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ep.19: Positive vs. Negative Accountability

For those of us with ADHD, ever wondered why it's easier to do challenging tasks when someone else is keeping tabs on you? We get into the nitty-gritty of that in today's episode as we explore the concept of positive accountability and exactly how to put this into practice in your life.

I'll share tips on how to create your own accountability system, whether it's finding the right supportive partners, setting achievable intentions, or rewarding yourself for a job well done.

Tune in to learn how to manage setbacks positively and maintain a healthy mindset.

Click here to learn more about enrolling in The ADHD Academy!

What you'll learn:

  • How positive accountability can be beneficial for people with ADHD

  • How to transform your mindset, set clear goals, and handle setbacks

  • Practical strategies to recognize your achievements

  • Tips on creating your own accountability system

"Yes, ADHD has its challenges, but with positive accountability, you can turn those challenges into opportunities for growth."

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.

Today, I want to talk to you about positive accountability. For those of us with ADHD, accountability can be very motivating. Why is it so much easier to do hard things, if someone else is watching than it is to do these things if no one else really knows? We will answer that question today and we'll talk about what positive accountability is and exactly how to put this into practice in your life.

What happens when you want to do something and no one else knows? It becomes very easy to put it off, negotiate with yourself or drop it all together, right? People have different ideas of accountability. Accountability has a long history of negativity. So, what is the difference between negative and positive accountability?

Let's start with the definition. This is one from Merriam Webster, the quality or state of being accountable, especially an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or account for one's actions. Many of the examples for this definition are about holding someone accountable for their actions because they've done something wrong.

And then someone with more power comes in and gives the consequences for these actions. It's true that consequences shape behavior, but as you know, if you try to give yourself negative consequences to motivate yourself, this will only last for so long. Whereas if you give yourself positive rewards, which feels good.

And it's more sustainable. That's a hint into part of what we'll be talking about later in the episode. So positive accountability is taking personal ownership and empowerment with clear goals and room for failure, and then noticing what went right where I'm getting a lot of the ideas, I'm sharing here is from a book called uncommon accountability, a radical new approach to greater success and fulfillment.

This is by the same authors, Brian Moran and Michael Lennington that wrote one of my very favorite books, the 12-week year. If you haven't read this one yet, I have a YouTube video that is a really great summary about why I think this approach of the 12-week year with goal setting is perfect for the ADHD brain.

The link to that video will be in the show notes. I started incorporating these ideas into my coaching and into our membership, the ADHD Academy, where we have an accountability group, where we do exactly what I'll teach you here. If you want to join us, you can go to, and you can get instant access there.

Accountability is a big part of what I do when I'm working with my one-on-one clients. They're showing up for their sessions. That's one part of the accountability. And when they show up, they've delivered on what they said they were going to do last session. Now, what if they don't, that is where we don't shame and blame, but instead we question and re strategize to help make the things that my clients want to make happen, happen.

So how do you apply this in your own life? And what are the details to questioning and re strategizing that you can do as you're coaching yourself? So, number one, find partners to be accountable with. Supportive family and friends. These are going to be people that are going to be positive and help you work through your blogs and also follow through on checking in and asking questions.

Mentors and coaches. Perhaps you already have mentors and coaches in your life. In general, or ones that are specific to what you want to accomplish groups or classes, sometimes it's so much easier to do something. If you are showing up to a specific group or a class surrounded by others with similar goals, think of a walking group or a painting class, or you could use an online group.

Okay. Now that you have your people, what's next? Let's set some rules. Some of my clients don't like the word rules. So, if that's, so if you're one of those people, what you can do is call them guidelines instead, whatever you prefer. So, if you're going to say guidelines, guideline, number one, state your intentions.

This means to tell your accountability partner or partners, what you plan to do. This does not have to be something huge, and it can be in any category of your life. You choose, make this very simple at first. If you're concerned about follow through. There is nothing too small because no matter what you're doing, you're building a skill that you can use for anything.

Number two, write it down. This seems simple, but it's so important. Have your intention or intentions written somewhere where you can see it. It matters for your ADHD brain, and it will go a long way to making sure that you don't forget or dismiss doing it. Number three, report back. Too often people get really hung up.

This is where with your accountability partner or partners, you'll want to make sure that they'll be asking you if they don't hear back from you. Number four, no excuses. They aren't useful in your report back. They don't make you feel good, and you just don't need them. Instead of excusing yourself, you'll report what you might do differently next time.

Ask yourself questions like what worked and what didn't work so that you can come to this conclusion for yourself. For example, you might have decided to go to the gym at a time that you had responsibilities elsewhere. The problem is just the wrong time for the gym. Number five, notice what's going right.

Our brains are wired to notice what's going wrong. This is a protection that's built into us. When you notice what's going right, your focus is on the positive. You're feeling better, and when you're feeling better, you're doing better. Number six, do it daily. If possible, make this a daily habit. The more opportunities you get to do what you said you were going to do, the better you're building the muscle of being a person that follows through on their intentions.

And with that skill, you can accomplish anything. Number seven rewards, the more immediate, the better. Sometimes the reward could be praised from your accountability partner or for yourself. Maybe it's your favorite drink or fun, relaxing activity. So many people want to skip this part, but don't you followed through, and you deserve the reward.

An obstacle you can run into is missing a day or two and then feeling like you might want to quit altogether. I encourage you to dismiss any negative self-talk and start right back. You may have to do this several times and that's okay. Your accountability partner will understand, but as long as you keep trying, this process will become easier and easier for you to do consistently.

What you're doing here is taking personal ownership for your goals, actions, and progress. Being more accountable will lead to greater success in life. I want to reiterate that this is an essential skill for getting what you want in life, and you deserve what you want. So, my client, what are your action items from this?

First, find an accountability partner or partners. Next, make a list of what you want your goals. And then lastly, get started and don't let anything stop you. I want to thank you for lending me your time and attention today. I want to hear how this goes for you. You can find me anywhere on any of the socials of Learn To Thrive with ADHD. I'll see you next week.

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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