Starting A New Routine or Habit Neurodiverse and Different Thinker Style – You Can’t Depend on Your Executive Function Alone

Last week in one of my book clubs, it happens to be the Worthy by Jamie Kern Lima book club, our homework was to do mirror work daily.
(If you just got sidetracked with the story wondering what mirror work is, I will tell you later, if you can’t move forward until you know what it is, jump to the bottom where I explain the process.)

As soon I heard this was the homework and that the group was taking this on as the goal, I asked myself a key question.
“Do I want to be successful at this? Do I have the time?” I answered “yes” to both.

The next question I asked myself was, “What would I need to do to return to this meeting next week and share with them how the process went and what I learned?”


First and foremost, I needed to know what the directions were and what each step would be for me to be successful.

Here are the exact directions:
“Every morning for the next week do this.
After each session record your insights into the workbook.”

What are the action steps that have to be taken to achieve this goal?

A. At a specific time, I need to do a thing
B. I need to read these statements
C. I need to do this in a specific location
D. I need to write down my experience

Steps for Success with Mirror Work Project

A. At a specific time, I need to do a thing
The fastest and easiest way to achieve this goal is to habit stack.
I know that I brush my teeth each morning because I can’t stand the feeling of morning mouth. That tells me this is something I should do after I brush my teeth.

B. I need to read these statements
Ease of access.
I know that I need to remove any issues with finding and having access to the statements I need to read.
The best way to do that is to have them in the location I will be doing the thing. In this case that is in my bathroom looking in the mirror.

The statements are part of a workbook, I don’t want the whole workbook in the bathroom for everyone to see, read, or for me to lose track of. No, it needs to be focused just on this project.

I made a photocopy of the two pages. The one with the statement and the page I needed to record my observations.
Now I have two pieces of loose paper to have sitting around my bathroom counter, that’s not a win for me, I could lose that, get it wet, and it takes up so much space. Also, because I am highly visual it won’t really stand out.
BONUS: Add in a bright-colored folder. I got out a bright green folder to put my two pieces of loose paper.
Now I can lean the folder on the wall or mirror in my bathroom, and it will be obvious to my eyes while I am doing the first habit I always do, brush my teeth.

C. I need to do this in a specific location
Habit stack
Are there any habits I do that are in front of a mirror?
Yes, I brush my teeth in the morning. Since I need to be in front of a mirror this is the best way for me to achieve this goal.
My green folder with my two sheets of paper needs to go into the bathroom, by the mirror, in a place I can see it and it won’t get wet.

If you have to go to a different location, I would place my file in a location I do often go to and I would write on the outside of the file the location I need to go to.
“GO!! Main Bathroom Mirror Early Morning”

D. I Need to Write Down My Experience
All the supplies in one location
What type of writing utensil do I want to use to achieve my goal? Pen or Pencil?
Pencil. I then placed a mechanical pencil on the top of the folder and placed the folder in the location.

BONUS: Write on the Mirror. I then wrote on the mirror with a dry-erase marker M T W TH F S SU so I could cross off the day of the week that I already did.
Just in case I don’t do it right away in the morning and I am wondering did I so this thing today? I can look at that on the mirror and see if I did or didn’t.
IMPORTANT FACT: The extra bonus of doing this step is it adds the little bit of dopamine that neurotypical people often get naturally. Adding a check box to your process improves that it will get done.

EXTRA ACCOUNTABILITY: Since I was doing this with other people, I sent a DM each day of having achieved the goal for the day.
It helped me to be accountable and it helped others to reach their goal. I know that I work best in a team-focused environment. I use it whenever I can.

DONE! I have everything in place to have as successful an outcome as I can make happen.

For those of you who are not neurodiverse, I bet you just read through this and thought holy cow those are a lot of steps and what a lot of time. YEP.
Welcome to the world of fluid time and less structure.
These are the steps many of us need to take to have structure and achieve outcomes and be successful.  It can lead to something called neurodiversity fatigue.

Brain fatigue is often why at the end of the day we have no more juice in our battery and can’t decide what to make for dinner or do a million other things well.
(Want to know more about neurodiversity fatigue? Look it up or come back in a month. That is going to be the main blog for next month.)

That whole process is typically put under the category of brain function called, “Executive Function.”
What comes naturally for some people, breaking down a project and doing it, does not come naturally to others.
For those of us who need to do it differently, it often looks like this. It requires extra time, attention, and detail.

Another key factor I want to point out is that I have intentionally spent years on self-improvement work.
From books to workshops, to now being in classes monthly I have learned who I am, how I tick, and how I can be the most successful with my time and my brain.
It does not have to take you 30+ years to figure that out. That is why I coach, teach, write, podcast, and speak to help speed up that process for people so they can feel and be more successful in their life.

OK, I promised I would explain mirror work.
It is when you look yourself right in the eyes in a mirror. Take a deep breath and say nice things to yourself or ask yourself some important questions.
Here are a few examples from Jamie Kern Lima’s Worthy book.

(Your name), I love you. I really, really love you.

(Your name), I love you, what can I do for you today?

(Your name), I love you, and I forgive you.

If you want access to Jamie’s whole Worthy morning routine check this out.


I bet you are wondering if I was successful with my goal.
I did achieve the goal and the experience was a learning process.
I realized some things about myself and how I could talk to myself with more kindness and support.
I talk to other people that way, why am I not coaching myself with the same amount of love and compassion more of the time?  I am now.

I hope this article has inspired you to embrace your success and set yourself up for success as often as possible.
I have a special thanks to a couple of the members of my book club who asked me how I made this happen.
That question helped me realize that I do these things so naturally now that I don’t think about it and I don’t share it often enough. Thanks, Worthy Team!

If you could use some help learning this process and getting to know your brain and style better, I might be the right coach for you.

Schedule a free coaching call and let us find out.


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