Following Through on New Year’s Resolutions When You Have ADHD

This is the time when many people make resolutions for the coming year. It can be especially difficult for those with ADHD to formulate resolutions and then follow through on them. The first step is to think through and create the goals you want to achieve in the year ahead. Once you have your goals identified, you need a strategy to make them a reality. Sandy Maynard at ADDitude magazine has these recommendations to help with the process.

Don’t put it off – get started now

Most New Year’s resolutions are about making a life change and it takes time to make change happen. A good way to build momentum is to begin by choosing one thing you know you can do. It may be as straightforward as taking a walk instead of watching TV. Whatever it is, it will make you feel good and start you on the path toward change.

Make change at different levels

There are different levels to the process of change. By taking these into account, you stand a better chance of sustaining change throughout the year and beyond.

Environmental – The easiest changes you can make involve your surroundings. Eliminate anything in your environment that is blocking your path to change.

Behavioral – Changing your behavior,can be harder. For this you need a strategy. And for a strategy to work for individuals with ADHD, it needs to be exciting, fun, interesting, or easy — or all of the above. Make your change in a way that is stimulating. All change requires that you be ready, willing, and able. If you are ready and willing, but not able, consult others or join a club to find out how to get started. If you’re ready and able, but not willing, you simply won’t do anything. And that’s where motivation comes in.

Beliefs and values – If you believe you can do something, you will. Likewise, if you think you lack what is needed to accomplish what you want to do, you won’t even try. To eliminate this type of block, first identify a limiting belief (“I don’t have time to exercise”) or a limiting value (“Work must come first”). Ask yourself questions, such as:

  • What is the best-case scenario based on my old value?
  • Is this belief always true?
  • How will this new belief change me?

Continue the process by figuring out what you’d rather believe in. Slowly, you should see a new belief or a new value emerging: “I have time to exercise in the afternoons.” “Family must come first, work, second.”

Keep it going

Once you start working on your New Year’s resolutions, you need to do things that will help you maintain your momentum. Here are some suggestions.

Put it in writing – Write a new belief at the top of a piece of paper, and list the advantages of the new behavior below it. Every time your motivation ebbs, reread the list. Make copies to post in key places so you can see it every day.

See the big picture – Visualize yourself executing on your resolutions in a strong and confident way. This mental image will help you keep up the change you want to see happen.

Talk the talk – Keep your self-talk positive, no matter how difficult it may feel when you start.

Give it some thought – Avoid rationalizations for not following through on your resolutions. By thinking it through, you can create options for keeping up on your resolutions when at first circumstances seem to block you.

Onward and upward

Each New Year holds the promise of a new opportunity for improvement in some area of our lives. Having a strategy to create resolutions and follow through on them.will increase your likelihood of success.

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