One of the difficulties with ADHD is failing to follow through with goals and tasks. This has certainly been my experience and I’ll try and explain how I manage to deal with it. This time ten years ago at 24 years of age i hadn’t achieved one single thing in my adult life. It wasn’t easy for me to admit at the time but it was clear to me my way of living wasn’t working and change was needed. It wasn’t that I didn’t have ambition, in fact I had tremendous ambition but I was severely lacking understanding of how to follow through. I constantly compared myself to others and in comparison i felt incompetent, and because of my ADHD I’d bounce from one idea to another and got nothing finished, frequently letting people down as well as myself. Each time i failed fed into my self-concept that I was useless, good for nothing, pathetic etc. Finally I decided to take time out, get the help I needed and start all over again this time observing my mistakes and trying to learn from them.
It was brought to my attention that I was trying to do too many things at once. I’d start something get bored and quit or I’d find some other amazing thing to do and get bored of it also. A friend suggested that I choose ONE small goal and stick to it. He said write your goal down and what you need to do to accomplish it. I was told to forget about everything else for the time being and make this the ultimate goal. I can only speak for myself and i don’t know if this is ADHD related or not but the idea of sticking to one small goal had NEVER crossed my mind. It sounds so obvious but for me it was a revelation.
I always wanted to drive and talked about it all the time but never did anything about it. The truth was that when I turned 17 they, the evil lawmakers, brought in the bloody theory test for driving and my fear of exams alongside a deep fear of failure prevented me from even trying. So passing my test became my ONE goal. I hyper-focused on the theory test and I’ll never forget the dread I felt going down the road to the exam but i passed and i got every question correct. I was overjoyed. But the challenge was yet to come, how I would deal with failure. When it came to the practical driving test I failed twice.
I was completely gutted and ready to quit. I rang my old friend Junior and he told me that winners never quit and encouraged me to try again. The following week i passed my driving test. Although for many this may not seem like a big deal, for me it was another massive turning point in my life because i began to use the same method over and over again in various areas of my life.
Since then i have set many goals and achieved them, including returning to education and surpassing even my own expectations. I’m also, generally, able to do more than ONE thing at once now as long as i have a good interest and set out a clear path to achieving the goals, but that comes with practice. Understanding my ADHD is a vital part of maintaining a good life and even though sometimes I may still experience failure by keeping my eye on the finish line the failures make success so much more sweet.
Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype. If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email – Niaadhd@gmail.com