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New Year New Me... Plus ADHD. How to create realistic New Year's Resolutions with ADHD.

I loathe New Year's resolutions...

It always felt like I was setting myself up for failure.

Now that I understand more about the psychology behind lasting change, I realize that I absolutely was setting myself up for failure.

We neuro-spicy folks tend to be all or nothing. We live our lives in the extremes. And we rarely, if ever, reflect on our past successes. Instead, we tend to focus on our "failures." These tendencies stack up against us when trying to establish new habits.

How can we use the start of a new year as a jumping-off point to create change?

Easy *wink wink*

We adjust how we look at New Year's resolutions, habits, and ourselves.

Change is not an all-or-nothing thing. Instead, lasting change consists of small actions that align with our goals and values. You will not change overnight. Rather, one day you will wake up realizing you are living a life you love. You can't pinpoint exactly when or exactly how, but you are here, and you are happy.


Reflect on the past year, your success, and your new goals

The first step towards change is often one that we skip over entirely.

Reflection. Reflecting on our strengths, weaknesses, successes, and failures.

To start, let your new years resolution be a simple one. Reflect on the past year. What went well, and what didn't go so great?

Thank your mind and your body for carrying you through the last year and allowing you the opportunity to experience another.

Next, reflect on the changes you are trying to make.

When establishing new habits, we need to take stock of the ones we are trying to replace. How did these old habits serve you? How are they hurting you now? Furthermore, you need to consciously consider why the benefits of the new behavior outweigh the benefits of the old.

For example, let's say you become defensive whenever you face perceived conflict. This behavior likely protected you at some point in your life. But is it still protecting you? Likely, this behavior is hurting you now, causing strain on your relationships. This behavior served you well at some point. It is time to thank it and let it go.


Now that you have thanked your old habit and released it back into the wild, it is time to create new habits.

Let's hop back to where I said neurodivergent people tend to live in the extremes.

It's time to be really intentional about that. Extremes will, without fail, result in burnout.

Start by identifying your goal.

What is it that you are trying to accomplish?

Is it weight loss? Learning a new skill? Spending more quality time with your family?


What is the smallest action you can take to move towards that goal?

For example, my goal is to be more present. That is no small feat. It will take thousands of choices intentionally made to find myself naturally being more "in the moment."

What is the smallest action I can take to achieve this goal?

Leaving my phone in the bedroom during dinner. Forcing myself to be more present at the dinner table with my family.

It is a small action that will not massively change my life by January 2nd. But it is forcing my brain to take stock of my surroundings daily during dinner. It is a small action that requires very little from me but gives me a foundation I can build on repeatedly. This is a movement towards lasting change.

To sum up, be good to yourself this New Year. Thank yourself for persevering through crazy times. And create change that matters to you without setting yourself up for failure. You are the expert on you. You know what you need to succeed. Give yourself that.

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