People often see the New Year as a fresh start, a clean slate, or a time to make resolutions to improve their lives. I see it as a time to reflect on past years. By looking at the past, we can affect our future. Introspection can help us visualize ways to shape our lives. How can you sculpt your life when you have Attention Deficit Disorder?
With Attention Deficit Disorder, it is often difficult to sustain focus and effort long enough to change those parts that we want to change or to hold tight to those elements that are working for us. If you are able to have an effective medication routine established, you may not have a problem with this. For some people who are unable to take medications or who have not found the right combination, this inability to sustain focus can be an enormous problem. What can you do to help yourself make alterations in your life? Here are some suggestions.
*Deliberately set aside time for reflection. Think of questions that might guide your reflections. Here are some that I use. Be sure to consider both personal and professional components of your life.
*What are the parts of your life that you are satisfied with? Which elements cause you to feel that way? Why is this part of your life satisfying? What do you get from it?
*Which parts of your life need a bit of a tune-up? What problems do you have caused by these pieces of your life? Is there a time when this chunk of your life was better? What changed?
* After you have identified bits of your life that you feel good about and those that need work, it is time to plan some goals. Choose areas that will have a strong impact on your life. Or, alternatively, choose an area where you can experience success quickly.
*List concrete parts of your life that you want to change.
*Make no more than two personal goals and two professional goals to work on. You might want to start with one of each. Define each goal in observable and measurable terms. This is important. If you canít see it or measure it, you will be unable to achieve it. You will need discrete steps to achieve the goal.
*"I want to focus on my writing," is not a good goal. It is too nebulous, too undefined. A better goal would be to say that, "I am going to write a book." A great goal would be that, "Given a group of articles, I will shape them into a publishable book form in the next six weeks." Thatís observable and measurable, plus it has a time frame.
*Once I have the goal in mind, I can focus on the steps to completing the goal. Here is a sample of steps that can be implemented to achieve the book goal. Notice how they are specific and measurable.
Review the articles and add or delete articles. Put them into a logical sequence. Write an introduction for each article.
Go through the articles and proofread them. Make any changes for that are necessary for clarity or style. Check to see that there is consistency in style over the group of articles.
Develop an introduction, afterword, and table of contents. Format the book. Put in headers, footers, and page numbers. Convert the book to PDF.
Have at least two good friends read the book. Make sure that they are friends who can be critical and give needed suggestions.
Carefully consider the changes that were suggested. Implement any needed revisions.
Get the book to the editor.
Use Techniques that Boost Your Abilities:
Along your journey into transforming parts of your life, you will want to discover ways that help you keep your focus. Calendars, task cards, and checklists are great tools. You can see them, touch them, and have a visual map for your journey. Donít forget other less visible practices. Attention Deficit Disorder responds to any number of interventions that do not involve medication. Meditation may bring clarity to your thoughts. Tai Chi performs the same function, and it is good exercise. Exercise stimulates your endorphin system and can boost your achievement. Music can affect your mood and enhance your performance. Positive self-talk is helpful. There are enough people in the world who are happy to tell you that you canít do something; you need to tell yourself that you can bring your dreams to fruition.
What is this year going to bring your way? While Attention Deficit Disorder produces some complications to our lives, it can also lead to creativity and innovative problem solving skills. Harness these gifts of ADD and make your New Year what you want it to be.