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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

Archive for December, 2017

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Resolve to “Go Micro”

After tonight’s killer boot camp, the instructor announced that between January and March a flood of new, resolute members will descend upon the gym. We were asked to be patient and encouraging to new members. She assured us that, come mid-March, our class size will normalize with only a few new members remaining.

Why does this happen? Combine the pressure to regularly get to the gym, to be patient and accepting of oneself, and to tolerate too much discomfort too fast causes the high New Year’s Resolution crash and burn rate. These admirable, super-sized intentions are a great strain on one’s limited willpower reserve.  What results is a sense of failure and another blow to one’s self-esteem.  How can you avoid this?  If you are thinking about any New Year’s resolutions for you and your business, I advise you to plan first and then “go micro.” Ask yourself:

  • Which new habit would have the greatest impact on your family and your business?
  • What would you gain from your new habit? And conversely, what will you lose by not following through with this resolution?
  • How will you break down your resolution into micro steps making change more gradual, least uncomfortable, noticeable and worthwhile?
  • Do you need a coach or a partner to motivate you and monitor your progress?

Jess, a 40 year old founder of a small home furnishings company, wanted to keep her meetings under 20 minutes. Her meetings typically ran over 40 minutes. She knew that shorter, more efficient meetings would yield greater productivity for her team, plus she’d get home earlier to her family at night. She tended to address topics off the top of her head and over talk. Jess recognized that her poor planning and gift of gab were problems. After previous failed attempts to stick to the 20 minute limit, I suggested we chose just three micro steps and apply one at a time:

1) prioritize the top 2-3 topics for the meeting

2) write out the key talking points , and

3)  have an analog clock in view so as to pace herself.

Interestingly, Jess reported that the analog clock was the most helpful step in staying on track. She remarked, “I got a sense of what 20 minutes felt like and what I could reasonably accomplish in that span of time.”

These small steps improved other inefficiencies such as: dependency on Jess to remember the main points, her over-talking and wasting time. Three meetings later, after applying a micro step at a time, the new habit was in place. The benefits of the micro approach? Staff demonstrated 20-30% better follow through, there was less confusion about priorities and next steps, attendance at meetings increased resulting in better staff connection, and Jess was getting home sooner. Resolving to a micro step approach can make a New Year’s resolution stick.

Let me help you “Go Micro” and accomplish more this year. Email me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com and let’s get started.      

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

Dr. Hallowell’s Best Advice for 2018

As the year winds down, Dr. Hallowell offers his best advice just for you going into 2018. Listen and learn why he recommends not making a New Year’s resolution and hear his tips on furbishing your life for 2018.

Thank you all for being a part of Dr. Hallowell’s community.

Dr. Hallowell’s 2018 wish for you is to cherish and love as fully and deeply as you possibly can.

Happy New Year!



Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Jeremy’s Quest for Focus

In my recent blogs, I’ve talked about distraction, discipline and procrastination as my clients’ most common complaints. You’ve asked for examples from extreme to mild, so here you go! Let’s start with an extreme case, as in extremely interesting and challenging.  Jeremy is 26 years old with ADHD. He is very hyper and alas, a brilliant wantrepreneur. He’s tried ADHD medications to no avail; the side effects and mental dampening were intolerable.  Jeremy’s brain is like an idea magnet (sounds familiar?). He has trouble focusing because ideas keep pouring into his head all day and night. Jeremy lives with his very wealthy parents and dabbles in freelance programming.  He spends several hours a day researching (defined by him as “whipping through a hundred sites a minute”) and incessantly checking social media. At this point Jeremy sees his lack of mental control as his biggest enemy. It frustrates and saddens him, but he’s motivated. He sees many of his friends with lesser intellect start and succeed in startups. Jeremy sees no path to success unless he can harness his focus and concentration.

With a student like Jeremy there are two ways to start: #1 decrease the anxiety by a variety of alternative means (biofeedback, meditation, etc.), or #2 engage him in an exercise that will yield some appreciable, short term results proving that self control is possible. I chose #2 as a first step. We began by identifying his top 5 favorite ideas out of current list of 30 favorites. We agreed to give each idea no less than 5 minutes of discussion. (Forcing focus on only one idea in the session would be maddening for Jeremy and possibly cause major damage to my office!) We talked through one idea at a time though, using cues to avoid digression. This exercise was like drug withdrawal for him. Digging deep into the nuts and bolts of one project at a time was painful. Logistics narrowed down the list to 3 possible projects. With pen in hand (archaic perhaps, but better for retention) Jeremy divided a paper in thirds, a column for each of the three remaining projects. He took notes in bullets and organized the steps in sequence. After a grueling 90 minutes, there was a structure on paper, something tangible, satisfying and exciting to see. He became quiet and felt quite pleased with himself. This was the almost instant gratification Jeremy needed to further his practice in honing his focus. In future blogs, I’ll share Jeremy’s progress and how, step-by step, he became successful.

Would you like to sharpen your focus and concentration and get your projects off the ground? Contact me at The Hallowell Center in Sudbury 978 287 0810. Write to me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com.  

Read about my CoreFour Coaching at www.MindfulCommunication.com.

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

“After the holidays…” Seriously?

Attention: Self-starters! Yes, you with projects on the table − this “after the holidays” excuse ranks Number One on the Procrastination leader board. It’s getting old, and it’s obsolete. It worked well before online shopping, when writing Christmas cards took two full evenings to complete, and when you felt compelled to write those long-winded, egocentric letters telling people about your fabulous year. Come on. You’re going to hold off doing anything productive until “after the holidays?” It’s almost laughable.

Friends, the holidays are a great time to hunker down away from distraction and get work done. You can still have family time and take a few days to hit the Mall, the slopes or the beach, but to postpone your personal and business progress because of the holidays is slacker-speak!

Two more reasons I cringe when I hear this refrain (my older clients know not to utter that phrase in my presence)  is that the holiday excuse gives people license to fudge on the habits or disciplines they’ve cultivated over the last couple months. Those nascent circuits (more productive behaviors and habits) trying to get a foothold in your brain start to break down. After a week or so of letting your efforts slide, you’ll have to start from square one again!  The other problem with this excuse is that after the holidays it takes days, and for some weeks, to get back into the swing of things.

Here’s how I follow my own advice: I’m 100% family on Christmas Day and the first night of Hanukah. Then I take a holiday week and go ski. I ski from 8:00a.m to 3:00p.m., followed by an hour of après-ski until 4:00. By 4:30 I’m back in my room writing, researching, responding to emails and checking in with my clients. Other family members have a separate room so my husband and I can work distraction free. Come 7:00 it’s dinner− quality,guilt-free time to focus on my family.

So, go ahead and carve out some hours of fun and relaxation with your family, but figure out how you can keep honing those new skills and routines you’ve started. After that first week in January, you’ll emerge on schedule and ahead of the game compared to others who are just getting over the holidays.

If you want to get started building your core skills and routines before or during the holidays – don’t delay. Contact the Hallowell Center in Sudbury 978 287 0810 or visit www.MindfulCommunication.com. Write me at Rebecca@mindfulcommunication.com and we’ll get going!

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

December Note from Ned

Note from Ned


When I sit down to write these “notes from Ned” each month, I almost never have a topic in mind until I start to write.  I say to myself, “What could I say that might interest and be of value to the people who read my newsletter?”

Then there is a dreaded silence in my brain.  Nothing.  So I wait, as I am waiting now, and then it comes, as it’s coming now.  The spirit, as they say, moves me.

Waiting.  For Christians (as an Episcopalian, I count myself a Christian), we are now in the season of waiting.  We call it Advent.  We are awaiting the birth of Jesus.  We are yearning for the world to be saved by the birth of our Savior. We know these words, we can recite these words, but do they have bite?  Do they have traction in our guts?  Do they get us anywhere at all, or do they just fill the time allotted to speak them?

          Amidst all the buying of presents, the worrying about spending money I don’t have, the running of my practices for which I rely heavily on trusted others, the planning of new projects, and the hundreds of sticky issues and prickly problems that crop up every week, somewhere in a quiet, soft spot in my soul, there is a Ned, huddling with others, knowing how bursting with sin and sorrow this world surely is, hoping and praying that our patient wait will be rewarded by a glorious miracle no one quite believes in but everyone hopes will happen.

That’s the crux of it.  Whatever your tradition or belief—Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, humanist—at its center pulsates the audacious seemingly foolish hope that we will all somehow be saved, that this tiring, grief-filled trek called life has an endgame worth living for, spelled out by a Savior worth believing in.

I have a dear friend only in his 50’s who was just diagnosed with ALS.  It is likely over the next couple of years he will slowly and painfully progress toward a death no one would want to describe, let alone suffer.  I love this man, but I can only give him my prayers and support.  Can I give him hope?  When I tried, he told me he didn’t want to talk about it.  “It is what it is,” he said to me.  “It’s no big deal.”

Until he dies, my friend will know the meaning of waiting in a way I hope none of us ever has to learn.  But this season of waiting, for us Christians what’s called this season of Advent, asks us to join my friend and all the rest of hapless humanity in hoping, yearning, reaching for an event that was foretold, promised, and has actually been celebrated for thousands of years as if it really did happen, once, long ago, in a manger, the same cheap manger you see today represented on town greens and in shopping malls.  There was no dignity or spectacle in this supposedly miraculous birth.  And yet we are asked to join in waiting for it as if the whole world depended on it.

But what if it’s true? What is the promise is not illusory?  What if we really are living a miracle?  What if the suffering my friend is facing does have an endgame worth living for, worth hoping for, worth believing in?  How can we be sure?  How can he be sure?

Wait, and see.

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

Specialized Adventure Program for Young Males with ADHD, Learning Differences

The Specialized Adventure Program model is based on the the three “C” concept of training building comfort with subjects/activities, confidence and ultimately competence. Each attendee is assigned to a five person element and is taken through a variety of specialized training disciplines much like those conducted within a special operations unit/organization in law enforcement or the military. The training prepares each attendee to operate as well as lead in a dynamic, exciting, adventurous environment during the week. All disciplines/training are taught based upon a progression style concept that culminates with the planning for and execution of a specialized operation. After completing challenging physical and mental tasks, attendees will be taken through introspective workshops, highlighting the struggles they have faced with their ADHD/learning difficulties and how they can transfer these newly learned skills into the real world. You will leave with a deeper sense of understanding of yourself by going out of your comfort zone. Life lessons are taught both by team building and individual work resulting in improved self esteem and excitement about self-reliance. This program is completed in a 100% technology-free environment.


June 24-20, 2018

Price $5000.

Location: A unique Training Facility located in Calhoun County near Altha Florida. The facility is located on 70+ acres.

More Information: Contact  Christine L. Robinson, M.Ed. Certified ADHD Coach/Educational Consultant at 617-842-0634 Christine@HallowellCenter.org

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