New Year’s Resolutions Vs Goal Setting For ADHD: Why Goal Setting Exercises The ADHD Brain!
by Jamie Vasilyan,
The Hypnosis for ADHD Specialist
In this report, we explore why New Year’s Resolutions do not work, but why Goal Setting for ADHD really does. And, if you’re not doing Goal Setting for ADHD already, or if you’re not teaching this to your child with ADHD, why it could be one of the most important things that you need to do to not only manage you or your child’s ADHD, but how it may even help you to thrive with it.
By the way, I have also created a 10 minute video which has almost the exact same content, so if you’d prefer not to read, feel free to just watch the video below…
I also want you to know that this first video is to be followed by future content including: “ADHD Friendly Goal Setting,” “ADHD and Tackling The Fear of Failure”, “Hypnotic Goal Setting for ADHD”, and “The Hypnotic To Do List for ADHD”.
And that by the end of these blogs/videos, you will be a master of Goal Setting for ADHD, and not only set yourself up for an awesome 2019, but also be taking one of the biggest steps to help you or your child positively manage and even thrive with ADHD!
Predictors of ADHD Success
According to research in the October, 1992, Journal of Learning Disabilities, found that children who grew up with ADHD and other “learning disabilities” to become well-adjusted and successful, had two things in common.
Firstly, they learned to understand their ADHD in terms of being a difference, or even a gift, rather than a curse.
Secondly, they learned from a young age to set goals and visualise them.
So clearly Goal Setting for ADHD (of the ADHD-friendly kind, of course) is a good move for us to learn as adults if we haven’t yet learned it already, or indeed as a life-skill to teach our children.
Dump Those Resolutions!
So you made it through christmas in one piece, with the demands of extra organisation, and then you hear people talking about New year’s Resolutions.
If you have ADHD, you’re probably fed up of resolutions, and the idea of Goals fills you with dread too.
But did you know that only 8% of people stick to their resolutions anyway?
I want you to know that you didn’t fail at New year’s Resolutions, they failed you! And of course when we have ADHD, we are even more likely to fail at them.
But here’s the good news. Goal Setting for ADHD followed in an ADHD-friendly format, is one of the best things you can do to manage and master your ADHD, or indeed one of the best life-skills to teach your child with ADHD.
At the same time, however, I am aware of the fear and anxiety attached to doing so. That’s why I want you to know that I will be releasing a series of videos and resources, to guide you through the process, step by step, over the next few months of 2019…
Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work
1). Intention is not Enough
Now I appreciate that we all start off with good intentions, and indeed that is the first – essential – step in the process. It is the seed of potential, if you will.
The intention to get fit, the intention to stop smoking, or to manage ADHD.
Sadly intention is not enough on it’s own, though…
2). Lack of Knowledge
Most people don’t know how to manifest and stick to their original intentions.
Most people are relying on luck to see them through, rather than what I call L.U.C.K “Living Under Correct Knowledge.”
Luck isn’t enough. You need the knowledge of how to make your own luck. The knowledge of how to make that resolution stick!
3). The Failure Pattern
I had a childhood friend who used to try and stop smoking every month or so. He succeeded. Many times! He would give up for about a week, but then he’d break out in spots and start again.
Watching him start and stop so regularly was painful to watch. One day I explained, “Why don’t you just carry on smoking? Not only do you break out in spots, the more times you start and stop, the more you teach your subconscious mind the habit of starting and stopping.”
I didn’t say it to be uncaring, but because I knew that he was actually making the situation harder for himself.
In other words, he was a habitual on-off smoker addicted to stopping and starting! He effectively had two addictions!
Here’s a link to research in the British Medical Journal showing that smokers who give up after many attempts find it much more challenging than those who give up early on http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/6/e011045 and another about why giving up straight away (all in one go) is superior to “gradually cutting down”. https://www.nhs.uk/news/lifestyle-and-exercise/quitting-smoking-overnight-better-than-cutting-down-gradually/
Now you may be wondering what the connection is between this and New Year’s Resolutions? Well, in short, if you aim to hit the gym or give up smoking or lose weight at “that time of year” again, and then give up after a few weeks, and repeat the same the year after, each time January arrives, then you are programming your subconscious into a new pattern which will become a habit.
And what pattern might that be? The predictable Habit of “Every year I start off with good intentions but fail at New Year’s Resolutions!”
So now that we know what doesn’t work, why Resolution’s have been failing YOU, whether you have ADHD or not; let’s take a look at what does work…
Why Goal Setting Does Work, and Why It Is Key to ADHD Success
1). Goals are Specific
Whilst most New Year’s Resolutions tend to fail, because they are well-meaning intentions lacking in proper execution, well formulated Goal setting is highly specific.
We take everything into consideration. How will you know when you’ve reached your goal? What will you see, hear, or feel, that will let you know? If it was earning more money, maybe you’d see yourself at the beach enjoying a well deserved holiday with your loved ones.
You also look at what you will do to achieve that goal? When you will get there?
The great thing about Goal Setting for ADHD is that, because it is specific, it activates the very part of the brain which is lagging behind when you have ADHD.
This is the Prefrontal Cortex (PFC), at the front of the brain. This is like the CEO or Boss of your brain which organises everything else, and is responsible for what we call “Executive Functions”.
Through specific Goal Setting this part of the brain is activated and thus by activating your Inner CEO, you become better organised and a better time-keeper.
The other reason why being specific is vital to success, is because the subconscious (or unconscious) mind does not distinguish between imagination and reality, so if you build a specific and detailed enough picture, it will believe that your goal has already happened, and therefore do everything that it can to make it happen!
2). Goal Setting Activates The NeuroTransmitter Dopamine
This is the same neurotransmitter in the brain responsible for motivation which is said to be lacking in children and adults with ADHD.
It is also the same neurotransmitter that medication is meant to help increase.
Well guess what, by having clearly defined goals and hence a sense of purpose, you can drastically increase the levels of dopamine naturally and safely!
3). Goal Setting Is A Virtuous Habit
This doesn’t mean that you set new goals every day. Of course not! But it does mean that by focusing on your goals every day, reminding yourself of them and taking action toward making them happen, that Goal Setting for ADHD becomes a daily habit.
Therefore, unlike Resolution’s which are a “once per year” phenomenon, Goal Setting is a way by which you can literally exercise your Prefrontal Cortex – your Boss, or CEO brain – into action and help manage you or your child’s ADHD!
During my own ADHD breakthrough when I trained as a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist in 2011, I learned about the phenomenon known as “Neuroplasticity.” The ability of the brain, through changes in environment or learning, to evolve and adapt and even to create new neuronal connections.
When I learned about this, I realised that I wasn’t just the victim of a “damaged brain”, but that with enough desire and effort and correct knowledge (or “luck”) that I could learn to manage and even master my ADHD brain! That I could literally exercise it.
Conclusion: Prepare for the Positive Upward Spiral
So goal setting becomes a virtuous habit. Every time that you take a small step towards your big, juicy, motivating Goal or Vision, your brain releases more and more dopamine.
So you begin to create this positive upward spiral with each step that you take. A sense of purpose, motivation and direction fills you.
And with the increase in dopamine and that sense of satisfaction as you finally begin making progress towards achieving your goals, it gets easier and easier.
If you know how to properly set goals and execute them, then you now know what may be the number one step to helping you or your child manage and master your ADHD.
So if you’re not doing this already, or not teaching your child how to do it, it’s something you really need to do.
But let’s take this one step at a time. In the next three videos I will be taking you through the process, step by step.
Here’s to the happiest and most successful year that you may possibly ever have!
NEXT TIME we explore “2). The Key to ADHD Friendly Goal Setting”
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