Happy New Year, almost!
The beginning of a brand new year is a blank slate, it’s a chance to start again! That’s why people make New Year’s Resolutions, because they want to make big changes in their lives. But the reality is that new year’s resolutions are rarely successful and are usually forgotten about by the middle of February. Why is this?
When most people come up with a New Year’s Resolution, more often than not, it is more of a wish that a goal. “I want to lose 15 lbs!” OK, how? “I want to double my income!” Right, by doing what exactly? Instead of resolving to take action to improve their lives, they just resolve to “do it” without a plan. They don’t bother to develop new habits and routines, they just sort of expect things to change by themselves. And, as someone who has ADD/ADHD, you know that if you want things to change, you have to work at them!
New Year’s Resolutions for sufferers of ADD/ADHD can be sources of stress and frustration, especially if you make one that is too ambitious. You might enter into the year with good intentions, but soon lose track of your resolution, just like everyone else does. So, instead of talking about resolutions, let’s talk about goals and the steps you need to take to reach them. Here are a few possible ADD/ADHD goals and strategies for the new year that, with work and effort, you can really change the quality of your life for the better!
Improve Your Sense of Time
It can be so easy to lose track of time when you have ADD/ADHD. You might get hyper-focused on a task and later discover that you were late for an appointment. Or you might simply lose track of time throughout the day because you are lacking a focused schedule. Whatever the reason, there are steps you can take in the new year to help improve your sense of time.
If you find yourself struggling to get ready for work, try to get up just a little earlier each morning. Even 15 minutes can make a huge difference. You actually have a little bit of help with this one, your morning alarm. Just set it to go off 15 minutes early every day!
Speaking of alarms, they can be very useful to keep you on track throughout the day. If you need to be at an appointment, set a reminder or alarm on your phone to go off with plenty of warning. Put alarms and reminders into your phone for your entire daily schedule. Basically, you will be just “outsourcing” your sense of time to your smartphone.
Start Keeping Track of Your Day
One thing that can be very helpful for those with ADD/ADHD is to keep track over what they did that day. Yes, “did”, as in past tense. This fits into the category of “gathering data”. It can be very helpful and enlightening to see what you’ve actually accomplished over the course of the average day. It might be more than you think!
If you look back and think, “Gee, I did nothing today…”, don’t beat yourself up. Take that newfound knowledge into tomorrow with an eye on how to improve on it. Compare your daily “to-do” list to your “finished” list, move items around, see when certain tasks are more likely to get done at certain points during the day. For example, you might discover that you prefer to do your laundry at night rather than the day. Maybe you will find that you tend to do the dishes in the morning, rather than the afternoon. By gathering data about your ADD/ADHD habits, you can start to see patterns of behavior that, when acknowledged, can be adapted and improved upon.
This might seem like a fairly vague goal, almost a “resolution”, but if you aren’t already getting help, finding some can be one of the most important changes you can make in the new year.
Trying to tackle a condition like ADD/ADHD by yourself can be difficult, to put it mildly. Your symptoms and reactions can make you feel isolated, like you are different from other people. You might trouble forming lasting relationships with other people, romantically or platonically. Or maybe your current relationship is suffering because of your symptoms. This can further isolate you and keep you from seeking the help that you may need to better manage your symptoms or your emotional and mental state.
Help can take the form of an ADD/ADHD coach, a medical professional, a family member, or a friend. Sometimes, one can be the gateway to another. If you contacted me, for example, and we started talking about your ADD/ADHD symptoms and management strategies, I might direct you to talk to your family about some things that they can do to help you every day. I might suggest that you go to see a medical professional about getting some medication to better manage your symptoms. By just seeking out help from one person, you could start to develop an entire network of support.
You may also want to investigate joining an ADD/ADHD support group in your local area or online. By meeting others who suffer from the same condition, even if your exact symptoms are a bit different, you might discover a wider community of people and support that can help carry you through the new year and beyond.
Even if you don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, January 1st is still a great starting place to make real, lasting changes to your life and outlook. As an experienced ADD/ADHD coach, I’ve helped many with ADD/ADHD develop concrete goals for their future and make some real, positive changes to their lives. If you’d like to talk about some other ways you can change your life for the better in the new year, please feel free to contact me.