When motivation is a struggle, it’s time to realign your why

In this episode, we’re exploring an aspect of change that can be really tricky: figuring out why making this change is important to you.

It doesn’t sound like it would be that hard.  But often it takes a little digging to get at the true heart of our WHY, our compelling reason. 

Whether your goals have to do with your health, finances, career, relationships, or anything else, uncovering your compelling reason is crucial. Because it not only increases your chances of success; it also bolsters your overall mental and emotional health. 

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Here’s why achieving your goals may not make your life better

We are a society of goal-setters. If you’re not setting and achieving goals, you’re not living your best life. Or so we’re told. And goals do have their place. The thing is that goals (alone) are not enough to really move us forward in the ways that matter most. In order to that, they have to be woven into a larger fabric that also includes our core values. In this episode, we talk about how to do that.

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How to do the things that you don’t want to do

Why is it sometimes so darned hard to just do the things that we KNOW will make us healthier, happier and more effective in our jobs and lives?

Behavioral activation offers us a framework for understanding and responding to that familiar situation of not wanting to do the thing that we know will actually move us forward.

Joining me on the show today is Dr. Bethy Campbell, a clinical psychologist, teacher, and coach who regularly stops by the Change Academy to help us make sense of our own brains.

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How behavior change experts work on their own difficult habits

Kurt Nelson and Tim Houlihan are the co-hosts of the Behavioral Grooves podcast and heavy hitters in the behavioral sciences. In this episode, the three of us trade notes on what we’ve learned from years of podcasting and behavioral coaching and how it impacts our ability to work with our own behavior challenges. (Yup, we still have them!)

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Why we can’t help comparing ourselves to others

It’s a very natural human tendency to compare ourselves to the people around us–and even to the people we see portrayed in the media. And like so many other behavioral tendencies, this one is a double-edged sword.  Looking at what others have achieved can inspire us to greater effort. It can also make us feel like crap. And we don’t want that!

Today, we’re delving into the psychology behind why we are driven to compare ourselves to others, the impact it can have on our mental well-being, and some strategies to help you avoid the compare-and-despair cycle.

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Why behavioral economics shouldn’t be the only tool in the toolbox

Behavioral economics has given us a lot of insights into how we can influence our own and other’s behavior. But the approach has some serious limitations, especially when applied to promoting health behaviors.

Joining me on the podcast is Michelle Segar, a frequent guest here on the Change Academy. Michelle is an NIH-funded researcher at the University of Michigan. She’s also a best-selling author and health coach whose work focuses on fostering behavior change that can survive the complexity and unpredictability of the real world. 

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Looking for happiness in all the wrong places, with Oliver Burkeman

What if the pursuit of happiness is NOT the path to greater life satisfaction? What if being more productive and getting more done isn’t actually the way to get ahead?

In today’s episode, I’m talking to author Oliver Burkeman about some of the ways in which we might want to re-examine our relationship to goals, happiness, and the things that are most important to us.

This is sometimes a bit painful. because so much of it has to do with confronting some of the hard limits that we like to pretend don’t exist. But, as you’ll hear, there is ultimately a profound relief and freedom to be found in facing finitude.

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How to get back on track instead of sabotaging your progress

Over the years, I have worked with a lot of people on various aspects of behavior change–mostly having to do with health behaviors.  I have witnessed and celebrated some amazing breakthroughs and successes.  

But I have also seen people stumble and struggle. Regularly. Something happens and they fall back into old habits or patterns that they’d successfully moved away from. 

It’s disappointing but it’s not a tragedy.  Because this is just part of the change process. What I do find tragic–and unnecessary–is when these lapses cause people to people give up entirely.

Today, we’re going to talk about how to survive these inevitable episodes and get yourself back in the game more quickly.

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How to stop complaining and find the path to positive change

Is there something in your life that’s been driving you crazy for a while? Some situation at work that you find yourself venting to your spouse about every night at dinner? Or maybe a recurring conflict with your partner or your kids that never seems to be adequately resolved? Do you find yourself ruminating over a problematic situation every time you have a moment alone in the car? 

In this episode, Dr. Bethy Campbell and I are sharing a 4-step process that can help you exit that complaint loop and actually move toward positive change. Bethy is a clinical psychologist, a marriage and family therapist .

The technique that we’re talking about today is taken from her book on Helping Skills, a book that would be a great resource if you are in a situation where you’re frequently called upon to provide guidance and emotional support.

But this absolutely an approach that can (and should) apply to your own knotty situations.

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The inner work that makes outward change more possible

In this conversation with a recent “graduate” of the Weighless program, Lauren shares some of the key insights that helped her permanently transform her physical and mental health.

Lauren is a healthcare professional herself, with a front row seat to some of the consequences of unhealthy habits and lifestyles. She had plenty of motivation to change. And yet, she still needed some support to turn that knowledge into consistent behavior change.

As you’ll hear, Lauren was a little surprised at how much of the work of behavior and lifestyle change is actually about some key mental shifts–including one that really struck me as critical.

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