundle. And it can help you stop procrastination in its tracks.

Habit Stacking

This idea (also called habit chaining) relies on using old habits to support new ones. Daily actions that don’t require much effort (like established habits) can trigger the motivation to form new habits.

This concept relies on a phenomenon in the brain called synaptic pruning. Here’s how it works. Messages in your brain are carried across neurons via synapses. There are synaptic pathways all throughout your brain, but they are not all put to use. Some pathways are “pruned” or cut back, while others are used over and over.

Habits and routines are believed to mark the pathways you use frequently. That’s why it’s difficult to break old habits and create new synaptic pathways all at once. But this principle also allows new habits to “piggyback” on older, well-established ones.

Making small adjustments and adding new activities to your existing habit chain helps you take advantage of the previously developed synaptic pathways. Small incremental shifts in your daily routine allow for more manageable additions to stack on your brain’s well-established paths.

Soon, the struggle to begin a new routine is a thing of the past. Your brain is using its trusted synaptic pathways to support your growth and development.

Now imagine what habit stacking might look like in your daily life. Take drinking more water, for example.

Let’s say you have the habit of taking a 10-minute break each hour from your desk at work. You stand up, stretch, and use the restroom. If you want to work on staying hydrated, consider drinking a glass of water each time you head back to your desk. Adding a drink of water to your routine completes a new link to your chain of habits.

Pretty soon, drinking water regularly becomes second nature, just like your hourly leg stretch and walk around the office. Stacking new goals on top of existing habits supports their development and makes them easier to remember.

Here are some other examples of habit chaining:

  • Making a lunch for tomorrow as you put away leftovers from dinner tonight.
  • Adding flossing to your bedtime ritual after you brush your teeth and before you wash your face.
  • Hanging up your coat as soon as you walk in the house, then taking your shoes off and placing them in the closet, too.

Habit chains can be as long or as short as you need. After several weeks of practice, you may find your original chain has shaped a new routine of productivity. Put this motivational method to the test to achieve your goals.

Reinforce Your Motivation and GET. THINGS. DONE.

If there are goals you’re trying to meet or new habits you want to practice, know you have the tools to make it happen. You just need to put the science of self-motivation to work for you. Pull energy from whatever force motivates you (internal or external) and focus it on your goal. Draw on your willpower and put procrastination back in its place.

And if you need a little extra boost to see your motivation through to the end, implement temptation bundling or habit stacking. Make use of your powerful brain and the resources within you. They will support you and your dedication to achieving your goals.

It’s time to get motivated to do something great.

Many Thanks to Sydney Sprouse

Healthy Cove

NEW YEAR, NEW BEGINNING, NEW YOU

Team Up to RESET Your Life

RESET for a Better You

Each new year brings endless possibilities.

It’s a chance to start over, make positive changes, and become a better you. And if you’re looking for some inspiration to lose weight and look your best in 2019, here are some helpful tips to get you moving.

Most new year’s weight-loss resolutions are forgotten before January ends. Too often we bite off more than we can chew. We make crazy diet and workout goals that are far too aggressive, get frustrated, and quit. The key to your resolution success is to be consistent. Make small changes you can maintain. Things like portion control, drinking more water, tracking your exercise, and working out with friends can have big results providing you stick with it.

Action-Oriented Goals, Not Open-Ended Ones

Sure, you want to look better in 2019, but open-ended goals usually fall short. Instead of saying to yourself, “I want to lose weight,” try to think in terms of action-oriented, definable goals. For example, plan to walk 30 minutes three times a week. Instead of going strict vegan or jumping into a Paleo diet, try adding a green vegetable to every meal. Realistic goals equal real results.

Go Take a Walk

Speaking of walking 30 minutes a day, did you know a half-hour walk can burn up to 300 calories? That might not sound like much, but over the course of a year, it can make a big difference. Walking is a low-impact exercise, meaning it’s easier on your joints. The benefits of physical activity depend on three elements: intensity, duration, and frequency. Because walking is less intensive than running, you’ll have to walk for longer periods to get the same results.

Anytime you get your heart rate up, you’re doing your body a favor. Exercise makes the heart beat faster, and over time, strengthens the heart. Cardiovascular exercise improves blood circulation and can help with your mood. Find a good podcast or audiobook or invite a friend to take a walk around the block after work.

You Can’t Outrun Your Fork

There are approximately 3,500 calories in a pound. That means to lose or gain a pound, you have to burn or consume an additional 3,500 calories. Over the holidays, most of us probably overindulged a bit. Don’t worry. Slips don’t become falls in your overall health journey when you choose to get back on track.

Something I did last year that had a big impact, but felt very manageable, was to eliminate one bad eating habit each month throughout the year. For January, I gave up all soda. In February, I stopped eating donuts and bagels. In March, I made sure to eat at least two servings of vegetables for lunch and dinner. Pretty soon, I started to see results, and because it was a gradual replacement of bad foods with good ones, I found I had more energy and felt better.

Keep a food journal as you make your new year changes. Write down all of your meals and snacks. Be honest. When you examine your diet, you’ll see areas where you can improve and be able to celebrate the smart decisions you’ve made.

Love Your Workout

There’s nothing worse than signing up for a gym membership at the beginning of the year only to quit going after a couple of weeks. Not only is it a waste of money, it can be pretty disheartening. Also, sometimes those big box gyms can be pretty intimidating when you’re starting a new workout program. Instead of committing to a long-term gym membership, think about the activities you are interested in and find out if they have introductory classes. Lots of times, the first class is free.

Sign up for a boxing lesson or try out a yoga class. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try Zumba or join a cycling group. It doesn’t matter what you do to get moving, just make sure it’s an exercise program that’s interesting and something you like. It’s already hard to get motivated to work out; don’t make it worse by doing something you hate.

Drink Water

It seems simple enough, but getting enough water is important to a successful workout program. Not only do you need water to stay hydrated, but drinking water can also help lubricate your joints, help with digestion, regulate body temperature, and aid in other essential body functions.  Best of all, water has zero calories.

Make sure to drink enough water before and after your workouts. Your body needs water to help energize muscles and support your kidneys. Fluids also help your body flush and remove waste.

Drink water during each meal. Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk, or in your bag. And add to your hydration by eating more water-filled fruits and vegetables. About 20 percent of our fluid intake comes from food.

Try a 5-Day RESET™ Kit

Reboot your energy and curb your cravings with USANA’s 5-Day RESET Kit.

In five short days, you’ll restart your healthy lifestyle with 15 Nutrimeal™ single-serve packets, five USANA® Probiotic stick packs, and 10 (5 AM and 5 PM) HealthPak™ packets with USANA® CellSentials™ CellSentials® (Vita Antioxidant™ and Core Minerals™), USANA® MagneCal D™, and the CellSentials Booster. Each kit also comes with additional energizing tips to get your health back on track.

Better yet, motivate a friend to focus on healthy fabulousness with you. When you buy one kit, you’ll get a second one 50 percent (US only).

So, what are you waiting for? Get started today and kick-start your new healthy lifestyle. Let us know in the comment section how your RESET challenge goes. And share some of your success stories as you strive to achieve your New Year resolutions.

Kickstart your lifestyle with this easy 5 day (everything in one box) plan!

Order