Sticking to New Year’s Resolutions

Note:  this week’s post is by guest blogger, Kelsey Peterson.  Kelsey was the student that inspired the creation of the Edge Foundation.  You can find other tips and ideas about how to be successful in college with ADHD with our Free Guide:  College Success and ADHD.

Key Ideas Summary for the ADHD Quick Read:

  • Break each goal down so they aren’t large and scary
  • Get a game plan
  • Use a training schedule
  • Set weekly and halfway checkpoints
  • Be disciplined
  • Develop new habits
  • No excuses – just do it!
  • Get help from your coach

Starting 2011 I was thinking about the things I want to accomplish this year. I don’t want to call them resolutions because, to me that has to connotation of failing.

Every year I feel like me and my friends say our “New Year resolutions” and then a couple days, weeks, months later its forgotten and over until next New Year when you can set up other unreasonable expectations for yourself to ultimately fail at.

This year I’m calling them “2011 Goals.”

I want to accomplish certain things this year so I made a list of my large goals then I broke it down to smaller weekly goals so the large goals seem less daunting. My 2011 Goals:

  • Run the New York City Marathon and raise $5,000 to do so for charity
  • Hike Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Run the Seattle Rock ‘n Role half marathon
  • Don’t procrastinate

In order to reach these large goals I am breaking each one of them down so they don’t seem to large and scary. Starting with running a half marathon. I am doing this at the end of June and hiking Mount Kilimanjaro a week after. So I developed a training schedule for the half marathon, which consists of weekly runs and cross training to work me up to the 13.1 miles at the end of June. I am assuming that with this training I will be in adequate shape to hike Mount Kilimanjaro a week after. By the end of June should be my half waypoint in training for the New York City marathon. I will develop a new training schedule to prepare me for the full marathon after the half at the end of June.

In order to raise $5,000 for the charity that I am running the New York City Marathon I have to be very disciplined. I have a game plan of sending out emails to friends and family asking for support.  It is very important that I keep on this and keep track of how much I have raised and how much I need as I go. I will ask my coach to help me with keep track of weekly checkpoints. I plan on sending out an initial email blast and seeing the response I get to it. Also I am going to ask my family to reach out to their friends who might want to donate money to the cause. I feel hesitant about asking people for money but the reason I am doing it is because all the money goes to a very good charity that will use it very wisely so if I inform my friends and family of this I think that people will be on board. Also I can’t wait to represent NYC by running through the boroughs knowing that this is a once in a life time experience and by doing this I am helping people in need.

Don’t procrastinate is one of my 2011 goals because I feel like a lot of the time I put off doing things that are not fun. There will always be things in life that are not fun but as an adult you have a responsibility to do them (see my last month’s blog post on Mastering Your Self Control ( For example I hate opening my mail. I don’t know why I don’t like opening mail, I know there are cards in there and bills and things that need to be looked at, but its work and its not fun so I let me mail sit on my table for sometimes weeks until finally someone else, a friend visitin,g helps me get through it. So in 2011 I want to open my mail every day so that it doesn’t stack up and I get over this procrastinating habit I have. I talked to my coach about this and we set up a new habit to get over procrastinating.

My 2011 plan is to wake up every morning and go to the gym, in order to train for my physical 2011 goals, and then an hour every morning to check my email, open my mail and do the things that are not as fun.  Between my two-hour routine every morning of working out and non-procrastinating I should be on track to complete my 2011 goals.

Unfortunately I have not gotten the year off to a very productive start. I have not started training yet or my two-hour morning routine. I can make a lot of excuses why this hasn’t gone into effect yet, the weather, jet leg from the holidays, etc but in reality it comes down to self control which I wrote about last month. So like I said in my last blog about self-control is JUST DO IT!

On that note, I am starting my two-hour morning routine tomorrow since it is too late to do it tonight. But I am putting this in writing that I will start training tomorrow, start doing my mail tomorrow and if I don’t I have to live with the disappointment of all you readers knowing that.

If you have any words of encouragement for me I would love to hear them, I have set pretty large goals for myself this year and need help every step of the way! Also please let me know if you set 2011 goals or New Year’s resolutions for yourself. Maybe we can be helpful to each other while we face this New Year with high expectations for ourselves!

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3 Responses

  1. Jason Froats

    Hi Kelsey,

    Well first of all, good for you for setting the plan up! While you might feel like you’ve had a slow start, the fact that you’re not willing to give in is inspiring.

    I was thinking about how I might help you with this and remembered one thing that I share with my clients/students – Often it is not really the goal that is prize, it is what we learn along the journey. Cliche ? Perhaps, but I whole-heartedly believe it to be true. Sometimes when we focus too much on the objective, we miss the ‘Quan’, as Jerry McGuire would say.. It is the lessons we learn on how to overcome challenges that interests me most.

    There is a convenient (and topical 😉 analogy here I think.. In 1989, I was the second person to climb to Uhuru peak on Mt. Kilimanjaro that year. The best advice before I climbed, came from a 90 year old man at a store in the nearby town of Moshi. He said “Pole Pole”, which meant ‘slowly, slowly’.. I took his advise and suspected that he was referring to the importance of taking time to acclimatize. He was right.. Being quite competitive by nature, I would likely have tried to be the first of our group up the mountain. Instead, I was deliberately last at every water stop and break. Out of 23 climbers myself and a German friend were the only 2 that made it to the top.. he and I walked together. Everyone else became ill with altitude sickness, which I’m sure you know, is very serious. The beautiful view at the top was secondary to what I had learned. Present day, I am also a runner, practicing for the Chicago marathon next year.. Every time I reach a hill in my practice runs, I always say to myself ‘Pole Pole’, and it reminds me to take one step at a time and you’ll eventually get there. So, I guess my advice is to enjoy the ride, don’t focus too much on the outcome and I’m sure you’ll do great! My best, Jason

    PS. Let me know if you’d like to talk about Kili, as it’s a great experience and I’d be happy to share.

  2. Mary Ann Thompson

    Hi Kelsey,

    Good job on looking ahead and setting some goals for 2011!
    I’m especially interested in your running of the New York Marathon.

    I’m a former runner, but have run two marathons. I like that you are starting with the half-marathon. It takes time to build up your distance and to stay injury-free and to enjoy the process.

    Which half-marathon are you training for?

    May I ask, have you ever participated in any running events?

    Would you like any tips on on how to build up to the distance?

    I absolutely loved running – and I felt the best I ever did when I went out for my long runs. It’s really worth it to get there!

    Good luck with this and all of your goals.

    Mary Ann Thompson

  3. Kelsey Peterson

    Thank you both your comments and suggestions!

    Jason- Jerry McGuire happens to be my favorite movie so I am very aware of the “Quan” haha. I like your point a lot of learning from the journey as well as the objectives. I started keeping a diary last week to do this. I write down when I sleep through my alarm and how I feel, sluggish and rushed in the morning and how I feel when I complete a long run, proud and energized! I read it back to myself to provide motivation. Congratulations on getting to the top of Kili! I will keep your words in mind while I hike, slow slow.

    Mary- I am training for the Seattle Rock n Roll half marathon in June. I have done a triathlon and many half marathon before. I was training for a full marathon a few years ago but hurt myself badly and had to stop running for about a year. This time I am very determined to take the training slow and stretch a lot. If you have any advice for me I would love it hear it!

    Thank you both for you!