Words Matter So Choose Yours Carefully

What goes around comes around.  What you “send out” in thoughts, feelings, and actions eventually comes back to you.  If these statements are true, and I believe that they are, then the WORDS that you choose to think and speak are powerful.  Thoughts are made up of words, and thoughts influence your feelings, and your actions and the outcomes that you create.  Single words can influence our feelings.  Think of several words (joy, despair, abundance, poverty, healthy, sick, for example).  Think about each word separately for a few seconds.  Notice the feelings that come up when you think about each word.

 

Someone (a person with expertise in ADD) explained to me yesterday that there is a big difference between saying “I am the problem” and saying “I have a problem.”  I thought about the words in those statements.  The first statement made me feel constricted and stuck.  The second statement made me feel hope that there are solutions that I just need to discover, or that solutions will present themselves to me if I am open to receive them.

 

In a conversation with a client this morning, I found more evidence of the tremendous power that words have in our lives.  The client began a recent work project with thoughts that contained words like  “I want to do this, but I don’t know how.”  She undoubtedly said these words to herself many times at the beginning of this project.  As she worked on the project, not knowing what the successive steps would be, she discovered that she could figure out what to do next as she went along.  Her new words became “I know I can figure it out as I go along even if I don’t know all the steps in the beginning.”  These new words are supporting her immensely as she contemplates taking on a new project which will have a steep learning curve.

 

         What words are you using to form the thoughts that influence your feelings and actions that influence the outcomes you create?  Are you choosing words like “My ADD makes it impossible for me to organize myself, to manage my time, and to finish the projects that I start?” or are you  choosing and using words like “I see that others have done what I want to do, and I am in the process of creating what I want to create, and all is well because I am able to learn and figure things out as I go?”  Right now, think of or write down some words that will serve you better with regard to whatever you are trying to accomplish in your life.  If the words make you feel better, or you feel inspired to take an action, you’re on the right path!

Have a happy, healthy, joyful week!

 

Denise

Attention Makes All the Difference

What you focus on expands.  That’s right.  Whatever you focus your attention on expands.  If you have a never-ending stream of thoughts about what you perceive to be your failures and short-comings, more failure will come your way.  If you think more about your successes, expanding them in your mind, you will create more successes in your life.

 

One of the things I do toward the beginning of every coaching call is to ask clients to tell me about the “wins” they have had during the week.  No one can say they haven’t had any “wins” during the week because we all have some “wins” every day, even if they seem small.

 

If you are an adult with ADD who often arrives late to appointments because you don’t allow yourself enough travel time, refocus your attention on the times that you do manage to arrive on time.  Dwell on these times, even if they seem to be few.  You will find yourself arriving at appointments more and more on time.  If you feel trapped in an endless cycle of procrastination, notice and celebrate the areas of your life where you are moving forward.  You will soon find yourself moving forward on things you used to “put off.”  Instead of talking about the things you didn’t get done, make a list of the things you did get done and talk about these.  What do you think will happen?

 

Intangible things count as “wins.”  In the long run, they may be more important than tangible things.  For example, if you are a teacher or a parent and you have a positive interaction with your student or child, count it as a “win.”  You’ll never know how this may affect that person years from now.  When you encourage another person and that person benefits from the encouragement, you have another “win.”  If you eat something health, exercise, or care for your body, mind, or spirit in some way, these are “wins.”  Dwell on them and set the stage for more good habits.

 

At the end of the day, when you lay your head down on your pillow, make a mental list of your “wins” for the day.  Let your thoughts linger more on your “wins” than on your perceived failings and you will invariably attract more “wins” into your life.  When you allow yourself to feel good about your “wins,” even the small ones, you will attract more and bigger “wins” more quickly into your life.  As always, don’t take my word for it.  Go out and try it in your laboratory, the world.

 

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Have a glorious week!

 

Denise       

What To Do Instead of Making a Resolution

On the eve of every New Year, for as long as I can remember, I got out a legal pad and wrote a long list of resolutions for myself to live up to in the coming year.  Things I would do.  Things I would stop doing.  Habits I would break.  Some of them I actually kept for one or two weeks.  I never got started on many of them.  Actually, I never got started on most of them.  It wasn’t my fault.  Resolutions just aren’t all that effective in helping to change behavior.

Let’s look at a common New Year resolution. ” This year, starting right after tomorrow (the New Year holiday), I’m going to lose  the extra weight.  I’m so disgusted.  I’ve outgrown this pair of pants that I bought just six months ago.  It will be a strict diet for me. No more butter on my toast.  No chocolate chip cookies on my break.  I’ll eat fruit for lunch and a hard-boiled egg with a salad for dinner.  I’m really serious this time.  Things are so out of control.”

How likely is it that this person will make the same resolution next year?  Pretty high.  In fact, it’s likely they made the same resolution last year and the year before that.

The person who makes this kind of resolution is taking action in a very negative state of mind.  The feelings include disgust and even self-loathing.  Action taken in this state of mind is less likely to be effective and bring the kind of change that is wanted.

So, instead of beating herself up, what should this person do?  The best thing for her to do is to step back and take the time to get into a positive, or at least a less negative, state of mind, before taking any action.  Feeling better about her body and herself before taking any action at all will help this person to find the path to her ideal body as surely as negativity kept her off it.

She could reach for any thought that brings a better feeling.  Here are a few:

  • I don’t have to be a size 2 by next week.
  • There are small habits I could change that would make a big difference over time.
  • My body deserves to be treated kindly by me.

Feeling good actually inspires people to take action whereas feeling bad makes them want to drag their feet.  Here we used the example of losing weight, but it’s true for any area in which you might wish to make changes.  Finding a way to feel good before the change occurs is actually the best way to make the change successfully.

If you want to share this post, or make a comment, please click on the title.  Have a blessed New Year in 2015.

Denise

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Get What You Believe

What is it you’ve been trying to create in your life?  A loving relationship?  A thinner, healthier body?  A new job or career?  Your own business?  More income?  Or do you simply want to perform at a higher level in all areas of your life?

Have you been working hard, perhaps even struggling, to achieve these things, but it seems you should be getting better results for all of the effort you put forth?

Take a look at your beliefs.  You can be taking massive action, but if your beliefs are not compatible with your goals, you will find ways to hold the things you desire away from you.

One common belief that holds people back is “I don’t deserve to have what I want.”  I have actually heard clients admit they believe they need to be more successful in their careers before they can find love.  Translate to “I have to reach a certain level of success in my career and then I will deserve love.”

In her book, Write It Down, Make It Happen, Henriette Anne Klauser tells about a woman who has been searching for love for years and actually writing letters to her future mate.  The woman discovers, through her writing, that she has been observing the problems her friends were having in their relationships and believes that the same problems will befall her if she finds love.

Another belief that holds many back is “I can’t (insert whatever).”  “I can’t perform at the level I desire.  I can’t have the income I want.  I can’t get my home, office, and finances in order.  ADD will always hold me back.”

These kinds of beliefs are not facts the way gravity is a fact.  They are things you have been saying to yourself for so long that they have taken on the appearance of truth, but they can be changed, and your life will change when you change your beliefs.

First, become aware of your beliefs by listening closely to the things you are saying to yourself inside your head.  If you’re putting yourself down a lot, there’s a good chance you believe you are undeserving.  Change that thought to “I deserve to have all of the good things life has to offer.”  Repeat it enough times with conviction and it will become your truth.  You have just taken the first, and possibly the most difficult, step on the path to achieving what you want.

 

Making Your Mornings Stress-free

Morning Madness

Tim (not his real name) had to get up at 5:00 a.m. to be ready to leave for work by 7 a.m.  In addition to performing routine tasks like eating breakfast, packing lunch, showering and dressing, he spent a lot of time figuring out what to put in his backpack to take to work.  This meant a lot of decision-making and a lot of hunting for things if he decided he needed them, but didn’t know where they were.  He allowed himself two hours to get ready so he would not experience the stress of having to rush.

Debbie found it nearly impossible to get “out the door” when she needed to to make it to work on time.  She worried about the problems she would create with her boss if she arrived late.  She had no morning routine.  She admitted that she spent a lot of time wandering around the house figuring out what to do next.  Deciding what to wear was a challenge and, after she decided what to wear, she had to spend more time figuring out which make-up and jewelry to wear with her outfit.

Solutions for Morning Madness

Tim and Debbie, like many people with ADD (and some without it), have a tendency to stay up later in the evening and have more difficulty getting up in the morning.  Tim and Debbie, we decided, could make their lives easier by taking the following actions:

  • Doing more planning the night before.  Tim needed to decide which items he needed to take to work, put them in his backpack, and place the backpack near the door before going to bed.  Debbie needed to select and lay out her clothes,   eye shadow, jewelry, and shoes the night before.  This would eliminate the need to make decisions and conduct searches for things at a time of day when these adults with ADD are not at their peak.
  • Creating a written list of the tasks they routinely perform in the morning and doing them the same way, in the same order, every day, eliminating the need to think about what they have to do.
  • Consciously practicing the routine for 30 days to make it automatic and easy-to-perform, referring to the list to stay on-task if necessary.

Benefits of Stress-free Mornings

I have seen clients transform their mornings, and succeed in getting every day off to a better start when they were willing to take the above actions consistently until their mornings became easy.  One client even tracked his progress on his electronic calendar and this contributed to his success.  He put stars on the calendar for each day that he performed his morning exercise, spent fifteen minutes planning his day, and arrived at work by the time he set for himself.  At the end of a week or a month, he could pull up the calendar and see how many days he had succeeded in accomplishing these morning tasks.  Seeing how successful he had been encouraged him to continue.

Mornings need not be the most stressful part of the day!  You needn’t  arrive at work feeling like you’ve just survived a hurricane.  By creating and maintaining a solid morning routine, you can get every day off to a great start, and enjoy a life-enhancing sense of well-being.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts Are More Important Than You Thought

Take Notice Of  What You Are Thinking

How closely do you pay attention to the 60,000 or so thoughts that run through your head every day?  Take a few minutes and really listen to the content of your thoughts.

Are you noticing thoughts like these?

  • I really “screwed up” when I made that comment this morning.  I don’t know what I was thinking!
  • I’m so disorganized and I can’t change.  That’s just who I am.
  • This project is going to be so hard and will take so much time.
  • It’s so easy to gain weight and so hard to lose it.
  • There are no good (men, women, jobs) out there.

If these kinds of thoughts dominate the parade of thoughts that stream through your mind every day, it would be in your best interest to change them.  These kinds of thoughts do not spur you on to success or improve your well-being in any way.  They may well just make you want to “give up,” especially if you are marinading in them every day.

Change Your Thoughts To Change Your Life

If you want to change things in your life, you must begin by changing the thoughts in your mind.  If you want to be a person who is organized, productive, thin, on time, fun to be with, or whatever, you must first think of yourself (imagine yourself) to be organized, productive, thin, on time, fun to be with, or whatever.  You must find ways to think thoughts that make you feel better, even if it’s just a little bit better.

Try thinking the thoughts below and notice how you feel as compared to how you felt when you thought the ones above.

  • My usual modus operandi is to say things very tactfully.
  • Organization and time management are skills that anyone can learn, even if they have ADHD.
  • Maybe it won’t be as hard or take as long as I think.  What can I do to make it easier and more enjoyable?
  • I can start with small changes.  I can begin going in the right direction by doing something as small as giving up my evening snack or walking for 15 minutes a day.
  • My middle-aged neighbor got married last year so there must be some good (men/women) out there.  My sister started a new job last month so there must be jobs out there.

Conclusion

Self-critical or judgmental thoughts will not help you to improve your life in any way.  They will make you feel bad and the worse you feel, the more things spiral downward.  Thoughts that make you feel better will inspire you to take action and the actions you take when you feel better will be more effective.  It is true that you become what you think about so make sure you are thinking about what you want to become!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never Lose An Important Item Again

My Long History of Lost Items

When I was a kid, I lost lots of important items, not just once or twice, but on a daily basis.  I lost lunch boxes, umbrellas, hats,  gloves, and sweaters.  You name it and I lost it.  I left things at school and was made to walk back to get them.  My grandmother used to say, “When your head forgets, your feet have to pay.”    As an adult, I still lost things, causing myself  a great deal of stress.  I kept four complete sets of keys in case I lost the set I was carrying.  I gave spare keys to every neighbor who would take them.  I lost a checkbook and a wallet, both of which were returned to me by kind people who would not accept rewards.  If you have ADD, you understand because you’re more likely to lose things than people who don’t have ADD.

Things got even more complicated when I got my first cell phone, auto makers started making anti-theft keys, and  far-sightedness forced me to begin wearing glasses.   These are expensive-to-replace items.  When you lose a phone, you have to pay a deductible, even if the phone is insured.  Same with glasses.  Then there is the inconvenience of it all, the hours it takes to replace one of these items.  I was forced to come up with solutions and to follow them or go broke replacing things.

What I Did That You Can Do Too

I did four things that made a difference:

  •  Made a habit of  “scanning the area” every time I leave a place.   I can go to a restaurant and place my phone and glasses on the table or my coat on the back of my chair because I know that I will be “scanning the area” when it’s time to leave.  I rarely have that “sick” feeling when I’m half-way home and realize I’ve left something important behind.
  • Placed a basket beside the front door and began  tossing my keys into it every time I came in the front door.  I even suggested to babysitters that they place their keys and cell phones in the basket if they wanted to so they wouldn’t have to hunt them down later.
  • Designated a place on each level of our three-story home where I could place my glasses and my cell phone and made a habit of placing them there when I put them down to do other things.  Having these items in one of three places saves me from a lot of panicky “mad searches.”
  • Stored important items in my bag all the time so I don’t forget to take them when I go out.  It saves me from reaching into my bag and discovering that I don’t have my phone or, if I do, I can’t see it because I don’t have my glasses.  It goes without saying that there is a designated place for my bag on each level of our house.

My Life Today

Life is not perfect.  I do have to rummage through my bag to find things, but at least I know they are there.   Sometimes others move things.  That’s life in a family.

Taking the actions listed above has allowed me to spend less time hunting things down and less money replacing them.  Running through the house like a maniac screaming, “Somebody call me quick so I can find my cell phone,” happens occasionally, instead of several times a day.

A Powerful Tool For Creating Winning Habits

Most of my ADD clients, and some of my non-ADD clients, complain about their stubborn, hard-to-change habits.  They’re disorganized.  They don’t manage their time well.  They procrastinate.  They don’t set priorities so that the most important things get done on time.  They’ve tried to change these bad habits into good habits through force-of-will, but their will has failed.

Willpower alone usually doesn’t cut it.  The reason it doesn’t is that 95% of our behavior is controlled by programs running in the subconscious mind.  When you use willpower to work against the subconscious mind, you are working against a mighty, powerful force.  No wonder you lose.

Fortunately, there is a way to talk to the subconscious in a language it understands.  The subconscious thinks in images, and you can talk to it by deliberately creating images in your mind.  The subconscious is more receptive when you are alone, away from distractions, and very relaxed.

For example, let’s consider the procrastination habit.  If you’ve been in the habit of procrastinating for a long time, you think of yourself as a “procrastinator.”  Maybe you even berate yourself in your mind or out loud for this habit that creates problems in your life.  Maybe you even talk about it to other people.  Stop focusing on behavior that you don’t want and do what I describe below instead.

Close your eyes.  Get quiet.  Get comfortable, but not so much that you fall asleep.   Relax your body parts, one by one, until you have released all tension.  Recall a time when you were pleased with yourself and feel grateful for that.  The gratitude will put you in a pleasant frame of mind.  Now recall a situation in which you typically procrastinate.  Imagine it, using as many of your senses as possible (sight, hearing, taste, smell, feeling), like you are experiencing it in a movie theater only the screen and the speakers are in your mind.  Now change the picture to black and white and let it slowly fade into the distance until it’s completely gone.

Recall the same situation again, but imagine yourself behaving the way you want to behave.   Imagine it so vividly that it seems real, bringing in as many senses as you can.  Now, what will make this work is adding emotion.  I can’t overemphasize the importance of the emotion.  Feel the way you would feel if the task were already completed, with time to spare, and crossed off the list.  What is the feeling?  Relief?  Happiness?  Joy?  Enjoy the feeling.  Be grateful that you are now procrastination-free.

You might be wondering how you will fit this into an already “stuffed” schedule.   Not to worry.  You can complete this exercise in a few minutes; however, you may need to repeat it multiple times because you are actually building a new pathway of connections in your brain.  Each time you do it, the connections become stronger.  To strengthen the connection even more, take a micro step on the task you’ve been postponing.  Do make it a micro step to avoid setting off a revolt.

Now, let go and hold the expectation that you are well on your way to being procrastination-free.

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Have a weekend filled with wonder!

Denise

Falling Through The Cracks

What is falling through the cracks in your life?

Most of us, with or without ADD, have things that we want to do on a recurring basis (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly).  When you do these things, life runs pretty smoothly.  When you don’t, things fall through the cracks and life gets bumpy.  How do you prevent these important things from falling through the cracks?

Stop here and get four pieces of paper.  At the top of the first piece of paper, write “Daily Actions.”  At the top of the second piece of paper, write “Weekly Actions,” and so on until there is a title at the  top of each page.  Then, list the items that go on each page.  Examples of items that might be on the daily list are: take medication, check calendar (you don’t want to pay missed appointment fees), check voicemail, check email, exercise, etc.

“Weekly Actions” might include: paying bills, doing laundry, planning meals for the week, grocery shopping, and calling the pharmacy or doctor to replace any medications that might be running low.  You can assign days and times to weekly tasks and put them in your calendar.  With enough repetition, daily and weekly tasks will become automatic and you will do them without thinking much about them.

“Monthly Actions” might include: giving your dog his heart worm pill, changing the filter on your furnace, checking the odometer to see if your car is due for an oil change, and rounding up clothes to take to the dry cleaner.  These tasks can also be scheduled in your calendar for specific dates during the month.  For example, vets recommend giving the dog a heart worm pill on the first day of each month.

A word about scheduling tasks on the calendar.  If the day comes and goes and you don’t do the task, reschedule it for another day.  Otherwise, you guessed it, it falls through a crack and I don’t need to tell you that the consequences can be unpleasant.

Now on to “Yearly Tasks.”  Sometimes people remind you to do these.  The doctor’s office sends you a notice that you are due for a dermatology, opthalmology, or gynecology exam.  The vet reminds you that it is time to bring Rover in for his yearly exam and vaccines.  Just in case someone does’t remind you, put these items on the yearly list with a notation beside each one about when it was last done.  Schedule the appointments needed or make an entry in your calendar on the date that you need to call for an appointment.  It can sometimes take up to one or two months to get an appointment with some specialists.

Most importantly, put the lists in a place where you will see them!  Most ADDers are “out of sight, out of mind” people.  Warning:  the refrigerator is not a good place for the lists because, if it is like most refrigerators, it is already covered with paper.  When there is too much paper, your mind will simply tune out all of it.  By all means, use your electronic devices to remind you to do these recurring tasks.  Just remember to reschedule if you ignore the reminder!

If your life has become all work and no play, add “do something fun” to your weekly list and just DO IT!  Your well-being will increase exponentially.

 

 

 

 

ADD and Anxiety

I don’t have any statistics about what percentage of people with ADD experience high levels of anxiety.  I do know that, when ADD is present, other things, such as anxiety, are often present as well.  In my own coaching practice, I can say that anxiety is a problem for most of my clients a lot of the time.  In this Friday Focus, I want to provide some strategies for managing anxiety because, if anxiety rises beyond a mild level, it interferes with performance and “quality of life.”

One of the best strategies for reducing anxiety is to stop time-travelling.  Here is an example of time-travelling.  You are at work having a conversation with a colleague.  All of a sudden, your mind travels back to the argument you had with your teenager last night and you regret something you said.  Then your mind travels forward to the wallet-busting repair bill you will have to pay if the sound you noticed in your car this morning  turns out to be anything serious.  Back and forth your mind goes, past to future, future to past.  You spend the whole day regretting the past, worrying about the future, and missing the present.  The regret and the worry do not resolve any problems, but they do take a serious toll on your health, well-being, and productivity.

When you notice your mind wandering back to the past or forward to the future, pull it back gently to what you are doing in the present moment, as you would a straying child.  As you refocus completely on just the present moment, the regret and worry disappear.  Notice the relief you feel.  This requires awareness.  You have to observe and notice when your mind drifts into a different time zone, but, as with anything, you improve with practice.

Another strategy for reducing anxiety is to begin today to tackle the things you have been procrastinating.  Tasks do not disappear because you “put them on hold.”  Each one takes up space in your mind.   A large backlog of uncompleted tasks can result in a surprisingly high level of anxiety.  Make a list of items that are backlogged.  Find someone who will hold you accountable to do a little each day until you polish off the list.  How good it feels when the anxiety meter falls!

Finally, when anxiety is very high, medication is an option.  You can discuss this with a doctor who has experience treating people with moderate to severe anxiety.

There are many things you can do reduce anxiety.  Rate your anxiety on a scale of 1 to 10.  Try any of the above strategies or  a combination of strategies.  Rate your anxiety again.  Notice the difference.  You are not at the mercy of your anxiety.  You have many tools at your disposal for reducing it.