Goals that Work for People with ADHD

ADHD Strategies    January 1, 2019

Guess what? 2019 is here!

goals people with ADHD

Welcome to a new year!

Whether you absolutely crushed 2018, or you struggled to accomplish any of your goals, I want to help make 2019 the best year of your life.

Although I try not to tell others what to do, I do get a lot of questions from people in our ADHD tribe about how I get so much done.  So, I decided to go a bit outside of my personal rule of not giving unsolicited advice and tell you what works for me, hoping it might work for you also.

WHAT WORKS

So how can you make 2019 the best year of your life? How can you keep working on your goals, stay on track and end up a year from now knowing you did your best?

The answer? By being true to yourself and pursuing your dreams and goals.

Let me say that again…by being true to YOURSELF and pursuing YOUR dreams and goals.

The key to this is “YOUR”. Don’t try to be somebody you’re not, and don’t try to follow the dreams, outcomes, goals of others.

The concept might seem simple enough, but it’s a struggle that a lot of us living with ADHD share.

WHY IT’S SO HARD WITH ADHD

Why? Because a lot of the goals or “to do’s” that we aim for in life are actually the ideas and beliefs of others. Others without as much understanding of ADHD.

When we have ADHD, over time it is easy to stop trusting ourselves. Instead we start looking outside of ourselves for what must be best. At times this might work. But, if you continue to struggle with not meeting the goals you set year after year, consider this: Are you living a life where you are pursuing the things that are meaningful and important to you? Or, instead, are you are paying more attention to what’s “out there”, than what is inside and true for yourself?

Try this. Think about your goals for a minute.

Do you really want to be more organized? Have a structured systematic plan? Walk 10,000 steps a day? Alphabetize your receipts? Balance your finances down to the last penny? Have a clean kitchen everyday?

If you do…really do…great! You will rock it in 2019!!

However, what if you don’t? And how will you know the difference?

DO THIS INSTEAD

For a moment, get quiet and honest with yourself. Now consider which ones of those resolutions resonate with your heart or soul? Try taking a deep breath slowly in and out, pause, say the goal out loud and consider how it lands for a moment.

WHERE YOUR SUCCESS IS

The goals that are yours will feel like they are coming from deep inside. You may even notice that when you are speaking them out loud, your voice is calm, settled and solid. If they are not meaningful to you, they will be accompanied by a “should”. For instance, I really (should) get my finances in order. I really (should) start walking. I really (should) have a system for washing dishes every night.

Goals that are true for you will feel more like a “want”. For instance: I want to enjoy a less chaotic or cluttered environment. I want to enjoy living in a body that is strong and healthy. I want to be prepared for tomorrow by leaving my kitchen clean at night.

WHY IT MATTERS

It starts with being aware and honest with yourself about what is important to you. Then you can design the goals, steps and outcomes to make those changes. Creating new habits with this foundation will have more likelihood of success. AND you’ll have more energy and satisfaction to keep going.

Trying to make changes based on what others want or expect you to be will always be difficult. It drains our energy and is uninspiring because it is not who we are. It’s so much easier to be ourselves. Growing and moving towards being your best self, based on what’s important to you with ADHD, will be easier with much more chance of success.

And lest you forget…in the end the world gets to enjoy your unique amazingness. J

So, as 2019 begins I encourage you to set goals for yourself. Just make sure that those goals you set are ones that are important to YOU.

Why “HOW” is Not Enough for People with ADHD

ADHD Awareness    November 30, 2018

Laurie DuparStarting out over 35 years ago as a fledging nurse I spent a great deal of time learning “how” to do things.

HOW to give an injection so it never hurt. HOW to identify life-threatening heart rhythms and perform defibrillation. And most impressive, HOW to completely change a person into a clean hospital gown and fresh linen while they lay in the bed!

Being a nurse taught me HOW to do lots of things. And I was good at it. Knowing what to do and HOW to take care of people when they were hospitalized, compromised, and not at their best felt good. Using my knowledge and telling patients HOW to do things to help them recover from their hospitalization just came naturally to me. And for the most part it seemed to be the way of the world. Or so I thought.

And then I discovered the profession of coaching. And I remember when I heard my instructor say that telling someone what to do, or “how” to do it wasn’t what a life coach did.

Say, what?!

I had spent most of my 40 years and completed three academic degrees, learning HOW. I did how really well. And now, some new fangled profession was telling me that “how” wasn’t enough?!

Well….if not “how” then what?! It made zero sense to me at the time. So little sense, in fact, that I’ve remembered that moment for years and…

Turns out it was true.

Especially for persons with ADHD.

While it is, indeed, my responsibility to master the HOWs and whys of being an ADHD life coach. And I make sure to stay abreast of the various strategies, tips, resources and techniques for better managing ADHD. I now know that individuals struggling with ADHD don’t really need or want all of that.

Not one client in 17 years has asked me, “Hey, HOW many hours do most people with ADHD sleep at night?”

Not one ever asked me, “Hey, HOW do people with ADHD remember to take their medication?”

Not a soul ever seemed interested in listening to the plethora of solutions, strategies, techniques, and details I know of HOW to with ADHD.

What I have noticed most in people’s mind and heart when they have ADHD is WHO they are. The unique beautifully complex fully whole and capable person they are. That I am willing and able to come to the table (or phone) and meet them WHO and where they are…

During our work together, they want me to I listen generously to their experiences, without judgment, and appreciate their WHY and their ways. And know, that I would leave no stone unturned. No question unasked in my pursuit in providing them with the individualized attention they needed.

That I really hear, appreciate and understand Who They Are. What they want uniquely. What is important to them. That I am as interested in their talents and passions as I am in their struggles and challenges. Because when this happens, a space is created into which together we can relax. In coaching we call it a partnership.

In this partnership clients feel safe and can begin tapping into their own knowing and creative solutions. Then, when the HOWs are discovered they end up being uniquely suited for that person. Including and appreciating WHO in their wholeness does this.

Knowing “how” is not enough with ADHD. There are books by the dozens giving the HOWs (I have written several myself). These are a great start, but not the complete answer. For persons living with ADHD, the real transformation happens when WHO you are is understood and invited into designing the HOWs.

I expect many of you already know this.

We live in a world that is (very often) HOW-Focused. We watch athletes win races and wonder — How did she DO that?!?

We watch movies, listen to music, see Instagram posts, advertisements, read articles, listen to podcasts and wonder “HOW”?

But let’s just for a moment consider this.

Is perhaps the real answer about WHO she is that she decided to train and compete…and the winning is merely a result of that bigger answer?

Maybe you have noticed someone consistently striving to increase the awareness of ADHD. They seemingly have endless determination to make a difference. Isn’t the more profound insight found when we consider WHO he is that drives such passion and commitment?

You have seen frustrated overwhelmed children with ADHD lashing out. Or adults with ADHD self-medicating with alcohol, risk taking, or isolation.

Yet, something profound happens when we allow ourselves to look past judging the behavior. To see beyond just HOW to fix it. The deeper awareness is found when we ask “WHO” this person is and discover they are so frustrated, sad or lonely.

I know this is a different conversation, a different way of Being. I struggled myself to wrap my head around it after years of focusing on the HOWs. Yet, 17 years as a coach has proven that it’s a whole lot more powerful when WHO is asked.

Being a WHO Person isn’t always easy. It can seem weird or strange to others living in a How World. Especially when you have ADHD and all the HOWs of others don’t or haven’t seemed to work.

But I promise you, knowing WHO you are assures that any HOWs you design will be rooted in what is true and most meaningful for you. And when that’s the case there is more likelihood that they will work for you.

Stay amazing!

 

 

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ADHD Tricks and Halloween Treats

ADHD in Children, ADHD Strategies, Adults with ADHD    October 31, 2018

ADHD fearsIt’s October 31st so of course I have Halloween on my mind – scary ghosts, wicked vampires and long-legged creepy spiders!

And…I will admit that my bowl of treats (my favorites are Reese Peanut Butter Cups) is sitting by the door waiting for my neighborhood to knock with a few pieces missing.

This is the time of year when we put on costumes and look forward to being tricked or spooked!  That is the fun kind of scared.  The kind that gets your adrenaline going, your heart pumping and then laughing when you realize that once again your son put that giant rubber rat sitting on your kitchen floor and tricked you!

But what about those other fears?  The ones we usually don’t talk about that keep us up at night?  Or drain our energy?  The ones that last year-round and keep us from living the life we want?  Fears about the future, our jobs, our relationships…our ADHD?  Fears that lurk in those dark, lonely places of our mind and haunt us.

Fears like…

Ghostly ADHD fears – no, not actual ghosts.  I mean the thinly veiled, always lurking, lives in the shadows fear that has made you work incredibly hard to hide your ADHD.  The fears you keep hidden behind the daily façade you put up, ones just waiting to come out and reveal the “truth”.  Fear that people will see through your intelligence, creativity, good job or successes to the unorganized, forgetful, easily distracted ADHD person underneath.  The fear that once these things are known, all we have will disappear and we will be seen as someone less than, incompetent, or irresponsible.

Reality behind the fear?  These fears, like ghosts, have no substance.  And like ghosts they live in the past and we keep them alive only by believing in them.  The truth is we live now, in the present.  And today, in the now, it’s likely everyone around you already knows these things about you…and guess what?  The ones that matter, love you anyway.

Vampire Fears – the ones that drain you.  These ADHD fears exhaust you because they keep you up at night and suck the energy from you during the day.  The ‘What ifs’…what if my ADHD keeps me from getting that promotion?  What if my spouse gets fed up with my forgetting things?  What if my son has ADHD?  These ADHD fears never stop, they feed on your life, leave you feeling empty.

Reality behind the fear?  This worrying is not going to change one thing and often results in bringing to life your worst fears coming true.  Instead, notice the fear, ask yourself if this is something you can change and begin to channel your worry into action – shining a light on our fears helps us see them for what they – much smaller once the dark shadows are gone.

Creeping Spider Fears – these are the worst.  That creeping sensation that something is wrong with you because you have ADHD.  These fears crawl along your skin and settle there quietly, waiting for just the right moment when success or even possibility is within reach.  It’s then that they show themselves and we are caught helpless in the ‘I don’t deserve this’ or ‘I can’t do that’ web.

Reality behind the fear?  You can do anything!  ADHD is not an excuse or a reason that you can’t do or have the life you want.  These fears have no hold over you if you stop struggling and learn how to maximize and leverage your other strengths.

We all have fears…and when living with ADHD they can creep into our minds at any moment.  They are thoughts…not actual things…that hold us back and prevent us from success and experiencing life the way we want.

Knowing the difference between what’s “real” and what we’ve made up to believe and is no longer true or serving us is key in being able to minimize those fears that keep us stuck so we can enjoy all the tricks and treats of ADHD along the way!

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