Motivation, Planning & Transformation: Reaching our Goals

Motivation, Planning & Transformation: Reaching our Goals

Some call it growth and others say it’s maturation. Unquestionably any personal or professional advancement necessitates the evolution of the self. We all seem to at some point in our lives need and want to better ourselves. The challenge of self improvement undeniably shares a frontier with the race against time. Accomplishing our goals in the moment and even our long term plans requires more than just planning to experience positive outcomes in our lives. At the very heart of goal-setting and poised between our desired outcome is the human drive to challenge ourselves beyond what’s comfortable until the very limits of our nature is transformed into an agency equipped to confront the challenges we set out to overcome. There is no question that timely and effective transformation is central to performing better at work, being successful in our personal lives, and ultimately, the signature par excellence of good mental health practice.

Motivation & the drive to Self-Improvement

What motivates you? Is it observing other people be successful in their lives? Is it wanting more? Or something far less tangible and internal that drive you to reach further? Either way, motivation requires energy and clear thinking to identify the next steps you believe is the right path to take in life. Clear thinking means rigorous self-regulation and daily monitoring of your physical and mental health to create a space for identification and the marking of what’s needs adjustment in your routine and habits. Without daily maintenance of the body and mind it’s nearly impossible to harness the energy to think beyond the most immediate aspects of your life. Energy drives our cellular operations and it sets the pace for our personal development. Setting the right pace will mean not exhausting your kinetic resources. Sustainability is not just an environmental trend. It is most certainly a staple of good mental health and the prerequisite for creating a space for motivation to capture our imagination and map out a better plan for ourselves.


The foundation for setting a new course for ourselves is planning. This means more than just putting pen to paper and writing downs steps. This means, circling back to the importance of motivation, blocking off and setting aside the energy needed to maintain progress and the work required to achieve your goals. On a even more tangible and visceral level, this means physically setting aside food, money, clothing; all of the everyday goods and commodities needed to carry out your day without incident. My point is that there will be times when you may not be able to pause and re collect yourself, and, there may be times when you cannot buy food or do a wash. You may need to have extras of everything to keep progress moving and ward off the halting power of mistakes from inadequate planning. While I listed material resources, conserving mental resources for clear thinking and mental status regulation are just as critical during the planning stages. Good outcomes and long term plans are realized by the combined mental & physical sustainability of our resources to carry progress forward with an energy that matches the enormity of transformation we are to experience in successful outcomes.


The stage of change that has movement and direction is transformation of motivation aka realizing our dreams for the self, into a refined and conserved energy, to ultimately yield the outcome we set out from the very point of departure of wanting something greater for ourselves. It is a powerful stage of change but it also requires careful and articulated execution of previous plans which may no longer be relevant to the tasks at hand. Therefore, there is undeniably an element of the unknown to explore and master when transforming what was into tomorrow’s future. Knowing how to remain calm and purposeful during times of uncertainty is what will decide how powerful your impact will be in creating lasting growth and transformation from what was into the game-changing difference you had been seeking to experience in the next phase of your life.

J. Peters

J. Peters

Max Guttman '08, MSW '12, is the owner of Recovery Now, a private mental health practice. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist and disability rights advocate, Max fights for those without a voice in various New York City care systems. He received a 2020 Bearcats of the Last Decade 10 Under 10 award from the Binghamton University Alumni Association. Guttman treats clients with anxiety and depression, but specializes in issues related to psychosis or schizoaffective spectrum disorders. He frequently writes on his lived experiences with schizophrenia. "I knew my illness was so complex that I’d need a professional understanding of its treatment to gain any real momentum in recovery," Guttman says. "After undergraduate school and the onset of my illness, I evaluated different graduate programs that could serve as a career and mechanism to guide and direct my self-care. After experiencing the helping hand of my social worker and therapist right after my 'break,' I chose social work education because of its robust skill set and foundation of knowledge I needed to heal and help others." "In a world of increasing tragedy, we should help people learn from our lived experiences. My experience brings humility, authenticity and candidness to my practice. People genuinely appreciate candidness when it comes to their health and recovery. Humility provides space for mistakes and appraisal of progress. I thank my lived experience for contributing to a more egalitarian therapeutic experience for my clients."

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