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ADHD and New Years Resolutions (Part 2): Commonly Broken Resolutions

We recently came across an article on the Time Magazine website outlining their top 10 commonly broken new years resolutions. While we don’t necessarily love the article – it seems to put a lot of emphasis on ‘laziness’ as a blocker with resolutions – we did enjoy picking out our top choices based on our experience with ADHD.

Based on this list, we now present to you Springboard Clinic’s top 5 commonly broken new years resolutions. This list is by no means comprehensive, and by no means scientific – it is simply an introduction to some of the most common types of resolutions that individuals with ADHD struggle to follow-through with:

  1. Lose weight and get fit. If you’ve made this resolution before, at least feel better knowing that you’re one of many, many people who have set similar sights. Whatever your motivation for exercise, when you have ADHD a goal such as this can be a doozy to follow-through with – you’re only accountable to yourself, and because it can sometimes feel like a chore or an annoying add-on to your day, it can be far too easy to put off in the moment.
  2. Be less stressed. Okay, we can see where this is an important intention – individuals with ADHD are particularly prone to stress and can become overwhelmed much more easily than their non-ADHD counterparts. However, think about how vague this goal is…what does it mean to ‘be less stressed’? How can you measure that? It’s no wonder so many people struggle to follow-through with a resolution like this – it’s barely a concrete resolution to start with!
  3. Spend More Time with Family. This is an extremely common resolution – people look back on the year and realize just how much life got in the way of spending quality time with others. Unfortunately, life will always get in the way, and individuals with ADHD often have a tough time planning for this. The ADHD brain is very focused on the ‘now’ – what’s right in front of them. So, despite good intentions, those plans to spend quality time with others can very easily get pushed into the ‘not now’ when life rears its head.
  4. Learn Something New. This is one of those resolutions that seems like an awesome idea in the moment, but can be incredibly hard to maintain once the initial surge of motivation peters out. While you may really want to learn French or start painting, once the goal starts to feel like a chore, or takes more time or effort than anticipated, individuals with ADHD often lose their momentum very quickly and move on to the next best thing!
  5. Get Out of Debt and Save Money. This resolution is pretty synonymous with the new year – most of us have a debt-hangover after a month of holiday spending, and so it makes sense to want to tighten the belt come January. Problem with this resolution is it requires a lot of the forethought and impulse-regulation that does not often come easily to an individual with ADHD. It’s all well and good to say you’re going to create, implement, and follow-through on a budget, but in practice it’s a whole different ballgame.

While this list may not cover your own resolution, the common themes that get in the way are pretty consistent. In a nutshell, in order for you to more successfully follow-through on a new years resolution, you need to:

  1. More clearly define the resolution
  2. Plan for it

We’re going to talk about this in more detail next week,  but in the meantime have a good hard look at your current resolution and decide whether or not you’ve addressed these two themes. If not, don’t fret! We’ll take you through some ideas to help with this in our next installment.

Next up: Improving your Follow-Through

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