Tame your Gremlin Once and for All!



Ever heard of Negativity Bias? It's that evolutionary trick our minds play on us that makes the negative things in our lives stand out more, and allows all the positives to be overlooked.


On Goals & Gremlins

Let's say you want to work towards a goal. Whether you're excited or fed up, you tell yourself, “That’s it! From now on I am going to…”

  • Eat vegetables with every meal

  • Not use social media at work

  • Go to sleep before midnight

  • Walk every morning

  • Clean the kitchen before I go to sleep

  • Take 10 min every morning to plan my day

  • Other positive change


How This Gremlin Works

You’re motivated and feel good about your commitment.


Day 1, you succeed. You feel great.

Day 2, you succeed again. You got this!

Day 3, you succeed but it seems a little less fun.

Day 4, it feels like a chore and you half-heartedly do it.

Day 5, a legitimate fire that needs putting out gets in the way of you doing it. Day 6, you’re just not feeling it.

Day 7, you failed. You feel despondent. This always happens with you. You can’t stick with anything! You give up.

Sound familiar? What if I told you you have a gremlin in your brain called Negativity Bias? This little gremlin thinks he has your back. He’s wired to point out to you all the negative in the world.

gif

Is Negativity Bias Really Positive?

He was created millennia ago in order for us to survive. Back then, if we were too distracted by the pretty flowers to notice the tiger creeping up on us, there would be no more us! If we didn’t notice the bad-smelling meat, we’d get sick from eating it.

But old Negativity Bias gremlin is not keeping up with the times. He’s archaic, outmoded, defunct.


Yes, he has good intentions. He's trying to protect you, but he doesn’t have an accurate picture of what’s really going on.

You Do the Math

Going back to that example about working towards a goal:

Day 1, you succeed. You feel great.

Day 2, you succeed again. You got this!

Day 3, you succeed but it seems a little less fun.

Day 4, it feels like a chore and you half-heartedly do it.

Day 5, a legitimate fire that needs putting out gets in the way of you doing it.

Day 6, you’re just not feeling it.

Day 7, you failed. You feel despondent. This always happens with you. You can’t stick with anything! You give up.

Did you see that? 4/7 times, YOU DID IT! That’s more than 50% success. And in your first week no less!


gif

So it’s time to turn to that gremlin and say, "Thanks for worrying about me, I appreciate your concern, but I got it from here." And then keep at it in week 2.

How to Persevere When You Have ADHD


  • Visually track your successes. Remember you have to work harder to notice the positive, so make it stand out:

  • Put a chart on the fridge

  • Use a habit-tracking app. Try a fun one like Habitica or Fabulous.

  • Try this fun and tactile way for a creative brains to track: Coloring Habit Trackers



  • Incentivize along the way. ADHD brains are “future-blind”. They need more immediate rewards than the intangible reward that comes at the end of a long hard slog. So how and when will you give yourself little rewards?

  • That doesn't mean the long-term reward is irrelevant. You just need to have a way to keep it more front and center:

  • Stick up a picture of you looking your best.

  • Take a picture of the clean kitchen and stick it on the fridge.

  • Play vital, energetic music at the start of a walk to remind you of the benefits.


  • Let go of perfection. It’s a unicorn. Progress over time is what we’re going for over here.

  • Notice the ADHD urge for things to happen quickly and easily. And then remind yourself that slow and steady wins the race, especially if you want something to stick.


Little by Little, A Little Becomes A Lot.


Imagine feeling good about yourself even on days when things get in the way of working towards your goals. Which is going to help you more persevere? Beating yourself up or acknowledging and focusing on the wins, small as they may seem?


Babs Rangaiah

Think back to that day 7 above. Even if you succeeded 2/7 days. You didn’t do it 5 times. No amount of feeling bad about yourself is going to change that fact. But what will be more helpful to you on day 8? Feeling crap or feeling hopeful?

Spoiler alert: It's feeling hopeful! And trust me, I know first hand. I recently discovered this when I chose to write down my food choice successes of every day, even though I made bad choices every day too. When I only focus on my bad choices, I feel like a failure. When I focus on my good choices, I feel hopeful.


If you don't believe me, try if for yourself! Keep a success journal for your goal.

And if your goal is to build a habit, try my latest guide: The Good Habits Guide.



So what's a goal are you working towards? Where can you benefit from focusing more on the positive? Comment below to let me know.

9 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All