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Why Planning My Not Be What You Need This New Year’s

Adults with ADHD    December 30, 2019

ADHD planningThe start of a new year shouts at us to make way for fresh opportunities, planning, setting and accomplishing new goals.

My inbox has been inundated with planning, preparing and calendaring courses for the past month. Just in case I forget that this is the season for long term planning.

Personally, I’m feeling significant pressure to make something new and amazing happen in this next year and in the decade ahead.

I am a big fan of looking ahead and setting goals. I LOVE to get a brand spanking new calendar and fill the pages with all the possibilities to come (and even created a day-long workshop to help others plan!).

It’s a time I can be thoughtful and specific about changes I want to make. Ones that will increase the satisfaction and fulfillment in my life. It’s a lovely in-between time when I can get creative and dream my heart out, and not yet face the actual deadlines or details of accomplishing these goals.

So, if you’re feeling excited, energized and enthusiastic about planning and getting into action this new year, awesome.

If you’re not, that’s okay, too. And this may be why.

But first, let me say that not wanting to host your own planning party right now may have nothing to do with having ADHD. It may have nothing to do with procrastination, overwhelm, disorganization or wanting to live in the moment.

It may be, that just because Julius Caesar thought the first day of January was a good time to mark the beginning of a new year, it simply doesn’t align well with our internal human seasonal calendar.

January in the northern hemisphere is in the middle of winter. AKA…cold! A time when nature, the grass, leaves and flowers hide beneath a blanket of white or hardened earth. And I’m wondering if similarly, this is a time for us to be drawn inside toward our own center. A natural season for introspection, self-reflection and restoration. A time of needing to let nature work its inner transformational magic for what’s coming next. A preparing… “cocooning” of sorts.

And boy oh boy am I feeling it!

For weeks now I’ve been noticing a quiet stirring. A need to turn inward before plowing ahead and filling my calendar with resolutions, goals and to-dos. To take just a bit more time to ask myself what I want the new year and decade to bring.

And maybe you have noticed it too.

For me this is a sense of wanting to be alone and being inclined to stay inside. To be introspective, read, research, covered in my down comforter or heated blanket. And when I dare to venture outside, I am wrapped in layers of coats, scarves, gloves and lined boots. I love the outdoors, but I find that recently I have preferred to watch it from inside. I’m not depressed or lonely. I just want to spend time alone and think. To be purposeful and prepare for the growth I want in my life. Not quite ready to plan the minute details yet.

Technology combined with our stone-age human brain makes it easy to forget that we are part of this cycle of rest, transformation and rebirth. And contrarily we try making plans for what’s to come in a time of winter. A time of natural “cocooning” introspection, rest and preparation for the transformation that will occur shortly.

So, if you, like me and are finding your focus turning inward towards self-awareness and discovery, rest and rejuvenation right now that’s OK too.

This may be a time when you need to prepare and nourish yourself before laying down all those New Year’s (or new decade) resolutions.

Some things you can do now to prepare yourself for setting goals and resolutions that are right for you include:

  • Whenever possible give yourself permission to slow down.
  • Reading books that inspire you to become more self-aware of what’s really important to you.
  • Get clear on what your core values are.
  • Journal about what you are noticing right now in your life to gain insight into what you want the next year to bring.
  • Write about what your dream day would be a year from now. Use this to begin exploring areas you might want to focus on in the new year.
  • Rest and relax in whatever way rejuvenates you. I find myself taking a lot of hot baths this time of year.
  • Allow more time for sleep. Sleep consolidates all your ideas and thoughts and keeps your body healthy.
  • Choose movies that fill you with joy, inspiration and optimism.
  • Listen to music that fills your soul.
  • Tap into your creativity that has been ignored for way too long.
  • Journal about what your perfect day five years from now will be like. Consider what needs to change between now and then for it to happen.
  • Spend as much time alone as feels right for you.
  • Engage with others that respect this reflective and introspective time.
  • Set a specific date when you can take all this preparation work and put it into a plan.

This time of year may have you already creating plans, goals and resolutions. Or, it may be a time to soak in a bit more of the energy that will propel and sustain you once you burst forth into the world again with your goals and plans to pursue your dreams.

Either way, just remember YOU ARE AMAZING!

Happy New Year and wishes for a decade of a life you love.


Want to read more? If you’re feeling the New Year’s energy, check out:

Marie Kondo Your ADHD

Fun Ways to Get Organized with ADHD

Strategic Business Planning Made Easy 

And if you’re not, check out:

Why Preparation, Not Planning, is the Key to Success

Goals for People with ADHD

Learn the Skill of “Pulling Over” with ADHD Overwhelm

I Hope You Express Your Amazing ADHD Self


Taking Pause and Feeling Grateful This Holiday Season

Adults with ADHD    December 2, 2019

Feeling gratefulFirst — If you’re struggling with all the sales emails, you’re not alone!

I’ve had enough!  This year I’ve felt nearly assaulted by all the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, BOGOs, 30%,60%, 90% offs, Big Reveals, and awaiting deals to amaze me, emails!

So, I unplugged this weekend.  Maybe you did, too.  I know I was missing out on super savings, but I just couldn’t do it anymore.  If you persevered and nabbed your treasures online and are done shopping, there is a wee part of me that is a bit envious, I’ll admit, but this year I’ve decided to do my December gift shopping old school style.

You see, I’m lucky to be surrounded by boutique gift stores. The historic town where I live is decorated in tree wrapped lights, holiday music wafts from inside the shops and there’s no one “shushing” me when I sing along to old favorites.  It’s magical.

The holiday list I’m using is for who I want to find a gift for, not what to buy.  I’m trusting inspiration, intuition and a little luck to guide my choices, not savings or deals.  Unhurriedly browsing the shops, I delight in being able to pick up, really look over and imagine giving it to the recipient.  Holding it helps me feel connected in a way I didn’t realize I missed when shopping with my keyboard.

And this year is especially important for me to feel connected to those I love.  November ended remembering four family members who had passed this last year.  During our annual Thanksgiving gathering we told 51 years of stories, browsed through photos, shared memories and spread ashes on what now feels like sacred ground.

Despite these losses, I feel pretty darn grateful.  And I’m finding it hard to share these feelings without it turning into a cliché or sounding trite.  If I were a religious person, I would say that the greatest sin would be to waste our gifts and talents.  So, when I say I am “thankful,” it’s not only for what has passed, or what is now, but for the opportunity to continue to honor my life by hopefully making a meaningful contribution and positive difference in the world moving forward.

Veering a bit from my typical blogs, I’m going to get a bit personal and share with you examples about what I am feeling grateful for.  Maybe they will help you to appreciate this past year if it has been anything like mine and maybe even help you start the next year with a different perspective.

I’m grateful to still be participating in life in general

Four memorial services remind me of this clearly.  I am not afraid of dying.  It happens to everyone and very few get to choose their time, place or circumstance.  But please, for the record don’t put me in a jar and keep me immortalized on a shelf, mantle or piano.  Or crush my remains into a diamond or mix them with soil to grow into a tree. It’s ok if that’s your wish.  For me, spread my ashes on the sacred ground of my forefathers and let the earth do with me what it will.

I’m grateful for my health

My number one focus this past year has been on my health.  It’s been on my list for several years, but this year I simply got tired of seeing it continue to be ignored.  I am in a much healthier place this December.  I’ve lost a significant amount of weight, cut sugar out of my diet, don’t drink alcohol, walk weekly, finally sleep better and all lab tests taken this year have come back healthy.  Honoring my health is hard for me so I hope to continue this into the next year.

I’m grateful for my kids

Another obvious one, but I truly am so amazed at the people they have become.  And although people sometimes try to give me credit for that, I put it all back on them.  After all, otherwise I would have to take credit for when they weren’t so amazing, and I’d rather not do that either.  They are kind, loving, smart, passionate adults.  And I have to admit the fact that they are self-sufficient, responsible, independent and seem to be happy is all icing on the cake of parenting.

I’m grateful for technology

I definitely have a love-hate relationship with the internet.  With its unlimited potential, I can connect with people all around the world.  Get answers to the zillion questions that race through my brain and share ADHD resources with people I have never met and even speak different languages.  I am able to work with clients all over the globe and train students in the International ADHD Coach Training Center (iACTcenter.com) to be able to decrease the stigma and increase the awareness of ADHD in their communities and cultures.

I’m grateful for Amazon

OK maybe this seems odd, but Amazon makes my life so much easier.  It saves me time and probably money by letting me shop for those nonperishables and having them delivered to my door.  And let me just say…I for one appreciate the “smile” on the side of the box when it arrives at my doorstep.

I’m grateful for a renewed appreciation for nature

I am not, nor will I ever be someone who yearns to travel miles into the wild, cook rehydrated meals over a camp stove or beam with pride over callouses from my hiking boots.  Camping to me has always been staying at a Motel Six.  Having said that, I have begun to take notice of what I call everyday nature.  Things like pink evening sunsets, the way the mist hovers between the tall evergreen trees on the lake, the smell of sea life when the tide is out and the consistency of birds at the feeders I placed outside my living room window.  These everyday nature moments calm, settle and ground me.

I’m grateful for you

Because of you, I feel like I am making a difference in the world.  You let me know how I continue to change your life, share something you didn’t know about ADHD and have given you hope.  Every day I feel privileged because you make me feel like I’m doing something important.  I believe the work that I do as an ADHD Life Coach and trainer is a calling.  Something I didn’t even know was a profession but feels like I was uniquely designed to do.  And because of you, I have been able to create this place for myself in the world. So, thank you.


Want some more guidance on how to handle the holidays? Check out:

10 Tips to Better Manage Your Time During the Holidays

Adult ADHD: Getting a Handle on the Holiday Havoc

3 Ways You Can Make a Difference in the Lives of Others With ADHD

What You Need to Know Before Going to the 2019 International Conference on ADHD

ADHD Resources    November 1, 2019
adhd conference

Group of diverse people in a conference

The annual 2019 International ADHD Conference kicks off next Thursday, November 7th in Philadelphia.  Per tradition, it will be jam-packed with pre-conference workshops, general conference sessions, an exhibit hall plus a talent show.

Although the conference is focused around the sharing of information, research and resources on all things ADHD, I find that my favorite part of this conference is being with my ADHD tribe, seeing old friends and colleagues, meeting and making new friends in the ADHD community and basically basking in the unexpected fun that happens when over a thousand people with ADHD are gathered all in one place!

And sadly… this will be the first time in over 15 years that I won’t be attending.  The good news is my nephew is getting married and I will be celebrating with him and my family at this once-in-a-lifetime event.

In my stead, representing Coaching for ADHD and the International ADHD Coach Training Center (iACTcenter) at the ADHD conference is my VP of Everything, Meg Gehan.  I have complete confidence in her!  She has attended nearly as many of these events as I have and will be tending our booth in the Exhibit Hall, so make sure you stop by and say hello!

With the excitement of the conference growing, I’ve received many questions from clients and students about how to prepare and make the most of the conference.  So I thought I would share with you some things I’ve learned over the past 15 years attending these conferences in case it might help you as well.

Here are a few tips you might want to consider before arriving in Philadelphia to make this ADHD conference a success:

1. Know what you want to take away from the conference experience even before you arrive. For some it might be to hear a particular session, or to hopefully meet one of their ADHD crushes (mine is definitely Rick Greene J ), discover a particular ADHD resource or meet others with ADHD.  So, ask yourself right now, “What do I want to take away from this conference that will make it worth my time, energy and investment?”  Do this even before you pack your bags.

2. Browse conference, preconference and keynote sessions online at home. Take the time to review the title of the talk, the speaker’s bio and the objectives for each session.  Make a plan for those you want to attend.  During the conference there can be so much going on that you can get swept up in the crowd and find yourself in a session that wasn’t what you wanted.

3. Don’t hesitate to leave a session if it is not serving your needs. Your time is precious, and despite your best preparation, you may find yourself in a session or topic that isn’t what you expected.  It is perfectly OK to excuse yourself quietly, slip into another session, take the time to re-evaluate your plan or simply relax.

4. Check the schedule for sessions that might repeat. Occasionally conference planners realize that some talks or speakers are so popular they scheduled the speaker twice during the conference.  If this is the case it might help you when choosing what sessions to attend and when.

5. Bring a notebook and pen. Sometimes these are provided in the conference registration goodie bag, but having your own will assure you have room for the notes you want to remember.

6. Bring business cards if you have one. Although not necessary it sure is a simple way to exchange contact information with new friends.

7. Get two keys for each person in your room. I always lose it if I have one…with two…I always end the conference with both…go figure.

8. Take a black permanent marker and write the room number on your room key card. No more walking the halls or waiting at the check-in desk…again.

9. It’s Ok not to do, see, hear, or attend everything. Write down your “must do’s” and a few alternatives.  Pick the sessions and activities that fit for you.  Everyone is different and you want to get what you need from the conference.  Yoga or morning nature walks are not everyone’s way of starting the day.

10. Print out the handouts for the sessions before you leave. Pack these in your suitcase. Check to see if the session you want to attend has handouts by going to the conference site before you leave.  Typically there is a conference guide, but handouts for each session are not included.

11. Bring a smartphone and an extra personal charger. Smartphones are great for capturing those selfies and taking a photo of an information-packed slide during a session. Charging outlets are few and far between so be prepared with your own charger in case your phone starts to die.

12. Bring your own shoulder tote or backpack. A conference tote is usually given away as part of your registration, but it is rarely sturdy enough for carrying all the essentials handouts, giveaways, water bottles, snacks, extra layers of clothes and brochures you will collect.

13. Plan to smile and introduce yourself to people you don’t know. Remember most people attending the conference are newbies too. Worried you won’t know what to talk about?  Remember you always have the topic of ADHD in common!  One of my favorite conversation starters is to ask people is “What brings you to this conference?”

14. These conferences start early and go late. And if you are traveling across time zones, it is even more important that you honor your body’s need for sleep to synthesize all the learning you will be doing.

15. Take a break. If you feel you need it, step away from the noise. Excuse yourself and find a corner to gather your thoughts.  If you feel overwhelmed, go back to your room or sit in the lobby for a session rather than trying to cram more into your head.  When you are ready to dive in again, your brain will thank you for it.

16. Where to hang out to meet people. Past experience has shown that the lounge, bar or lobby are the best places.

17. Move your body if you need to. If you find yourself in a session where you need to move, this is the conference where no one is going to have any problem with you doing so. Simply move to the back of the room where you can stretch and wiggle without interrupting others.

18. Prepare for the next day. Each evening leaves a bit of time to review the following day’s events so you can be prepared with the conference guide, handouts, etc.

19. Know when, where and what meals will be served. This conference tends to be very good at providing nutritious options. However, it will be helpful for you to know which of these meals is included with the conference registration, which you can purchase on site at the conference and which you will need to plan on your own.

20. Pack snacks. Hangries are the worst buzz kill during a conference. Along with the handouts for the breakouts sessions you want to attend, add in some long burning fuel snacks like nuts, dried fruit and protein bars.

21. If you are a coffee drinker… plan extra time in any hotel coffee shop to get your caffeine.  These are some of the longest lines during the conference.

22. Attire is business casual. However, I would suggest wearing what you are comfortable wearing. Never in 15 years have I seen the fashion police at this conference.  However, you may want to add in an extra scarf, sweater or jacket.  The presentation rooms tend to be cool.

23. Be flexible. Things will not always go as planned.  Have fun going with the flow and enjoy being with a group of people who completely understand the fun and amusement of spontaneity.

24. Smile and smile more! You are almost sure to share lots of laughs with people you meet. Others who REALLY understand you attend this conference.  Enjoy their company.

25. Feeling overwhelmed and in need of a smiling face?  Visit the iACTcenter Booth in the Exhibit Hall and tell Meg you read this blog.  She will be there with some words of reassurance and can be your touchstone during the weekend.

Remember, that along with the information and resources, there are so many other ways to benefit and grow from attending this conference.  Be prepared to meet, shake hands or even get a hug from people you have only heard about or read about.  The professionals and experts that work with ADHD are very friendly and you just might get the opportunity to thank them personally for making such a difference in your life.

And, finally, don’t be surprised if a smile, hello or shared ADHD story from you makes a difference in someone else’s life…I know it happens to me all the time.

Enjoy the conference, I’ll be thinking of you all!

Stay amazing.


Want to know more about the iACTcenter so you know what booth to look for at the Exhibit Hall? Click here!