Updated: Apr 17, 2022
You had it together. Learned your lesson. Had a system going. Until you didn't. You're back in the same mess, wondering how you got there yet again.
No surprise there. Me too, more times than I can count. As people with ADHD, we're consistently inconsistent.
Stop fighting your ADHD brain. Below, I'll share the one top tip you need to get back on track with more ease when you inevitably lose your footing. Implementing this tip will reduce your mental load. It will gradually increase your confidence, as you realize that it's really not such a big deal that you can't "just finally" be consistent - because you can deal with your inconsistency.
Off-track once again
I can't count the number of times I've had to relearn what I once knew. Or the times I had to reestablish routines I thought I had fixed. I know I have to do at least some housework every day, and I usually do. And then I wake up one morning, and the kitchen is a mess, my garbage smells, and I haven't opened my mail in a week.
People with ADHD are consistently inconsistent
My ADHD causes me to forget my learnings, routines, habits, basically anything.
This means that even the most beneficial behaviors will slip. Even ones I've
fought long and hard to establish. I'll be exercising every day, feeling well, and
suddenly I'm no longer working out and feeling sluggish.
I see with my coaching clients that most neurotypical people have trouble building and maintaining habits that don't immediately appeal to them. But I manage to forget behaviors I enjoy doing. Most of my ADHD coaching clients report the same. Our brains seem to get bored even with positive habits and routines. We cannot rely on anything sticking.
Give your future ADHD self a map
Here’s the secret: whatever you figure out that works for you, capture it. Any insight, learning, routine habit, anything that works for you, make a note of it.
Use whatever system works for your brain: write it down, take a picture, record a voice message, make a drawing. Anything that will remind you of what you know now. Because you will forget it again.
And you may forget to do this. Or forget where you put your note. Just try. We’re not aiming for perfection here. Just making things a little bit easier for ourselves, one step at a time.
So give your future ADHD self a map. And when you slip up, as you always will, you'll have your nudge to help you get back on track. Which will make things so much easier.
Start right now: what are some of the key learnings you keep forgetting and keep having to relearn? Go capture them. Your future you will thank you. Trust me. Give it a try.
This post about how you to sustain motivation instead of letting your inner critic shame you may be helpful. And here's how you can use flexible habits to work with your ADHD instead of against it.