Choose a Focus, Not a Goal

dreamstimefree_143101Do we need to think differently about goals when it comes to ADHD?

We all hear about the importance of establishing measurable goals as a way to track progress and achieve success.  There’s even the acronym S.M.A.R.T. that identifies the characteristics of an effective goal – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.

While this approach may succeed for many, what happens when it doesn’t?  In working with adults with ADHD, talk of goals can elicit sighs of exasperation.  I hear, “My mind doesn’t work in a linear fashion like that,” or “How can I know what I want in a year, when I can’t figure out what to do today?”

The very act of defining goals with such precision presents challenges. Those executive functioning skills required to identify objectives, prioritize and decide on plans are impacted by ADHD.  Trying to make headway in this typical manner can be plain overwhelming.  There‘s often added frustration from recalling past attempts that didn’t pan out.[…] Continue Reading

Are Weekends Disappointing? much as we look forward to Saturday and Sunday, they can sometimes be a letdown.  With all the unstructured time, possibilities and decisions, weekends can be frustrating or even end in conflict.  With a little thought and attention, things can significantly improve!

We all have ideas for how to use our time.  On some occasions we simply want to relax and unwind, while other times we prefer to socialize and be out in the world.

Weekends can also be a a time to catch-up on errands and household tasks that accumulate during the week.  We place high expectations on these two precious days, and all that pressure doesn’t help.

 Five Suggestions for Improving Your Weekends:

  1. Take control and stop waiting for possibilities to appear.  Many people have a tendency to leave options open.  They want the freedom to be spontaneous and non-committal. Think about how often spontaneous opportunities really arise and consider whether this habit is worth the cost.
  2. Realize that plans are a good thing and can be a whole lot better than spending your weekend in limbo.  Planning and prioritizing don’t come easily to most with ADD.  Yet, there’s a new freedom that comes from having a few solid plans in place – with the decisions made you may find yourself feeling much more relaxed.[…] Continue Reading

The Path to Positivity

IMG_1235We constantly hear about the importance of having a positive mindset.  Clichés abound: “Look at the bright side,” “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” and, “Every cloud has a silver lining”.  While I agree with these sentiments, I also find them pollyannaish and simplistic.

Pushing positivity on someone who isn’t feeling it can be insensitive or even dismissive.  It’s like saying, buck-up no matter what you’re feeling.  There’s nothing worse than the double whammy of being upset and feeling like a failure because you’re not optimistic enough!

Positivity doesn’t always work by flipping a switch, though that image can be a helpful reminder later on. When we have enough disappointing and hurtful experiences, it becomes exceedingly hard to think positively. We begin to expect the worst and our thoughts veer towards negativity.

We also may get in the habit of having harsh thoughts.  These may be self-critical, such as, “I’m pathetic,” assign meaning to other’s actions – “since he was late, it means he doesn’t care” – or highlight superiority, as in, “I would never sink that low.”  Or we may just proceed through life with an approach that we’ll never get what we want. The problem is that these beliefs and judgments do not inspire but lead us to pessimism.[…] Continue Reading

Sneaky Perfectionism

DiamondIs aiming for ‘good enough’ the best approach?  As with many things, it depends.  But for perfectionists, it might be a wise decision.

We live in a world where a lot is expected of us.  Unless you have a full-time secretary, housecleaner or errand-runner (not bad ideas!) your plate is likely full.  If you’re a parent, add another layer of responsibility to the mix.

There is an unspoken message that we should be able to manage it all beautifully.  It’s our culture of perfectionism.  Picture the lean blonde in her workout clothes, happily jogging after her return home from her corporate job with a smile still on her face.

Compare that to the story I often hear from clients, of arriving home exhausted, loaded with groceries and spending the evening glued in front of a television set ‘recovering’ from the day.

I get it, we all want to strive for goals and extend our best effort – in fact my last post was on that very subject!  But to be fair, I think we also need to look at the other side. Pushing ourselves too hard to achieve some notion of the ideal man or woman, without sufficient support or resources, is a set-up.  And when we fall short, the disappointment in ourselves is anything but helpful.[…] Continue Reading

Do Your Best!


The phrase, “do your best” is one that we hear repeatedly but rarely define.  Is best all about effort and perseverance?  Or does it include consideration and planning as well?  And how do we determine whether we have cut ourselves too much slack or have truly done our best? Why it Matters If we extend […]

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Push the Pause Button


Dr. Ned Hallowell, known best for his landmark book, Driven to Distraction, says that having ADHD is like living with a racecar brain. He says, “It will propel you to win many races in your lifetime,” but goes on to add, “there is (just) one problem – you have bicycle brakes.” His statement acknowledges the […]

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