Did you know that motivation is neurobiologically driven?  Yep – it’s true.  We have a perfect system built into our own brain that helps us achieve any goal that we have in mind.  The challenge with accessing this perfected system is that we need to learn what our system is – how it works, how to fire it up, and how to embrace it!  If we don’t know what drives us or we put a value on the type of motivation that we were innately given we will miss out on a brain powered tool we have to achieve our goals.

There are two ways to be motivated:

  1. In a forward – moving direction – going toward something
  2. By avoidance – going away from something

In the course Neurobiology of Goal Setting and Motivation, by Lisa Wimberger, Founder of The Neurosculpting® Instititute, uses a toothpaste ad as a way to explain the two types of brain based motivation at a really basic level.

There are two ads.  One advertises: “use this product to avoid decay and this ugly mouth” – 50% of the population gets this message, it works for them and they understand and are motivated by it. The other 50% of the population needs another type of advertising to motivate them – “get this beautiful white smile when you use this toothpaste.”

We’ve all seen these types of advertising, and they are driven by neurobiology.  The ad where we are avoiding tooth decay is an “avoidance approach” to motivation; your brain wants to avoid something.  The other ad is a “going toward motivation” approach where we want to look this way, we want to feel this way, we want the lifestyle of the model with the white teeth.

So you have one of two styles of brain-powered motivation you can use in your goal setting – avoidance or going toward.  And guess what, you don’t need to choose one – you just need to think about that toothpaste ad example and which one motivates you more to brush your teeth.  Then you need to not judge your style!…which can be tricky if you come in thinking the way I did.


When I started this Neurosculpting Motivation course I had in my head that I wanted to be a “going toward” person because for some reason that sounded more positive to me than being an “avoid” person.  The truth is it’s neutral.  It’s just a biological preference that you’re using to motivate.  Give up any sort of attachment to one style being better than the other.  At least that’s what I had to do in order to start tapping into my personal motivation style.  It turns out, mine isn’t going toward, mine is avoidance.  


If I’m trying to lose weight – sure I want yo look like those models in Shape Magazine all buff and tan.  But the truth is I think I look okay, so it doesn’t really motivate me to look different; however, if you met my family, you would see that we struggle with weight and as we age we tend to get significantly heavier.  That is something I want to avoid because of the health risks and also how it looks (sorry family for outing you).

When push comes to shove it’s never going to motivate me to look like a model in Shape magazine.  It just doesn’t.  But if you tell me I’m going to look like one of my great aunts, I will get my ass on that treadmill.


So avoidance is my motivator, and when it comes to my goals I need to embrace what I want to avoid (caveat here…I may notice what I don’t want but I still word all of my goals in positive language because that’s how goals and affirmations need to be written to be most effective – but that is another blog!).

So I recommend that if you’re finding that you’re not achieving some of your goals, or you’re not staying as focused on something as you thought you would, check out the Neurobiology Course on Motivation.  It’s so powerful to figure out how your brain motivates and then tap into it.

Maybe we can flip our motivators around.  I don’t know yet; I haven’t explored that, but I have really embraced my avoidance side and am learning to empower it and work it to my advantage.  Find out what your neurobiological motivator is today and start thinking of your goals with that driver in mind – see if you achieve a goal faster than you have before you knew your style!

My name is Susan, and I am a Certified Neurosculpting® Facilitator and the Director of Corporate Programs for the Neurosculpting® Institute. I am also a wife, mom, friend to many, a skier, a boxer and according to my dog – a pretty good dog mom!

I believe it is important for potential clients to understand how I came to Neurosculpting®, as it often connects me to you.