ADHD: 5 Tips to Conquer Incompletion

     “I can’t finish anything. It makes makes me feel like a failure.”

     If you are anything like me, your ADHD gets in the way of your finishing projects/tasks. Even with the best intentions, one can get off track. Over time, this can effect self-esteem, and make you feel like a failure. Here are 5 tips to get you on the road to finishing.  img_0013

1.Cut yourself a break- When we can’t bring a task to fruition, it is easy to beat ourselves up and then feel like a failure which leads to more damaging of the self-esteem. When the self-esteem gets damaged, we quit trying. Cutting yourself a break and accepting what is about you or your brain, is the first step in helping you complete tasks and feeling successful. When we resist what is, perhaps that we procrastinate and don’t finish projects, we “build a wall” between ourselves and our goals. And believe me, nobody will pay for that wall but you! The problem is we end up paying big time for the walls we build around self-acceptance and ultimately pay a HUGE price often called SHAME!

2. Give yourself an incentive– If you are like me, you love rewards. The problem is that some people will reward themselves before they complete a task/project. We really have to stop doing that! (Looking herself in the mirror). Rewards can be big or small, physical or monetary. It can be a trip to the beach just 8 miles away, or a nice pen you have been lusting after for six months, even taking yourself on a weekend get-a-way, perhaps curling up with the book you have been wanting to read. The key is to see the project to fruition before you reward yourself. Put a picture of your reward on your bulletin or vision board, so while you are working on this project or goal, you can be mindful of the reward you will get upon completion.

3.Establish a reasonable goal-Creating or developing reasonable goals is of great import for the non-finisher. Establishing goals up front before we embark on a project or task helps us draw a roadmap to where we want to go and where we want to finish. We do this by stating an intention first thing, then building a pathway to that intention. These can sometimes be called objectives. After you set a simple goal or intention, then you set your objective by using an evidenced-based tool called S.M.A.R.T.   This tool is a mnemonic acronym usually credited to George Doran in 1981. Since that time it has been changed to include a more relevant understanding for the average person on how to create goals and meet them. It is also a good idea when you are starting out to set one goal at a time and work on that until it is complete.

S-Specific M-Measureable A-Attainable R-Relevant T-Time-limited

Be specific on how you will meet your goal, make it measurable so you can be clear on how you can meet your goal. Make your objective attainable toward the goal, don’t overreach. Objectives have to be relevant to the intended goal and create a time-line in your objective of meeting the specific goal so you  don’t drag this goal on forever. Set an end point.

Here is an example of a goal and SMART objectives.

Goal: I want to lose 10 lbs.

Objective 1: I will swim and walk for 30 min each, for 6 days a week for 8 weeks.

Objective 2: I will limit my calorie intake to 1200 calories per day for 8 weeks.

Objective 3: I will develop 2 positive affirmations a week and say them to myself in front of the mirror 3x daily for 8 weeks.

4.Be Mindful of the Journey- This tip has everything to do with the journey and nothing to do with the outcome. It also has everything to do with creating a new habit of mindfulness in your everyday life. We get so stuck on an outcome such as a grade or a score in a football game and are less concerned how we can get there. When we are constantly hung up on outcome, we miss the journey and all the things we learn or experience along the way to the outcome. One way of experiencing the journey is to be more mindful in the moment. According to the developer of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at Massachusetts General Hospital,

Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way, without judgement.–Jon Kabat Zinn



5. Be accountable- Have someone you respect to be accountable to. There is nothing worse than letting people down and people with whom you respect and admire for whatever reason. When I was working on my Ph.D, even while I had shoulder surgery and recovery and the loss of my soulmate dog, Zak, I stayed accountable to someone I respected. Letting this friend down would have devastated me. Through the hardships, heartbreak and rigor, I finished my dissertation and before my deadline. Getting my Ph.D was a great reward, but the accountability meant more to me than the outcome.

Follow these 5 tips consistently, one step at at time and you will be on your way to being a finisher!



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