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ep.04: How to Do What You Say You Will

Are you constantly disappointed in yourself for breaking personal promises? Do you ever wish you had more discipline to finally accomplish what you say you'll do when you say you'll do it? This week, we're addressing these age-old struggles with a simple, five-step process designed to help you build the skill of self-discipline.

Listen in as we discuss the importance of accountability, how to handle the inevitable challenges that come with change, and why it's crucial to celebrate your wins, no matter how small. Tune in and let's start this journey together.

Learn how applying these tools could be a game-changer for your ADHD journey!

Coming soon, I'm rolling out The ADHD Academy! Click here to learn more!

What you'll learn:

  • Effective strategies for sticking to plans

  • How to build and strengthen self-discipline through a five-step process

  • The role of accountability in building self-discipline

  • How to handle obstacles and challenges that arise when trying to change

"Find one small area to practice this skill for yourself. You'll build a strong, healthy relationship with yourself and once you learn this skill in one area, you can just transfer what you learned to another area in your life."

Useful links mentioned:

Listen to the Episode:

Click here to read the transcript:

Welcome to Learn to Thrive with ADHD. This is the podcast for adults with ADHD or ADHD-like symptoms. I'm your host, Coach Mande John. I'm here to make your life with ADHD easier. Let's get started.

I know we all wish we had more self-discipline. I always share with my clients about this day that I was really frustrated with myself. I remember exactly where I was standing in my bedroom and my thought was if I could just do what I said I would do when I said I would do it, I would have no problems. And isn't that true? People tell me all the time I know what to do, I just don't know how to make myself do it.

So, let's talk about how to build the skill of self-discipline, and I'm going to put this out in five steps.

Step 1, what do you want? I like this question because if we've been letting ourselves down for a long time, breaking promises to ourselves, we can often stop wanting things as a way to avoid pain. Each time we don't do what we say, it hurts, it chips away at our relationship with ourselves and often we make it mean terrible things about ourselves.

It's time to let the past be the past and start anew. What do you want? If you could have anything, if you could be any kind of person, if you couldn't fail, what would you want? And I want you to write it down. There are no wrong answers. I like to tell my clients something I hear from my coach, which is you can want what you want, just because you want it.

Step 2, what would it take to get there? So, with this, you're going to go from an aerial view to a microscopic view. An example might be if you want to get in the best shape of your life, what would need to happen? Diet, exercise, better sleep? What would you need to start doing and what might you have to stop doing? What habits, routines and structures would need to be put into place? Be sure to keep this simple.

Sometimes it helps to categorize the things that need to happen and now break it down to the smallest changes that feel doable to you that you could start today. These things would move you towards this goal. How will you remember to do these things? How many times have you started to make a change and by noon you forgot that you even had a plan? Make it obvious. Use post-its. Print out your plan, put it on your phone's home screen, email it to yourself. Put it on your calendar with alerts.

I hear you telling me right now what doesn't work for you. Find something that does work, and it doesn't have to work long term. What you can do is find what I like to say with my clients is kind of a bag of tricks, and you're going to collect some of these things that work for you and then switch them up. If it worked last week and it's not working this week, don't make it mean it doesn't work. It's just not working right now. Put it back in the bag. Pull out a new trick.

Maybe you print a plan one week and then you find that you're losing it or you're not looking at it. Put it on the calendar that pops up on your phone as an alert.

Do whatever you need to do to make this work and be okay with changing things.

Step 3, get some accountability. We will always do better for others than we do for ourselves until we build the skill of keeping promises to ourselves. Find someone that will hold you accountable without shaming you but won't let you off the hook. This might be a family member, a friend or even a coach like me.

Step 4, expect curve balls. Making change is not easy. Expect it to be challenging. Don't be surprised. Our brain likes to seek pleasure, avoid pain. Keep everything the same, even when more of the same is not what you want, and its main goal is to keep you safe.

When challenges come, instead of getting upset, just say, oh, here's the challenge I knew was coming. How can I overcome this challenge? Do I need to do something differently or do I just need to keep trying until it gets better?

Step 5, celebrate your wins, even the small ones, every day. Find the things that you did right, and just observe and learn from the things you did wrong. We get more of what we focus on, so focus on the good things. Tell someone that is supportive about your wins. With my private one-on-one clients, at the start of every session we gather their wins.

That happened since we met last, and I find that if we don't do this, we tend to gloss over our success unless we share it with someone that's going to celebrate with us. So, this whole process is not easy, but it's worth it.

When I was working on this with my coaches, they would remind me that I was practicing the skill of self-discipline. It's a skill we can learn, and it made me feel better to remember that I was practicing, because we don't expect to be perfect. When we're practicing, it makes it easier to not beat up on yourself when things don't go well, which will set us up to more easily try again.

Find one small area to practice this skill for yourself. You'll build a strong, healthy relationship with yourself and once you learn this skill in one area, you can just transfer what you learned to another area in your life. This is how you learn to do what you say you will do when you say you'll do it.

Thank you for your time, and especially for your attention today. If you haven't looked into the ADHD Academy, you'll want to do that. This is my membership, with binge-able courses, weekly life coaching, new courses every month, a community of like-minded people and more.

Be sure to head over to to get the details.

See you next week.

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