Lifestyle Changes; An Alternative
There have been some researchers and experts who say that goal setting doesn’t work for the average person with ADHD. Here are their general thoughts:
- Goals act as shiny objects, a temporary distraction that can cause excitement at first.
- Goals, as we seek to reach them, can cause anxiety.
- The good feelings caused by reaching a goal are temporary and will be replaced by anxiety and/or bad feelings, a sort of let down now that there is nothing left to work towards.
- Not being able to reach a goal will cause bad feelings about ourselves and our abilities.
These guys are a lot of fun, aren’t they?
Still, there may be some truth in what they say.
Thankfully, there is an alternative: lifestyle changes.
Some Examples of Lifestyle Changes
So, instead of setting a specific goal that you may or may not reach, you decide instead to make a lifestyle change – something small and simple – that over time could add up to something more significant. (Check out this post for more on actions, not goals.)
Aiming for a weight loss of 50 lbs over the course of a year, averaging about a pound a week, is a SMART goal, but one that you may cause you pressure and anxiety.
FYI: a SMART goal is one that is:
- Time bound
Deciding to bring a lunch instead of hitting the fast food places may something that you can easily do and live with – a lifestyle change that may help you reach your goal without undue pressure.
Here are some examples of other lifestyle changes:
- Deciding to park further away from the door when you go places in order to get more steps in
- Choosing to drink one glass of water before each meal in order to help you eat less
- Swapping a half hour of TV for 30 minutes of reading, if you’re trying to do more reading
- Not checking your email after you get home, or better yet – staying off the phone entirely and checking in with those people you call family
- Doing your most important task of the day first (eating the frog)
Tips for Success
If you’ve failed at setting and reaching goals before (hello, mid January), you might want to consider making a lifestyle change instead and see how it works for you.
Here are some tips that might help:
- Make only one change at a time. Give yourself a month or two, minimum, to make that a habit before you decide to make any other lifestyle changes.
- Tie your new lifestyle change into a habit you already have.
- If you slip up for a few days, don’t give up. Just start again.
- Think small. For instance, start your weight loss goals with changing one meal a day. Ease into it.
- Set some reminders so that you remember this new change. Put it on your phone – maybe your lock screen – and in your planner. Add some post-its where you will see them. And tell your kids. They love to boss their parents around and catch them doing something they’re not supposed to.
- Above all, keep a positive attitude!
What kind of lifestyle goal do you want to work on?
Mine is moving more. Got some ideas for me?