Blog Post | How Do We Do Hard Things?


How Do We Do Hard Things?


That’s the ultimate question: how do we do the hard things? Growing up, I could put almost any task off. I did not know why; I was just stuck. I would hear, “you just need willpower,” “you just need to get started,” or “just get it done.” In reality, those things were hard for me, but I expected them to be easy. If we expect something to be easy for us, we can get caught up in a cycle of self-judgment and automatic negative thoughts when it’s actually hard.  

Why can’t I just do my laundry? It’s easy. Why can’t I do the dishes? It’s supposed to be easy, and everyone does it.  

These thoughts came to mind when I recently listened to a podcast (“How To Do Hard Things”, a three-part series from Hacking Your ADHD podcast) that addressed this topic. This podcast brought to my attention the language of how we view easy and complex tasks. It prompted me to consider how we can tackle hard things. Here are my biggest takeaways from this podcast. 

  • The hard things need to be defined because when we believe something should be easy, we tend not to pay attention to it. In determining what is easy and complex, we get a clear view of what we expect and an understanding of the language we use concerning a task. This helps us look at how we are going to approach that task.

  • When we use language like “just” and "should,” we are taking away what is challenging and thinking that all of those steps will magically fall into place. We can quickly shift into self-judgment when we use this language, thinking this task should be easy, but in reality, it is hard, and that is okay. We need to acknowledge that things are hard.

  • Our challenges can’t be solved until we look at defining them, peel back the layers, and bring awareness to what’s really under the surface.

So now what? Now that we have defined our easy and hard things, what can we do?

Know your why behind what you are doing. Why is this task important to you, and what are your expectations surrounding this task? Identify a way to be accountable for this challenging task to help you see it through. When we take the time to shine the light on what’s hard, we bring attention to it, and it often gets done. 

Our tasks are not a one-and-done thing with daily tasks like folding laundry or doing the dishes. It comes up again and again. So how do we do this consistently? We look at finding a functional, long-lasting solution that fits your needs. We look at our expectations and define what is done and what that means. What do we want to get out of finishing our task, and how can we do it with what works for our brain? 

So if you have difficulty doing the hard things, let me leave you with this: just because it is difficult doesn’t mean you cannot accomplish it. It just takes time. Slow down, examine your beliefs, and re-design the way you approach your tasks to make them happen.


Kelly Thorell
ADHD Coach | Center For Living Well with ADHD, LLC

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