Purposely creating new, positive habits can make a huge difference in your life. So much of our lives is lived on autopilot; doing things without thinking about them. We can take advantage of this to get more done and be more productive.
Conventional wisdom says that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit, but when you have ADHD, I would say that you should plan on at least 28 days or 4 weeks. And that’s assuming that you practice it consistently every day.
You should only work on one habit at a time. Start by choosing something that will change your life for the better.
For instance, one of my goals is to start exercising on a regular basis. If you read my post about My Life Makeover you know that I have a number of plans and habits I want to put into place and I’m giving myself six months to make the changes.
Once you decide on a habit to develop, here’s how to begin:
If you need anything in order to develop the habit, get it. This might be a planner if you’re working on managing your time or in my case, a pair of good shoes and a gym membership.
Find a regular time to practice this habit. For instance, I have a habit of emptying the dishwasher first thing each morning. That way I know how my morning is going to go and I plan for the time to do it. If I have an early morning appointment, I know to allow time to empty the dishwasher and get ready.
If you need to, set a reminder so that you don’t forget to do it. Your cell phone most likely has an alarm feature and is probably something that is always with you.
If you find that you’re just not following through with the habit, take a look and figure out why.
Is it too complicated? Does it feel awkward? Are you trying to do too much?
Or maybe you’re trying to make a habit out of something you hate to do. If that’s the case, see if you can find a way around it, especially if it’s something that has to be done.
For instance, I hate cleaning the bathrooms. It’s very unpleasant.
So here’s how I make it less disgusting: I try to wipe them down each day at least once. That’s keeps the grunge from building up. I also use cleaners that I find pleasant to use, mostly because they smell nice. I’m trying to transition from commercial cleaners to green ones using essential oils.
And I’ve learned to spray everything down and then do something else like empty the trash and get fresh towels before I clean. That way the cleaners are doing more of the work, leaving me with less to do.
All of this means that I spend less time doing something I hate, which makes it easier to get it done.
One of the habits I’m working on in My Life Makeover is having a cleaning task assigned to each day. I started with the kitchen and now it’s my habit to clean it each Monday.
Sunday I had an explosion of baked beans in the microwave. I cleaned up the worst, but since I knew that kitchen cleaning day was Monday, I was comfortable letting it look a little messy for 24 hours.
What good habit are you going to develop?