by Kathie England

Better Than Before – Day 27

Wrapping up first steps…

Taking the first step is a powerful strategy for avoiding procrastination. Taking the first step makes it easier to take the second and then the third step because you’ve already started. (Initiating is a frequent challenge for individuals who have ADHD, so taking a very small first step can help.)

The longer we postpone a step, the harder it is to take that step.

Rubin describes her own challenge in making phone calls, so the strategy she practices is “Make the call today!” Making that call has a surprising effect – it opens the door to other next steps and it provides “completion chemistry.”

Completion chemistry results from our brain’s release of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin makes us feel good and it’s a powerful step to allow yourself to experience completion chemistry by pausing to acknowledge the step just taken rather then getting overwhelmed by all the steps yet untaken.

Rubin explains that “taking the first step is hard, and every first step requires some kind of transition.” She says that habits of transition help us to shift gears more calmly. I mentioned my own quandary about what my transition habit for blogging will be after I complete my 30-day commitment. (I’ll be traveling and won’t have opportunities to blog each day. I’m pondering the perspective of blogging each day that is available and not worrying about the days I can’t. And being OK with that transition habit.)

I’m hoping that my daily blogging for 30 days, my Blast Start, has given me the momentum to realize frequent blogging is something I can do – not something to avoid and it’s OK if it doesn’t happen every day.

Another valuable strategy is to pair a new habit with something you already do on a regular basis. Rubin describes how she decided to brush her teeth after eating dinner rather than just before she went to bed as a way to avoid evening snacks. (The new habit she wanted to develop was not snacking in the evening.) 

I previously mentioned my own strategy of brushing my teeth each evening right after taking off my makeup rather than waiting until just before I go to bed. This pairing has been very effective for me.

As I reached the end of Rubin’s chapter about first steps, I realized there is more I want to share than I had anticipated yesterday, so tomorrow will be the wrap-up day for first steps.