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hj-headphones-headshot-2016-croppedHey there, it's me, Howard.

My mind has been buzzing lately, full of input from some of the guests I've interviewed over the past few months. It's like they've been talking with each other, in my mind, and I have these momentary revelations and confusions as I go on runs, sit down to write, and lay awake at night when I'm not tired enough to sleep.

These guests include Bob Cafaro, the cellist who cured his MS; Jamie Gannon, who whipped brain cancer; Rich Roll, ultra-athlete, A-level podcaster, and author; Marc Schoen, the psychologist who wrote Your Survival Instinct is Killing You; Vlad Chituc, social science researcher and “almost-vegan” strategist; Glenn Murphy, my martial arts instructor and stress-proofing consultant;  Glenn Livingston, psychologist and author of Never Binge Again; and Peter Bregman, long-time friend and advisor, and author of Four Seconds: All the Time You Need to Stop Counterproductive Habits and Get the Results You Want.

The other voices in my head comprise two groups: my coaching clients and students who are still struggling to adopt a healthy lifestyle, and a small group of “ultras” who have gone beyond health and fitness to stretch their limits and explore the outer reachers of their potential: Josh LaJaunie, and many of the guests on Rich Roll's most excellent and inspiring podcast.

So for my own benefit, and hopefully for yours, I wanted to carve out an hour to put my thoughts together.

Specifically, I wanted to talk about our motivations to change, and which ones seem to lead to success as opposed to continual struggle and backsliding.

My wife Mia agreed to help me make it a conversation rather than a monologue. Our chat took me to unexpected places, and to insights that I think may be useful (and possibly even right).

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.


Josh LaJaunie's website

Josh LaJaunie's story on the Rich Roll Podcast: First Appearance | Second Appearance

Peter Bregman's article

Stephen Jenkinson's work on dying consciously and wisely 

Lonely Island with Kendrick Lamar and Adam Levine: Yolo (NSFW)

Temperance Tarot Card

Never Binge Again, by Glenn Livingston, PhD

The Power of Fifty Bits, by Bob Nease

Support the Podcast

Like what you hear? You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by becoming a patron. Click the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.


Thanks to Josh LaJaunie for his life and running coaching, to Mia Genis for agreeing to neglect the garden for an hour on a sunny Tuesday afternoon to help me record this episode, to all the guests who have challenged my thinking, and to the following Plant Yourself Podcast patrons:

  • Kim Harrison
  • Lynn McLellan
  • Anthony Dissen
  • Brittany Porter
  • Dominic Marro
  • Elizabeth Clifton
  • Barbara Whitney
  • Tammy Black
  • Amy Good
  • Amanda Hatherly
  • Mary Jane Wheeler
  • Ellen Kennelly
  • Melissa Cobb
  • Rachel Behrens
  • Tina Scharf
  • Jen Vilkinofsky 


Check out my online TV show, Triangle Be Well. This week I talk with Zan Ballantyne of about cultivating peace and stillness through yoga and meditation.

I can help you navigate the medical system and adopt a healthy lifestyle

I'm available for one-on-one consulting and coaching to help you navigate the medical system, make informed decisions, take control of your health destiny, and achieve true wellness and not just medical management of disease.

Ask your questions or share your feedback

Comment on the show notes for this episode (below)
Call 919-794-3735 to leave a voicemail

Connect with me

Visit Howard Jacobson's health consulting site,
Subscribe, rate, and review in iTunes
Join the Plant Yourself Facebook Page


The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


This post may contain amazon affiliate links. I may receive amazon gift certificates from your actions on such links.

6 comments on “Howard Jacobson on Motivation and Transformation: PYP 156

  1. Dominic P. Marro says:

    Your example of running a 50-K ultra is certainly a good example of striving for a big goal that will give you a sense of achievement.

    People are coached into breaking down big goals into little steps.

    This thought popped into my head based on something you said.

    People often decide not to feel satisfied when they achieve a little step for fear that this will prevent them from keeping their eyes on the big prize.

    However, this way of thinking may backfire by making each attempt at a little step an exercise in drudgery. Maybe it would be best if people celebrate each little step as if it were a big step.

    So if you run 7.2 miles tomorrow, instead of 7.0 miles, don’t look at it as a small dent in your quest to run 30.5 miles. Treat it like a big deal. Then you are more likely to look forward to the next little step.

    1. Howard says:

      Well put. I’m now practicing viewing everything through the lens of a warrior. That 0.2 miles is a big deal if it helps me bust a prior limitation. Similarly, that chocolate in front of me is a devious foe, seeking to seduce me from the path of glory.

      It’s kind of intense, and I don’t know the long term effects, but I’m having fun, anyway…

  2. Wayne Pedersen says:

    More of this type please!

  3. Great show. Ironically, I listened to this while doing my workout at the gym where I teach fitness classes. I often tell my participants that athletes crave that “discomfort” zone. While it is painful, it is also a sign that you are pushing your limits and growing stronger. Outside of the gym, this lesson stays with me whenever I reflect on past struggles — the most uncomfortable experiences (ie painful) have often made me the strongest and taught me the most about who I am. I appreciate your reflection on the topic, especially how it seems to be a common theme. No excuses 🙂

    1. Howard says:

      Thanks for sharing your experiences. I’m just starting to appreciate the value of a discomfort zone in my real life, and not just in Facebook memes 😉

  4. Thank You says:


    Thank You for sharing your struggles with us, love podcasts like these. A simply way to make yourself uncomfortable every day, is to shower/bathe in cold water; no matter the weather. One will never outgrow this discomfort, as the body will never get used to the cold. Even if for one day or several days it feels easier. Eventually the body will complain again.

    Thank You for another informative podcast; keep them coming.

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