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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Beat Yourself Up!

I have been coaching adults with ADD for over twelve years.  One thing that surprises me again and again is how many of them are perfectionists and how hard they are on themselves when they experience a “perceived” failure.

Let’s say that a person with ADD puts ten things on an “action” list for the day.  At the end of the day, they have completed seven of the items on the list.  Most people, including me, would simply conclude that 7/10ths of the items have been completed and add the uncompleted items to tomorrow’s list.  However, many ADDers would proclaim that they “failed”  to accomplish the goal they set at the beginning of the day because three of the ten items were not completed.

These folks have fallen into what I call “all or nothing” thinking.  Either they achieve goals at 100%  and regard themselves as successful, or they don’t and regard themselves as having failed.  For them, there is no such thing as partial success.

If “beating themselves up” resulted in success, a reasonable person might conclude that “beating oneself up” is a useful strategy for getting things done.  However, when I ask clients if “beating themselves up” helps them to get more things done, nearly 100% say it does not help; in fact it tends to result in them getting fewer things done.  I say, “Would working for a tyrant make you more productive?”    Most of them say it wouldn’t.  Then I point out to them that they have become the tyrant they are working for.

They turn things around when they are able to recognize and celebrate each and every thing they accomplish, however small it might be.  When they begin to do this, they feel better and begin to pile small accomplishments upon small accomplishments to achieve some pretty amazing results.

If you’d like to comment on this blog or share it, click on the title to go to the page where this is possible.  Fill your next week, and the weeks after it, with small accomplishments.  If you’re going in the right direction, the results will surprise you.