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» Intention is Not Enough

Intention is Not Enough

ADHD Strategies    January 12, 2012


“When you take a small purposeful step each day, great things can happen.”

Every January I get excited to come up with goals for the New Year. I’m a good goal setter. I see it as a way to challenge myself and keep things interesting. A bit like playing a game and figuring out which hoops I need to jump through to get to the prize. Sometimes I stick to these new resolutions…too often I don’t. I always have the best intentions, but I confess I haven’t always gone past this initial phase into taking the steps needed for success.

This year I made a promise that it would be different. This time, I’d reach the prize.

And so far, so good. On New Year’s Day, I actually crawled out of bed at 7 am swirling with resolutions to join a teleclass on creating my business plan. The fact that I was up so early was a good indicator of my intention and motivation! But what about the next day when I had to start working on the goals? To help me, I sat down and used the tool below so I would move forward toward success.
And today I share it with you- a simple strategy to help you set meaningful goals (at any time of the year) and create that plan of those first initial steps to get you moving forward and eventually following through:

  1. Get a piece of paper and fold it in half twice lengthwise and once crosswise (when you unfold the paper you will have created eight “boxes”).
  2. Consider 8 major areas of your life and label each box with a different category. Some areas might include: Family, work, school, friends, fun, money, health, environment, significant other/relationship, self awareness, spiritual growth,etc.
  3. Take a couple of minutes to remember what you have accomplished in the past year under each category. It might be a relaxing family vacation or finishing that class or repainting a room the exact color you wanted. Acknowledging what we achieved or what we were most proud of in the last year is one of the best ways to get excited about new goals. If you can’t remember any accomplishments or events, pull out a calendar to jog your memory. Or ask a friend, colleague or family member to remind you.
  4. For each category, ask yourself “How satisfied am I currently with this area of my life on a scale from 1-10?” (10 being very satisfied and 1 being very dissatisfied). Write this next to the label in that box and circle it. Do this without judging yourself. There are no right or wrong answers, only what is true for you. Typically, areas we rate lower in satisfaction are priorities we haven’t been paying much attention to lately. Often, it is these “low satisfaction” areas that are causing people’s unhappiness and give a good indication of what areas to change or set new goals in.
  5. Ask yourself “Why did I rate that area of my life as a 1 or a 6 or a 9.5?” What is working if even a little bit? What is missing? Again, give yourself credit for these accomplishments and don’t judge or allow that inner critic to limit your thoughts.
  6. This next step begins to define the strategies you can take to reach your goals. Ask yourself, “What can I do to raise my satisfaction in these different areas even just a little?” “What would it take to raise it one number?” or, “What is one step I can take that would e.g. take it from a “3” to a “5”?”
  7. Do this step…now! Or set a firm deadline to have this small step completed. Then go back and consider again, what can I do, now, to increase my satisfaction in this area of my life even a little.

These “baby steps” are just the beginning of making significant and meaningful changes in your life. By examining the level of satisfaction in each area of your life, you move those “good intentions” into action, thereby assuring a greater chance of keeping the momentum going and having success in reaching your goal.

7 Responses to Intention is Not Enough

  1. Gary Ares     February 1, 2012    5:17 pm    Reply

    Well done. ADHD people are often risk takers, so maybe try a “stretch” goal or two; something that will take the person out of their comfort zone. If this happens to be a physical sport, like barreling down a mountain on a bicycle, it’s important to first gain the skills. While I hear meditation is pretty safe.

  2. Laurie     February 2, 2012    12:47 pm    Reply

    Hi Gary! Thanks for your comment…and your sense of humor! I like the idea of challenge yourself to take advantage of that natural ADHD “risk taker” quality. And for some even challenging themselves to meditating for a bit longer everyday is every bit as much of a challenge and requires the same practice as a race down the mountain! Keep in touch. Most warmly, ~Laurie Dupar

  3. Cheri     February 3, 2012    7:38 pm    Reply

    Sounds like you might have ADD (lol). That “keeping the momentum going” thing is a killer for us. I have a plethora of stories.

    All suggestions for overcoming this one will be accepted…and hopefully tried out.

  4. Nancy Bean     February 4, 2012    6:42 pm    Reply

    Maintaining momentum? What a dynamic topic.
    A few friends and I use one another as ‘commitment comrades’. A buddy system of sorts. If I can’t quite keep my eye on progress or the carrot of completion, sharing my intentions with a trusted other can make all the difference. As a last resort, I replace the carrot with chocolate.

  5. Laurie     February 5, 2012    5:29 pm    Reply

    HI Nancy! Thanks for your response…again 🙂 You and your friends have discovered oneof the “natural” ways to beter manage your ADHD challenges…that is having supportive friends! Good for you! I also really appreciate your sense of humor and know that a CHOCOLATE carrot would give me great momentum! Keep in touch. ~Laurie Dupar

  6. Jackie     February 7, 2012    3:14 pm    Reply

    I think this is a good idea, perhaps I can get started on a couple of things that I have been “working” on for a year or two now. I have a question for you, how far have you gotten on your business plan?

  7. chris     February 14, 2012    4:40 pm    Reply

    Having an appointment with some helps me a lot

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