We all find ourselves “off track” from time to time, when we are not doing what we know has worked for us in the past. It can happen for many different reasons, but most commonly it is when there is some sort of disruption in our usual structure or routine such as holidays, vacations, illness, or even changes in season. For those of us with attention deficit, our typical response when we find ourselves not doing what we know works for us is to beat ourselves up pretty badly, and to simply work harder.
When we beat ourselves up, we keep ourselves stuck and unable to see the solutions to our problems. When we beat ourselves up, we are unable to move forward.
When we put our heads down and simply pedal faster, so to speak, rather than pausing to think about what is getting in our way, we are likely to keep repeating the same patterns and struggles over and over.
Trying a more effective approach the next time you find yourself off-track may make you see faster improvement, and prevent future slips from taking you too far off the course you want to be on!
To get yourself “Back on Track” more quickly and easily so that you or your child can keep yourselves moving forward, try these quick tips:
- Take note of what your unique signs are (or your child’s signs) that indicate that you’re not on-track, and be nice to yourself! These signs can manifest internally in emotional and physical feelings, as well as externally in certain behaviors or old habits, and they will give you a cue that you need to do something differently. (Remember: The purpose of noticing the signs is self-awareness, not self-flagellation!)
- When you see your unique signs (or your child’s), be sure to go back to basics by committing to self-care (i.e., regular and sufficient sleep, healthy nutrition, regular exercise, medication management, getting enough down time, etc.). Protecting self-care is the simplest thing you can do to improve ADHD-related challenges!
- Pick just 1-3 (no more) habits/routines/strategies to resume and jump back into:
- Make sure at least one of them is something that you think you can resume relatively quickly & easily;
- Use patterning, timers, reminders & other tools to keep yourself on track; and
- Reward/reinforce follow-through rather than perfect completion to improve your ability to sustain your motivation.
- Notice and celebrate whatever progress you’re making & share it with those you trust, who support you! If you don’t give yourself credit for your own effort and subtle improvements, no one else will!