In school, I was never a fan of chemistry. However, now I find the chemistry in our brains fascinating.

Chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins help to keep us safe and happy.

Dopamine, in particular, is interesting because the ADHD brain has lower levels of dopamine compared to non-ADHD brains. This can lead to classic ADHD challenges, such as difficulties with focus and concentration.

 

Dopamine is associated with pleasure, reward, satisfaction, and motivation.

Strategies for Increasing Dopamine Levels

There are ways to increase dopamine levels, such as prescribed ADHD meds, and things you can do on your own, including all the steps I write about in the Untapped Brilliance book, such as taking an omega-3, regular exercise, and practicing meditation.

There is something else that increases dopamine…getting things done!

When you set a goal and achieve it, you get a shot of dopamine and feel good. Because we like the good feeling, we naturally want to achieve something else.

This is why you often feel motivated to tackle another task immediately after accomplishing something you’ve been avoiding, like making a difficult phone call.

The Power of Setting Small, Achievable Goals

Here’s a fun hack.

Human brains don’t distinguish between big goals and small goals.
It just rewards you for accomplishing something you set out to do.

You can use this to your advantage and set small, achievable goals for yourself every day.

Head ups.
This might feel strange at first because if you are like lots of ADHDers, you might have high standards for yourself and usually only allow yourself to feel good after achieving something BIG.

For example, if you were studying for a degree, you could wait 4 years until the degree is completely finished to feel good. Or you could set mini goals for yourself every day of the journey and tap into the productivity benefits of dopamine.

Remember, big achievements are the result of many small ones. So don’t discount the importance of these smaller victories, as they are vital to success.

Balancing Difficulty Level

Another trick for increasing dopamine daily is setting your mini goals at just the difficulty level. If they are too easy, you won’t get that satisfied feeling.
On the other hand, if they are too difficult, you may become discouraged and give up. So, experiment a little to find the sweet spot of challenging yet achievable mini-goals to boost your motivation and productivity.

Your challenge this week is to…

1) Break a goal into small achievable parts

2) Achieve a mini goal every day

3) Notice and enjoy the sense of satisfaction and your dopamine shot!

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