Finally! More Help for European Adults with ADHD

In response to much demand, European adults with ADHD will finally be able to enjoy the benefits of The Maximum Productivity Makeover for Creative Geniuses, a program tailor-made for adults with ADHD.

This is a program that has shown amazing results for ADHD adults in many parts of the world, but has always been particularly challenging for people in Europe because of the inconveniences of time zones. The group programs have proven so popular, this has become the preferred approach for people to take the Maximum Productivity Makeover, but my European clients and subscribers were left out in the cold.

Previously, group sessions took place at 7 pm EST, which for most Europeans, meant attending sessions in the middle of the night. The program is very rewarding, offering many benefits, but it is also challenging. The Maximum Productivity Makeover is not a program you want to take when you’re half asleep! Well, we now have some amazing news for all our European friends!

We are offering a Maximum Productivity Makeover group session at an hour that is entirely reasonable for almost everyone in Europe! We’ve set it to start at 6 pm GMT, so it will run in the early evening for most Europeans, as it commonly does for North Americans. The next group is expected to start on Wednesday, March 7th at 6 pm GMT (1 pm EST for any North Americans who’ve been hoping for an afternoon program.)

We knew it was time to offer more options for more people everywhere when the last group we launched completely sold out. The word is spreading like wildfire: this program has a dramatic and positive impact on the lives of adults with ADHD.

The program combines training and self-awareness building exercises with the accountability and planning the makes coaching so effective for adults with ADHD. Each new session, participants report breakthroughs that helped them, and will help you, define what you need to adjust in your life to become more productive.

Group coaching for ADHDers has the added, and really amazing benefit (one of the best of all, many participants swear) of letting you connect with people who totally get you! It can be difficult to talk about ADHD to your friends and family; you don’t feel understood, you may even feel judged. In this group setting, it’s quite different because everyone on the call has Attention Deficit Disorder; many participants have formed lasting friendships.

For more information, visit http://www.maximumproductivitymakeover.com.

Learn to Manage Your ADD; Enrich Your Relationship

ADHD Relationship TroubleIf you’re in a relationship and you have ADHD, Saint Valentine’s Day may not always be a fun day.  In fact, romance can be hard to come by any day of the year.  Your ADHD might be getting in the way of both of you thriving in the relationship.

My husband, Duane and I have always been very open about how his ADHD almost destroyed our marriage.  Today, we have an amazing relationship, but Duane and I used to have many fights.  I often felt I had three children instead of two; and that first child was very temperamental.

What was the most difficult wasn’t what he did, but the fact that I couldn’t rely on him to help me with anything life threw at us: financial problems, car accidents, illness, demotions, professional problems, and worst, relationship issues.  I felt exhausted most of the time because of everything I had to do: managing the budget, taking care of paperwork, dealing with the children’s schoolwork and day care, meal planning, school planning, car and home repairs and the list goes on.

Eventually I stopped fighting about it and became resigned that life with Duane was always going to be a burden. I’m glad things have changed and that our relationship has become one of love (which it always was) and support where both of us thrive.

When One is Hurting, Both Are Hurting

Whether it’s ADHD causing the struggle in your relationship or not, one thing is certain, when one of you is suffering, the other is suffering too.  My father is deaf, so when he watches TV, it’s loud, so loud that when we visit, we can hear the TV blaring from the corner of their street (their house is about 10 houses in!)  My father’s loud TV was making my mother, who’s a calm person who enjoys peace and quiet, absolutely miserable.

Finding a Solution for One Spouse, is a Gift for the Other

One Christmas, Duane and I gave my Dad a headset that connects to the television.  As a result, my father could control the volume of the TV through his earphones and suddenly, the household became quiet again; both Mom and Dad were happy.  My father’s deafness made my mother miserable until we found a solution for him.  She often tells me that it was one of the best gifts she ever received; and it wasn’t even her gift!

The same is true of ADHD, whether you’re an adult with ADHD or the spouse of an ADHDer, if you are struggling, both of you are hurting.  And when the spouse with ADHD learns how to manage life better, both of you (and your children, family, friends and co-workers) live a better life.

When Duane spoke to me about hiring a coach, I admit I was sceptical.  After all, we had spent a lot of money on numerous well-known Time Management Programs and even special programs for Goal Setting and even Financial Planning, but nothing worked.  What finally made me take a leap of faith was the belief that if we didn’t do anything, nothing would ever change and we would both be doomed, along with our children, to a mediocre (at best) life.  That may seem harsh, but we were in “survival mode,” and when you’re focused on simply surviving, it’s impossible to reach any level of self-realization.

It was only when Duane sought help with an ADHD coach that I stopped hurting.  As he learned new skills such planning, time management, focusing etc., he became a better partner for me and our relationship flourished.

If you have ADHD and you are struggling because of it, forget the flowers and the candy and consider getting help to manage your ADHD.  It’s not selfish… it will be a gift for your spouse as well.  And if your spouse has ADHD, make getting help your gift to them and your spouse will return the gift to you many times over.

New Book for Adults with ADHD Now Available!

“With Time to Spare”

By Linda Walker

With Time to Spare: the Ultimate Guide to Peak Performance for Entrepreneurs, Adults with ADHD and other Creative GeniusesYes, you heard that right! There’s a new book out for adults with ADHD, and it’s been getting rave reviews! Linda Anderson, a Master Certified ADHD Coach and the Past-President of ADDA (Attention Deficit Disorder Association) loved it! David Giwerc, President of ADDCA (ADD Coach Academy), an ADHDer himself, and a leader in the field of adults with ADHD and one of the founders of ADHD Awareness Week in the U.S. raves about it! Why, even Canadians like it! 😉

Our own Rick Green, writer, comedian, actor and star of the hit documentary, “ADHD and Loving It!?” liked it so much, he’s enrolled in the The Maximum Productivity Makeover for Creative Geniuses Group Coaching program that the book is based on. Dr. Annick Vincent, one of the foremost recognized ADHD experts in Quebec, who appeared with me last week on the Montreal television talk show, “Les Kiwis et les Hommes” told me she couldn’t stop talking about it at last month’s CHADD (Children with Attention Deficit Disorders) conference (because, of course, children with ADHD have parents with ADHD!)

This new book, With Time to Spare: the Ultimate Guide to Peak Performance for Entrepreneurs, Adults with ADHD and other Creative Geniuses, is now available on Amazon.com.

Oh, did you notice something else? Did you notice the author’s name? That’s right! I wrote this! I sat down in January 2010 and began to write the book that had been waiting to be written. I’ve been working on it for over a year, and I packed it full of valuable, practical, difference-making advice for adults with ADHD taken right from the trenches of my own life with a husband and adult daughter with ADHD, and proven time after time in real life with my ADHD clients.

I was committed to writing a book that would both inspire and guide my readers, and after months of writing and countless edits, I had it tested by several readers with ADHD or entrepreneurial ADD. I was thrilled when the verdict came back with a resounding “YES!”

So I am proud to announce that With Time to Spare is now available in paperback at Amazon.com and in Kindle version at Amazon.com, Amazon France, Amazon UK, and even in Italy and in Spain. (Sorry Canada! We’re struggling to make it available in my home country).

To your Focus, Action, Success,

Linda Walker

Wanted: ADHD Heros

ADHD Hero

I’m developing a global community project called We All Need a Hero.

The objectives of this project are to inspire, give hope and courage to teens and adults with ADHD.

What compels me to start this project?

Experts estimate that between 4 and 8% of adults have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD). As the wife and mother of ADHDers and an ADHD Coach for more than 6 years, I know how devastating ADHD can be when you don’t know how to manage it.

  • Adults with ADHD struggle – in their professional lives they are less productive and are much more likely to lose their jobs;
  • In the personal lives, they are twice as likely to end up in a divorce or worse, resign themselves to never being in a loving relationship;
  • In their financial lives, they are 4 times more likely to struggle with serious financial problems.
  • And the list goes on.

They spend so much of their lives trying to recover from failures and feeling defective that they don’t have time, energy or the belief in themselves to transform their lives and reach their full potential.

As a result, not only does this impacts their family, their colleagues, the companies they work for, but we, as a society, lose the contribution these Creative Geniuses could make in the world. Unfortunately, the stigma and judgment surrounding adult ADHD keeps many of them “in the closet” and unable to receive the help they need.

I believe that everyone has a contribution to make in this world and when even one person can’t reach his or her full potential, the world misses out on possibly an important contribution.

If Nothing Changes

If ADHD in adults continues to be stigmatized, more people will continue to hide their problem, keeping them from getting the help they need and never reaching their full potential.

What Will Change Things?

We as a society need to de-stigmatize ADHD. We need to recognize that adults with ADHD have strengths – such as creativity, a stronger tolerance to risk, etc. – that if developed, can lead to success. We know this because there are many successful adults with ADHD. These models of success can become ADHD Heroes, inspiring teens and adults with ADHD to come out of the shadows and provide the hope and encouragement for ADHDers to believe they are capable of having a full and powerful life.

The project:

I am looking for ADHD Heroes to help me build, as a first step, a Web site with videos and articles of interviews with successful adults with ADHD – ADHDers who’ve had success in some area of their lives.

I’m in search of adults and families with ADHD who would like to contribute to this project and make a difference. We need all kinds of help:

  • Select the team members;
  • Build and design the site (WordPress blog);
  • Reach people through social media (set up a Facebook page, etc);
  • Access technology for videos, webcam, etc;
  • Support us with technology for video;
  • Reach ADHD Heroes who are willing to talk about their road to success,;
  • Communicate this project and bring attention to it as we finish;
  • Interview and write articles of ADHD Heroes;
  • Successful ADHD Heroes who are willing to share the secrets to their success in a short video interview (preferred) or be interviewed;
  • Etc. I’m sure there are things I haven’t thought of yet.

To join us you must be a teen or adult with ADHD or member of an ADHD family. No one will be remunerated for this work, not even me. This project aims to pull us – the community of adults and families with ADHD – together to help us dispel the myth that ADHDers can’t amount to much and see the real contribution ADHDers can make in the world.

If you would like to join me in this project, let me know what skill set or strengths you bring and the role you’d like to play in the form below.

I hope you’ll join our team.

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Related posts:
Playing Full Out
HyperSmash

ADHD and Work Satisfaction!

work-satisfaction-adhdI’m going to do something I rarely do. I’m going to ask you to close your eyes for a moment. No! Not yet! You won’t be able to read the rest if you already have your eyes closed. 🙂
(You can listen instead by clicking the link below)

I want you to imagine it’s the end of the workday and you’re getting ready to head home to begin the second (and maybe best!) part of your day. Now SMILE!

You are smiling because, not only are you finishing on time and are about to spend a few hours with your loved ones, but you also have energy to really enjoy your evening.

You feel satisfied with your day since you managed to complete the things you had planned to do with ease and you were able to meet your commitments to your team, your clients, your boss and most importantly, to yourself.

Listen as your clients / colleagues / boss tell you how amazed they are as how effective and efficient you have become. “Wow great job!,” “You are so on top of things,” “We can always count on you” and “You saved the day!”

As you hear these comments, you push out your chest with pride, realizing you have definitely come a long way, baby. Your smile widens and you truly feel like you make a real contribution to others. You’re at the top of your game.

What’s amazing is that every day this same scenario repeats itself. You consistently achieve your professional and personal goals.

Now open your eyes. Is this what you are going through every day? If not, what are you going to do about it?

How can you gain work satisfaction?

1) Start by determining what you want to accomplish in a day. Keep it to 3 to 5 items that will make a significant difference for you.
2) Reduce the “noise” around you – stop email notifications, stop colleagues who come to interrupt you, put a sign on your cubicle if you have to, send calls to voicemail.
3) Focus on only the items that you planned to accomplish in the day.
4) Enjoy!

Is Your Ecosystem Supporting Your Goals?

ensure your environment supports your adult adhd life“No man is an island.”

John Donne (1572-1631)

You are not an “island.” Your life is affected by your “ecosystem,” all the things and people you interact with. Your ecosystem is never neutral; it can help you or hinder you. Good news… you decide which it is!

Your “ecosystem” combines external factors such as your:

  • physical environment (your space and how it’s organized at home, in your car, your office),
  • family relationships (immediate and extended),
  • social network (relationships with friends, associates, acquaintances and even people you haven’t met yet if you tend to network with the same type of people consistently),
  • body (health, your appearance, etc.),
  • financial health, and
  • career.

Your ecosystem also includes internal environments such as your strengths, skills, capabilities, values, needs and beliefs. These elements are so intertwined that when one part is out of whack; your whole ecosystem system gets “sick.”

Achieving goals is far easier if your “ecosystem” supports you. When your environment conspires against you, you’re like “a fish out of water.”

Your Ecosystem Reflects Who You Are

If you’re a couch potato, you probably hang with other couch potatoes. You have big plans for the Super Bowl, and maybe even for the entire football season! You’re more likely to invest in a satellite TV than in a good suit. If you want to be a couch potato, you have created the perfect ecosystem to maintain your lifestyle.

But if you’d prefer to live a healthier life in pursuit of your passions (unless your passion is watching TV), you’ll want to change your ecosystem. A supportive ecosystem makes it possible to move forward instead of falling back into old habits, and yet we continue to struggle while leaving obstacles in our paths.

The Environment Always Wins

Neglecting the state of your ecosystem is “a mistake, big, huge” (Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman). If you’ve decided to become healthier by losing 30 pounds this year, you know what you need to do. You eat smaller portions and choose healthier foods, you drink more water, and you exercise. Congratulations! Weight loss is a foregone conclusion. Then your spouse brings home ice cream and you succumb to temptation (junk food in the store is much easier to resist than junk food in the kitchen!)

Perhaps you’ve decided to apply ADD-friendly strategies to manage your life in a way that works for you. If you haven’t prepared your spouse for the changes, they could inadvertently sabotage your efforts. But before you start pointing fingers, it isn’t always your spouse’s fault!

You just had a brilliant idea for a new product so you decide to start a business. As you plan the launch of your product, you realize you need more money that you have, and you’re already deep in debt. You end up spending all your energy trying to dodge creditors, and soon your business fails. Or perhaps you share your amazing idea with your friends and family (who’ve never owned businesses) and they all explain to you how business people are crooks, you’ll have no security, it will never work, and if it would work, it’ll certainly never work for you! More dreams are “murdered” by negative people in your ecosystem than ever die of natural causes.

Some Assembly Required

Achieving any dream or goal takes preparation and planning. Take some time to get your ducks in a row and your ecosystem in alignment with your objectives. To live a healthier lifestyle, seek your spouse’s support, participate in meal preparation and ban junk food from your pantry.

Before you start a business, establish relationships with other entrepreneurs. Get your finances in order and eliminate or at least reduce your debts. (Trading in that big-screen TV for a nice suit is a good step.) Yes, it takes time to synchronise your ecosystem with your ambitions, but once the supportive elements are in place, you’ll make significant progress far more quickly.

And if you’re a Creative Genius with ADHD and you’re tackling your ADHD head on, share your ADHD-friendly strategies with your family and especially with your spouse. Share with your spouse how ADHD affects your marriage and explain the strategies and how they’ll help. Adults with ADHD face plenty of challenges in their ecosystem. Getting your spouse on your side and improving your life as a couple is one of the best ways to reinforce your ecosystem and get ready to face those challenges.

Related posts:

Playing Full Out

ADHD Brainwashing First, Transformation Follows

The Year of Playing Full Out

Managing adult adhd by focusing on your strenghts can make you unstoppableIn the next few weeks, you’ll be flooded with articles about “New Year’s Resolutions.” You’ll be tempted to set unrealistic goals (that you’ll most likely break five to seventeen days later on average!) citing circumstances as the deal breaker. Unless you’re committed to this soul-sapping, energy-draining and integrity-injuring routing, I’d like to challenge you to try a different approach this year.

No More Wishful Thinking
No more lala-land goals. Let’s set realistic but truly compelling goals and decide to play full out. “Playing full out” means expecting, practicing for and not succumbing to the obstacles you know will show up along the way.

No More Excuses
No more, “I can’t because of my ADHD.” Instead, realize that your ADHD-distractibility is really your Creative Genius idea-generating powerhouse and use it along with your unique strengths, your consuming passion and your ADHD-provided boundless energy to overcome any “obstacles” (really, just situations that need a novel approach… something that’s right up your alley) your ADHD creates.

No more, “I don’t have the right equipment, tools or money” excuses. Instead, start now with what you have, and set up systems so you can get even more of what you need by accumulating it over time or begging, borrowing or bartering for it.

No more, “I don’t have time” excuses. Instead, carve any hours you need out of your TV watching or video game playing. Once you’ve exhausted those possibilities, learn special Creative Genius strategies to double or even triple your productivity.

No more, “I can’t do it because I don’t know how” whining. Instead, put into practice what you do know, and find a book, a course, a coach or a mentor to teach you how to take the next step. Rinse and repeat.

And finally, never ever let fear stop you.

No more, “They’ll laugh at me.” You can deal with it.

No more, “They’ll hate it.” Someone will like it.

No more, “If I succeed, they won’t like me anymore.” Real friends want you to succeed. Find some (Easiest way to do that? Act like someone who’s moving in the right direction, making things happen and not letting naysayers get in the way. You’ll attract the people you’re looking for.)

Resolve instead to face your fears head on. The rewards are so much greater than any temporary discomfort. You’ll discover that it was your fears (and not your goals) that were unreasonable and that you can and will deal with anything that comes your way. After all, you’re not someone who shies away from opportunity or challenge. No, this year, you’re going to play full out.

This year, don’t let anything stop you. Not your circumstances, not what others think or say, not your excuses, not your fears… nothing. Find your way over them, around them or through them. In the end, you will not only reach your goals , you’ll be stronger and more self-confident, so you’ll be able to accomplish even more next year.

I declare this The Year of Playing Full Out. Come play with me.

Related posts:

Attitude is Everything
ADHD Brainwashing First, Transformation Follows

Taking Ownership of Your Life

taking control of your adult adhd may require helpI just returned from a long weekend with Duane in beautiful, romantic Quebec City. We stayed at a pretty inn near the old part of the city known as “la Basse ville” (the lower city). A working weekend, we spent hours each day working through an exercise I use for my clients, a planning process that helps you take ownership of your life. Hey, I practice what I preach!

While this may not sound like a romantic getaway to you, it motivates us for the future, reinforces our commitment to each other and ensures that we’re all “pushing in the same direction” toward living our best life.

We began this process a few years ago when we both realized we’d been drifting from job to job and career to career without really knowing what we wanted to do. I started businesses, many of which I didn’t really like, became a business teacher, went on to work as the Executive Assistant to the President of a pharmaceutical company, then was promoted to Project Manager and finally became a “drug pusher” (pharmaceutical representative promoting legal drugs)! I had originally wanted to be a doctor but I didn’t make it into medical school and had no plan B. As I drifted from one job to another, I completed my Bachelor of Administration, only to wonder at graduation, “Why did I want this anyway?”

From Pushing Drugs to Taking Ownership

I realized I had let life and circumstances decide what I would do for eight (and sometimes more, many more) hours per day. I only began to figure out what I really wanted to be when I grew up at age 40! Deciding to become a coach took me almost a year of soul searching, looking at what excites me in life and when I feel happiest. With this decision, I took ownership of my life.

Deciding to become a coach was both a difficult and easy decision. I worried about money, but I felt it was my calling and I knew it excited me. It’s funny how life sends you messages. I was well on my way to completing my coach training and building my practice when a neck injury left me unable to drive, a big part of the job description for a pharmaceutical rep.

When you take ownership of your life, you decide what you want life to be like in the future (your vision) and you choose the route you’ll take (the projects you’ll take on), and then you take action. Life will throw you curve balls, and your journey may be a bit of a winding road, so, like every project, you need to review your progress along the way. This past weekend is part of that process that Duane and I have been doing regularly to ensure we stay the course.

You don’t have to be in a committed relationship to take ownership of your life. You don’t need to wait until you’re 40 either! Or if you’re looking at 40 in the rearview mirror, it’s not too late! Now is the best time to start. You can create the life you want.

When you develop a vision of your future, you can enjoy your present life more because you now recognize it as a vehicle that’s taking you where you want to go. What does your future look like? What plans are you making that will share your gifts, your strengths and talents, your creative genius with the world?

How Can I Use This?

Here are the first few steps:

  1. Choose a day and time when you will take ownership of your life. If you’re in a relationship, share this with your partner. Commit to, and let nothing get in the way of, this very important meeting with the most important person in your life – you!
  2. Envision where you want to be in 5 to 10 years. Imagine the lifestyle you want, and consider the kind of person you will be when you arrive there.
  3. Select the first 3 to 5 projects that will allow you to progress toward your vision of your life.

Waiting to Have the Time?

PS: For those of you who are about to put this aside, thinking you’ll do this when you have time… stop! There are 168 hours in the current week. I haven’t been watching the news, but I think I would have heard of a plan to increase the number of hours in a week. That means you’ll still have 168 hours a week next week, and next year and five years from now. You can’t wait until you have time, you must make time. You don’t want to look back on your life with regret at never having lived as the true creative genius you are.

Related posts:

What It Takes to Break a Habit
The Best New Year’s Resolution? No More Running Away
Four Secrets For Making a Dream Come True

Hidden Agendas

We’re all committed. (Or perhaps we should be!)

all-tied-upThat’s why we’re often surprised (and furious at ourselves) when we fail to deliver on a promise we’ve made.

One client, a workaholic entrepreneur with ADHD (is there another kind?!) has committed to spend more time with her children. It’s important to her and it’s important to her family. She fully intends to leave work each day at 5:30 pm, but she has yet to follow through; instead, she continues to work past 6:30 or 7 pm.

Another client, a university student, must devote time to researching and writing an essay; he needs to ace this assignment to pass the course, and he’s committed to his academic success. However, he instead offers to help a classmate move over the weekend, taking up most of the time he had available for devote to his paper.

A Creative Genius client desperately looking for work, plans to contact prospective employers, but instead whiles away his days talking on the phone with his girlfriend, watching TV and other lower priority activities. He’s committed to finding a job, and he’s certainly committed to paying his bills!

Should You Be Committed?

In these examples, are my clients just bad people? No! Is there something wrong with them? No! Are they lying about their commitments? No! So what gives?

When speaking with them during their sessions, I was certain they were each committed to the projects we had identified at their top priorities. Each had a plan, and each wanted to succeed. It should have been easy but…

We often think of a “hidden agenda” as negative, a sneaky underlying objective that one person is perpetrating on another unsuspecting person. However, in the cases described above, each person is both the perpetrator and the victim of their own hidden agenda; they each had an underlying objective, one that remained hidden, even from them, that threw their priorities out of whack!

We all have these hidden agendas, promises we made to ourselves, usually as the result of some traumatic event in our childhood, that influence our actions daily. We’ve often had them so long that we don’t even recognize them anymore, at least, until they sneak up on us and confuse our priorities.

Our entrepreneur is divorced and is terrified of being destitute. Her hidden agenda is ensuring her security at all costs. The student fears not having friends, and so a hidden agenda of “being helpful so they’ll like me” rules his life without him even realizing it. Like many of us, our job searcher is afraid of rejection and so his hidden agenda is to “avoid rejection” which prevents him taking the risk of asking for a job, or even an interview.

What are your hidden agendas? Maybe you refuse to risk looking foolish, you never disturb or inconvenience others, you never allow yourself to be out of control or you reduce risks at any price. Somewhere in your past, you developed a belief that terrible things will happen if you don’t… work hard enough, help anyone who asks, do things perfectly or if you … ask someone for something, try something new and so on. There are more hidden agendas than there are people (some of us seem to collect them!)

What’s Your Hidden Agenda?

Each of our heroes is the victim of his or her own hidden agenda. What hidden agenda holds you as its unsuspecting victim? Have you made it a higher priority to avoiding anticipated financial ruin by accepting all work that comes your way than to spend time with your children? Are you more committed to “being a good friend” than you are to making good grades? Or are you more committed to avoiding ridicule by never trying anything new or risky so there’s no chance of making a mistake than you are of leaving a job you hate and trying to succeed in a new career?

The good news is that when you become aware of your hidden agendas, you can begin to stop their clandestine effects on your life. It’s natural for humans to develop these mechanisms to protect us from danger. However, we put the same mechanisms in place whether the danger is real or imagined. Once you recognize the mechanism, you can re-evaluate the perceived “danger” and uncover your “hidden” agenda. Once it’s uncovered, you are free to decide if it continues to serve a purpose.

How Can I Use This?

  1. First, notice how your hidden agendas control your life. Consider all the things you would do if only you didn’t have a hidden agenda to remind you of “horrific danger” looming at every corner. What is more important to you than the priorities you set in a moment of panic at a real (but no longer relevant) or imagined danger? What are you doing/not doing because of these hidden agendas?
  2. Where did your fears come from (Consider a childhood event or situation)? What’s the history of your fear? How did it serve you then? Though it really was a clever way to manage back then, is it still serving you?
  3. What do you think will happen if you choose not to let your hidden agendas rule your life? Look for evidence that they are not true. Look at other people’s behaviors, people who seem to live without fear of the consequences you envision, think of times when you didn’t heed your hidden agenda and the world did not end, or if you can’t find any, start testing its validity. Try “safe” tests and progress toward more daring tests.

Related posts:

What It Takes to Break a Habit

What Does It Take to Break a Habit?

how to break a habitSuccessful people tend to do the same things repeatedly (AKA habits and routines). As I gear up for year-end and New Year planning, I’ve been researching how we form habits for an update to tools in Succeed in a FLASH, a module of The Maximum Productivity Makeover. One thing is clear to me:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle.

To change your life, you must transform yourself and to do that, you must change your habits. If you have a habit of watching TV from the time you get home from work until you go to sleep, you’ve become a couch potato. If you want to run a marathon, you’re going to have to change that habit. You’ll need to choose a habit that allows you to progress toward this new objective… perhaps running!

Unfortunately, new habits can be difficult to form. Self-help gurus have been saying it only takes 21 days to form a new habit. Of course, you believe there is something wrong with you if you aren’t able to meet the 21-day deadline, but there is no evidence to support the 21-day rule.

The Real Deal About Habits

In fact, an article published in the European Journal of Social Psychology in October 2010 by Philippa Lally & al. who conducted research on how we form habits, states that is takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a new habit, depending on the habit. Other studies show it takes an average of 66 days to form small habits. Though you have your work cut out with you, at least now you know there’s nothing wrong with you!

Our brains are wired with pathways of varying strengths. The strongest pathways are habits you currently hold and they are very difficult to break. Even that is good news, because once you form a new, more progress-oriented habit, you’ll be more likely to keep it.

However, you might feel discouraged at having to work this hard to break or form a habit. Take comfort in knowing that it won’t take that long to gain the benefits of making these changes. And if you focus on the benefits, you’ll find it motivating to continue.

So, let’s say you’ve decided to adopt a new habit because you’d like to run the marathon. You’ll need to break your bad habit of watching TV and start a new habit of training for the marathon. What’s next?


Breaking a Habit

You’re more likely to break a habit if you replace it by another one. However, it’s important when trying to break a bad habit to consider the need this habit was filling, and to address this need by finding another more positive way to fill it. If your TV watching fills your need to unwind after a long day’s work, you’ll need to find a different way to unwind or your efforts to change that habit are wasted. Read, play music, dance, or chat with a loved one; whatever re-energizes you. If you ignore this need, you’ll soon be mindlessly watching TV again in no time.

Make Sure It’s Important to YOU

It will take a lot of work to adopt a new habit. It might even be painful at times. You’ll often be tempted to slip back. So if you expect to stick with it, you really, really, really need to want it badly, very badly (is that enough emphasis!?) Your new goal and the habits required to achieve it must be for your benefit and not for someone else’s. If someone else is dictating that you create a new habit and the objective is not important to you, you will not likely make the change or, if you do, you won’t sustain the change. You must create a goal that is compelling, emotional or fun. Ask yourself why it’s important to you to run the marathon. Ask that question until you find an answer that moves you (in this case, literally!)

Journal about it, visualize it, act as if you had already achieved it. These activities engage your emotions and help you stay the course.

Make new habits easy to adopt

To adopt a new habit, you’ll need a reminder or trigger. You can use a reminder on your smart phone or better still, use a trigger. A trigger is an event that already happens consistently in your life. For example, every day you get home from work at 5:30 pm. Arriving home from work can be the trigger that reminds you it’s time to don your running clothes.

Other triggers can be other habits you already have, such as having breakfast, brushing your teeth or having lunch. Anchoring a new habit to one you already have is a powerful way to improve your chances that your new habit will stick.

How can I use this now?

  1. Set a goal and identify the habits that will help you achieve that goal;
  2. Identify the habits you currently have that don’t support this goal. Determine what need they fill and find different ways to fill that need that will allow you to change your habits to those that will help you progress to whom you want to become;
  3. Make sure your goal is something you want and is emotionally compelling to you;
  4. Change your habits one at a time. Start with one habit, and anchor it to a habit you already have or an event you live every day.

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