The Best New Year’s Resolution? No More Running Away

Most people run away from New Year’s resolutions. That’s because typically, New Year’s resolutions don’t work very well. They last an average of 17 days… for adults with ADHD it’s likely closer to 5 days! Ever wonder why New Year’s resolutions haven’t worked for you? Maybe you need to stop running away.

As an ADHDer, you receive plenty of suggestions for resolutions you need to make, from your spouse, parents, colleagues, boss and friends, about your tardiness, disorganization, poor productivity, impulsiveness… need I go on? Always the people-pleaser, you impulsively (Oops! One down already!) resolve to be on time, better organized, and more productive this year. A few days later, you throw up your hands in surrender… nothing works.

These types of resolutions come ready-made with two problems: 1) you’re running away from something you don’t want instead of towards something you do want, and because of that, 2) your motivation quickly disappears and you must rely on willpower.

There’s nothing exciting about working on your weaknesses. You don’t dream of being less weak; you dream of being stronger. Since your resolution doesn’t excite and energize you, each day you will yourself to be “less weak.” Unfortunately, willpower is a finite resource. Relying on willpower to change an ingrained habit is like dog sledding across the Sahara with a team of Chihuahuas!

2010 could be the year you achieve great things

2010 could be the year you achieve great things (they’re great because they’re things that you actually want!) and overcome some of your weaknesses in the process. Find goals that ROCK you and compel you to change. Choose resolutions that fuel your resolve in the face of difficulty, that move you toward something YOU want and that allow you to work in your areas of strengths.

Move toward your strengths, not away from your weaknesses

Don’t resolve “not be tardy.” Instead, resolve to live a calmer, more harmonious and Zen life. If you really want to live a calmer life, you’ll quickly realize that scrambling to get to appointments on time is stressing you out. You realize that if you plan your time, organize your things so you know where your keys are when it’s time to go and leave early, you’ll arrive calm, in control and totally Zen (and as a bonus, you won’t be late!)

Instead of resolving to manage your time better, resolve to take on a new hobby or spend time each week developing a new skill that takes advantage of one of your strengths. To free up the time to do something you really want to do, you’ll be motivated to organize your things so you won’t waste 45 minutes a day looking for them.

Before long, you have a new hobby you love and you’re a calmer, happier person to boot! Getting better organized and improving your time management is just a means to an end, a happy coincidence. Spending more time doing what you like to do is the fuel that takes you there.

Take a new approach towards goal setting

Take a new approach to your New Year’s resolutions for 2010. Run toward your strengths instead of away from your weaknesses. Ask yourself:

  1. What are my greatest strengths, abilities and interests?
  2. If I knew I couldn’t fail, what outrageously compelling resolutions would I make this year?
  3. What parts of my life would I be willing, even eager to change if it was the only way to honor my outrageous and compelling resolutions?

And if you’d like to learn how to free up some time to pursue your resolutions and compelling goals with ten amazing strategies that improve your productivity by working with your strengths instead of against them, get your free (but amazingly valuable report!), Productivity Myths Busted now.

ADHD and Motivation Part 3: Find Your Real Fuel

full_tankIn the first article of the series I introduced the option to inject interest in anything you want to complete to help increase your motivation. The second article of the series introduced the possibility of using momentum to overcome your motivation issues when you have ADHD. This third article is sure to really rock your world.

Some people call the Maximum Productivity Makeover for ADHD Adults the ultimate time management program for ADHDers. Actually, this self-management system will teach you how to manage your time, energy and life. You learn amazingly powerful strategies proven effective by ADHDers just like you, who struggled just like you, but who’ve transformed their lives completely using these very strategies. You can use it to make your dreams come true too.

The Maximum Productivity Makeover is hard work though. I’m a firm believer in working smarter rather than harder, but it’s still hard work to learn how to work smarter (Annoying conundrum there, isn’t it? Seems there’s going to be hard work either way… so I highly recommend the approach with less work… learn to work smart!) Ok, so there’s work involved. But if it’s worth it, hard work doesn’t scare you, right? Especially when you can see the payoff. That payoff, what we call your “fuel,” is actually your key to success.

You’ll do the work, in fact, you won’t even notice that there’s hard work involved, if the reason driving you to do the work truly motivates you. All you need is a good reason. And there’s only one good reason for you to tackle any program, including The Maximum Productivity Makeover. What’s that reason? You’re the only one who knows what it is. But you may have buried it long ago.

You want to transform your life because the way you’re living now doesn’t match the amazing future you imagined for yourself before “life” started to beat you down. Before you struggled to sit still in school. Before all those report cards suggested you could do much better, if only you tried harder. Before your career so drastically failed to measure up to your aspirations. Before your spouse despaired of ever having help around the house instead of what seems like just another kid.

If you want a complete transformation so you can have a “normal” life, you need to keep digging. No child ever dreamed of having a “normal life,” unless a normal life includes slaying dragons! If you want an amazingly creative mind focused like a laser with the power to realize any dream you imagine just to impress your… wife, boss, mom, dad… you’re not there yet. Keep digging.

Keep digging until you find that old, buried, hidden and mistreated dream. Keep digging until you feel the passion you felt when you were younger and not as “realistic” as you’ve become.

You’ll know you’ve found that passion again, because your life will change… dramatically, drastically, amazingly! While programs like the Maximum Productivity Makeover for ADHD Adults provide the tools, it is YOU, your dreams, that provide the fuel! And the fuel determines the miles you travel, and the speed you move.

ADHD and Motivation Part 2: Using Momentum

The title probably gave it away, but this is the second part in a series of articles. In the first article of the series , we talked about injecting interest, novelty, challenge and sometimes urgency to make a boring task more enticing.

Today, we’ll look at a way to motivate you to do a task you find boring or difficult (and not in a fun, challenging way) and which you just can’t make interesting.

First, let’s stay away from guilt. You are not the problem, the task is. It’s boring, or worse. Guilt doesn’t work, and the negative feelings guilt leads to can throw you into a whirlpool of negativity.

You can recognize the dangerous slope to guilt when you start asking yourself, “Why?” Why can’t I do this? Why can’t I just focus? “Why” is not a productive question, and even if you had the answer, you’d be no closer to getting your task done.

There is, however, a guilt-free way of getting that challenging task done. In fact, this approach is so powerful I often refer to as an ADHDer’s “secret weapon.” There are two different ways of using momentum to tackle any task; we’ll look at one in this article, and the second in Part 3 of this series.

A physics law states, “An object in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object at rests tends to stay at rest.” If you can’t get started on a task, it’s very likely that situation is not going to change. If you can get moving, however, it’s much easier for you to keep moving.

Adults with ADHD often struggle with motivation because, unlike neurotypicals, when a task is boring, your brain doesn’t activate at all. While neurotypicals may find the task equally boring, they’ll still be able to activate their brains enough to focus and get it done.

ADHDers facing a boring task struggle to get their brains energized, and without that energy, you are unable to block out distractions so you can focus and get it done. Instead, you notice every stimulus and if anything is more enticing, before you know you’re doing anything but the boring task.

You can use momentum like a booster cable in a car. You can jumpstart your brain using a short, interesting or energizing task or activity. Do something you enjoy, like playing a musical instrument, drawing or taking a brisk walk outside. Once your brain is “in motion,” you can stop the activity you enjoy and move quickly to work on the boring task for as long as your brain can take it.

If you find yourself struggling again, move back to the short energizing task, a bit like putting your foot on the gas to keep a sputtering motor from dying.

Try it. I’m sure you’ll find it very effective. I’ll see you back here soon for part 3 of this series on ADHD and motivation, where we’ll look at another way you can use momentum to get more done.

In the meantime, please share your ideas for short, energizing or interesting activities you use to jumpstart your brain and activate your secret weapon, momentum.

ADHD and Motivation Part 1: Injecting Interest

Many of my clients have been dealing with the effect of ADHD on motivation lately. Of course, it is a common problem as ADHD and a lack of motivation often go hand in hand. It’s a challenging issue obviously important to many of you, but there’s good news; there are many strategies to help overcome your challenges. I’ll be devoting several posts to it. Be sure to join us.

Lack of motivation is a common but erroneous complaint among ADHDers. As an ADHDer, when you face a boring task, your brain just doesn’t activate, so it’s difficult to take action. You turn the key to start your turbo brain and nothing happens.

If you were a motorcycle, you wouldn’t blame a lack of motivation; you wouldn’t say a motorcycle is lazy. Unfortunately, however, you blame yourself for this problem. But like a motorcycle, the problem is either a lack of battery power, spark plugs that aren’t firing or not enough fuel in your tank. Of course, other issues might exist but we’ll discuss these at another time.

Let’s stick with the motorcycle analogy for a moment, and see how you might deal with this issue. If your battery is low on power, maybe you’re not recharging your battery. Sleep deprivation (or too much sleep), little or no exercise, poor nourishment, and your mood all contribute to insufficient power in your battery.

Proper self-care is your first line of defense against motivation problems. Solving these issues is simple but not always easy. To get enough sleep, exercise and to eat well requires that you be organized enough to do so. If you aren’t (or don’t feel) organized enough to take care of yourself, along with handling work, family and so on, consider seeking help to get organized.

If you’re well-rested, well-fed and getting enough exercise, then what appears as a lack of motivation is often the result of a lack of interest in the task or the results of the task. ADHDers are interest-based performers; without interest, someone may as well have put sugar in your tank. Your brain synapses won’t fire very well, making you feel sluggish instead of eager to move ahead.

If the task is truly boring, consider delegating or dropping it (more on delegating in future posts). If that is not possible and the task is essential, you will need to jumpstart your engine by injecting interest, novelty, challenge or urgency into the task.

This is really your chance to excel. I find most ADHDers are extremely creative, outside-the-box thinkers, so use that strength to make any task more interesting.

For example, you keep putting off paying your bills because it’s soooooo boring. Instead of sitting at your desk secluded in your office, bring your bills together along with your checkbook to a comfortable coffee shop – I love Second Cup, their Continental Black coffee reminds me of my vacation in Italy this past summer – and pay your bills as you leisurely sip your favorite blend of coffee or tea. You’ve just injected novelty into the task and greatly increased your chances of completing it.

I’d also like to encourage you to share your brilliant ideas with your fellow ADHDers. Share how you inject interest, novelty, challenge or urgency when dealing with boring tasks with me, either by posting it as a reply here on the blog, or contacting me directly (Linda at – replace at with @ – coachlindawalker.com) and I’ll gather everyone’s ideas and share them with all of you – for free.

Watch for my next post on ADHD and motivation where you’ll learn how to use momentum as a secret weapon to complete any task.