Brain boost

Day #9 of the online course Fueled by Facts is all about how to maximize your brain training—with exercise!

brain train
Exercise has been shown to increase levels of:

  • Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF)—helps to maintain the life of your brain cells, and grow new ones, which means we can learn better and faster
  • Dopamine—lights up the reward and pleasure centers in the brain
  • Serotonin—helps maintain mood balance
  • Norepinephrine—helps us think clearer and faster

Adding exercise to your brain-training program is like adding fertilizer to plants—you get more out of what you put into it!  These results are unique to exercise because of  the balance dose of brain chemicals released after one well-designed exercise session.

But why don’t we get these great benefits from every workout?  We can override these benefits when exercise works against how the body is designed. Maximize your body’s ability to “administer” these brain-boosting chemicals by doing fact-based fitness.

Sign up today for Fueled by Facts, your 30-day fitness myths cleanse.

Week 6 – The Myths of Motivation

I’m so motivated!

I hope I can stay motivated.

I lost my motivation.

I just need some motivation again.

Okay!  It’s time we put these myths of motivation to rest once and for all!

It’s time we stop thinking of motivation like some mysterious quality that comes and goes with the wind. Absolutely, it is one of the most frustrating factors in achieving lasting health and well-being. The fact is we have control over our own motivation. Yes, we really do! When we understand it, we CAN activate our motivation.

Fact:  We are already motivated. The first myth is that we don’t have motivation.  We all have motivation to do something. It might be to work late, veg-out on the couch, or take a walk – whatever we are doing it is because we have motivation to do it.

Fact:  Motivation = Resources > Barriers. We explored these two factors  in the first week of this series. Being motivated to work through lunch Motivation =instead of taking a walk means the balance of these two factors increased motivation for working more than taking a walk. It’s a simple equation that requires awareness to see all the factors influencing motivation. When we use mindfulness to notice without judgement the factors involved in that choice, we take charge of our motivation. We can then lose the guilt and create a balance of motivation between these competing goals.

Fact:  We tend to focus on the barriers.  The default mode in the brain is searching for problems in order to keep us safe. It is perfectly normal. When we are not paying attention, this dBarriers 2rains motivation for our true goal. We have a strong tendency to forget about all the resources available. Remember though that our brains are very adaptable. (Check out this short video  illustrating neuroplasticity). What we choose to focus on often becomes what the brain learns to focus on more easily. Focus on resources and motivation will not only soar but get easier too!

Fact:  We have way more resources than we realize. Check out the list of powerful resources below. We have many untapped resources through how we think, our environment, and creating a positive support system.  One of the most powerful is the image  of the true goal we started creating  last week.

resources 2

Fact:  Actions follow thoughts. Because we get to choose our focus, we have control over our motivation. Certain barriers are very real – limited time and energy, pain or physical limitations, or not having the know-how needed to change. When we get so focused on these, we lose confidence in the ability of our resources to outweigh the barriers. When we discover our resources, we have power over the barriers.

Bottom Line:  We take control of our motivation by asking three key questions:

  1. What am I telling myself?
  2. What is my environment encouraging?
  3. What are the culture and people around me encouraging?

Each week this month, we will explore one of these questions as they relate to motivation to be well.

Activate It:  Use your mindfulness skills to notice how these factors play out with your own motivation. Notice what you are doing and how the resources and barriers affect that choice. Notice whether your environment is a resource for your true goals. Notice where your thoughts go when you are not paying attention – to the barriers or the resources? What happens when you redirect thoughts to the resources?

May You Be Well,


Janet Huehls, MA, RCEP, CHWC