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you get a gold star for that!

Updated: Feb 4

You deserve a gold star! In fact, you deserve a whole sheet of gold stars! Every day.

My clients know that at the start of every session, before we look at what was challenging for them the past week, they get to tell me their wins, no matter how small.

Doing hard things is a win. Thinking about doing hard things is a win. Giving yourself some compassion is a win. Doing 1% better than the day before is a win.

So Where's YOUR Star Chart?

As a remedial reading teacher, I learned many years ago from Rita Pierson that Every Kid Deserves a Champion. Every kid with ADHD needs a champion. Someone to hold up the best version of themselves, someone to remind them that they're smart, or funny, or caring, or passionate, or tenacious or incredibly creative. With research showing that children with ADHD receive over 20 000 more negative messages by the age of 12 than their neurotypical peers, having someone to cheer them on is crucial.

And as an adult, we often have to be that champion for ourselves. Especially if you are fighting years and years of feeling ashamed from being "different" - which happens a lot if you grow up with undiagnosed ADHD.

I'm here to encourage you to counter your feelings of shame and acknowledge the good.

Adulting Gold Stars

Ate too many cookies? Notice the time you walked past the pan and didn't take. You get a gold star for that! Missed an appointment? Notice the other 10 times in the last 3 months you didn't forget. You get a gold star for that! Procrastinated till the last minute? Notice the fact that you got it done! Yup, gold star for that too.

Struggling to stay consistent with a habit? Notice all the times you did stick with it. That's a gold star for every time you did! In fact, neuroscience studies show that there are two cognitive parts to building a habit-pathway in your brain:

  1. Repetition of the behavior and

  2. A positive feeling about your progress.

It doesn't matter how many times you fall off the wagon. When building a habit, what counts is seeing your progress. So get that star chart up on the fridge!

Stop Being Your Own Shame-Police

"No one ever shamed themselves into better mental health." K.C. Davies, How To Keep House While Drowning (Gamechanger of a book, BTW).

We are always our own worst critics. Sometimes, "You should be ashamed of yourself" seems like a personal mantra. But would you speak to your 5 year old like that when they slip up?

Being the Shame Police won't change the past and here's the secret: it won't effectively motivate you to change either. Trust me, encouragingly acknowledging your wins is the way to go. So get your sticker chart up! If that seems weird, keep a "small wins" notebook and write 5 things in it every day. We all have a long to-do list. What about keeping a Ta-Da list?

Award Time!

Got it? Good! Now what gold stars are you giving yourself today? Comment to let us celebrate with you!

Read more about the mistaken beliefs you may have about yourself, from growing up with ADHD.

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