December is a busy time, and you are doing well if you can find a few moments to relax and invest a little time in your self-care. Last week, you might have read our newsletter on the executive function, Goal-Directed Persistence. Goals are great, and we often gravitate to coming up with a few as the past year comes to a close and the new year is upon us. The challenge is how you make them stick beyond the first inclination.
Here are a few ideas to help you step into what’s possible in the new year.
Brainstorm What is Possible
Each year, we have a family tradition to brainstorm ideas for the next year’s adventures and goals on their birthday. They usually end up with a great bucket list of ideas. Some of us try to come up with one for every year of our life. But when you get older, that could be quite a feat. Some ideas stick, and some don’t. They are not set in stone. The objective is to have fun imagining what the next year could bring; the outcome is getting each of us thinking. We also learn a little more about what is important and what would make our family members happy.
Organize Ideas To Keep Them Realistic
A list of ideas for goals in the next year starts rather vague, and this is why so many new year’s resolutions don’t stick. They lack important aspects of a goal: such as the what, the how, the details, the timing, and even the order in which to tackle. If you are inclined to come up with goals for the new year, that’s a lot of reflection that you might not have the bandwidth to sort out as you get through the busy holiday season.
Choose to Start Simple
Instead, could you think about the one thing you would like to experience differently in the new year that could be accomplished within the next 12 weeks? Gravitate to that one thing as a goal. Make it your mission. Turn the goal into a sprint with a realistic timeframe to help you achieve it. You can always return to the big list and other ideas later. And maybe even find the time to check off a few quick and easy things along the way. If your goal can’t be achieved in 12 weeks, break it down into parts that can be achieved, and focus on that first part that sets your mission in motion.
Make The Goal Sticky
Making a goal stick requires both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivators are the external rewards and consequences that evolve with achieving your goal. What are the extrinsic motivators that get you going? Is it the results you achieve, gifts, recognition, encouragement, quality time, a raise, or promotion? Gary Chapman’s book on the Five Love Languages is a great place to start. If you don’t know yours, you can take the quiz here: https://5lovelanguages.com/. Once you figure out your language, brainstorm a menu of rewards with your top two love languages and figure out how to engineer them into your life to help you stay focused for the next steps to accomplish your mission.
Intrinsic motivation comes from within. Drawing on the emotions, satisfaction, and opportunities you will experience as your future self. Intrinsic motivation may also require a shift in mindset depending on whether you think of the goal as an uphill battle (fixed mindset) or a real possibility (growth mindset). A fixed mindset keeps you locked into the same old thinking and reality, while a growth mindset piques your curiosity and creativity to imagine something different and a better opportunity.
Future Self Empowerment:
Future self is your vision of who you are being with the accomplishment of your goal. The more we can connect to who we are and what we experience as our future selves, the easier it is to hang on to our mission. This is not a new concept. Many athletes have used this approach to envision the win and their success in competition. Many aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs have found this approach to be the engine for their transformation. Below is an exercise to help. You can use it as an opportunity for meditation, an opportunity to journal, a vision board, a dream. Use your sense of creativity to capture what you come up with.
Imagine it’s the morning, and you are settling into your day. You have achieved your mission and find yourself reeling in the change you have created or the goal you have achieved over the last 12 weeks. What is happening? How would you describe the emotions you are feeling? What are you thinking? What do you see taking place that wasn’t there before? The more you engage each of the senses being your future self, the better – sight, hearing, taste, feel, smell, and emotions. Next, a colleague or friend comes up to congratulate you. They ask how you managed to pull it off. What do you tell them? The clarity at that moment may help you develop logical next steps.
This year’s newsletters have focused on executive functions. This year’s blogs have focused on ideas and tips to navigate living with ADHD daily for all ages and stages. Our mission is to continue adding value with some insight and inspiration and to make life with ADHD better. We are most grateful for the opportunity to be on our mission to serve you. I will wrap this up with a little food for thought.
Imagine yourself addressing the challenges of ADHD so that your life is less about the troubles and chaos and more about the incredible person you are wired to be. How does that play out in the above future self-exercise for you? As you focus on your next mission, consider how ADHD Life Coaching can help you achieve that.
Many blessings in the holidays and new year!
Robin Nordmeyer, PCAC
Owner, Founder | ADHD & Executive Functions Coach