But even though resolutions are tricky for ADHDers, that doesn’t mean you can’t set and achieve goals going into 2024. If you want to start the year off on the right foot, use these tips to get motivated, stay on track, and celebrate your strengths.
Set Smaller Goals
Let’s start with an exercise. Think about your goals for 2024. Now, pick one of the top goals you have for yourself and write it down at the top of a piece of paper. Below the goal, write down all of the small steps it will take to get there, being as detailed as possible.
For example, let’s say your goal for 2024 is to get in shape. Embracing a healthy and active lifestyle is always a good thing, but this goal is a bit vague. It can help to be more specific about the steps you’ll have to take to achieve it. It can start with the smallest tasks, like buying a new pair of running shoes or signing up for a gym membership. Other steps might include completing a session with a personal trainer or going for a run three times a week.
People with ADHD often find that setting smaller goals helps them to stay motivated. This process of breaking down the steps to achieve a larger goal is also known as chunking. The more steps you can break your goal into, the better. This makes each step feel more achievable.
Instead of feeling daunted when you look at the prospect of getting in shape, you can work on checking individual items off of a list or tracking small tasks on a daily progress chart. You’ll feel more motivated the more steps you complete, which will help you work toward your goal over the long run.
Build New Habits into Your Routine
What things are you hoping to do more of in 2024? Whether you want to eat healthier meals, spend more time outdoors, or dive into your hobby, your daily routine may be the key to making a lasting change.
Let’s say that you hope to make this the year that you read more. Maybe you’ve struggled to find time to read in the past, but this year you really want to increase the number of books you read.
In this case, the best way to start off strong in 2024 is to build it into your routine. Don’t think of reading as a “bonus” you’ll get to do when you have the time. It’s too easy to get busy with other tasks or become distracted, especially when you have ADHD. Instead, make it an essential part of your day just like your morning cup of coffee or brushing your teeth before bed.
One trick for getting a new goal to stick is to try habit stacking. This is a process of adding a new habit onto one that’s already well-established in your routine.
Maybe you like to change into comfy clothes as soon as you get home from work each day. If your goal is to read more, get out your book and sit down to read immediately after changing your clothes. You can start with small increments, like 5 to 10 minutes at a time, to start. The key is to be as consistent as possible with associating reading with changing clothes after work. Over time, you can increase the number of minutes that you read for, and the new reading habit will become second nature.
People with ADHD often struggle with disorganization. Keeping track of things and controlling clutter may not be your strong suits, and that’s okay. However, that doesn’t mean you should just live with it. The unfortunate truth is that clutter and disorganization can have negative effects on your health by creating more stress and making it harder to focus, which is already challenging for many ADHDers.
If you want to start off strong in 2024, spend some time trying to get a bit more organized. Start by creating dedicated places for important items like your phone, wallet, and keys so you’re less likely to misplace them. Then, sort through items with a simple three-box system using one box for trash, one box for donations, and one box for things you want to keep. Go through messy areas and place each item in one of the three boxes to cut back on clutter and start the year fresh with a reorganized space.
Remember Your Strengths
Whether or not you’re hoping to achieve new goals or adopt new lifestyle habits in 2024, the beginning of a new year marks a great time to reflect. Many of our goals tend to focus on areas where we feel we’re lacking. When trying to make positive changes, however, it helps immensely to have a positive mindset.
ADHD can be a challenging condition to live with, and it may cause you to feel down on yourself at times. But feeling good about yourself is one of the best ways to get a strong start to the year. Take some time to think about what you’re good at. Perhaps you’re a great parent, a hard worker, a wonderful friend, or a loving pet owner. Maybe you’re a gifted musician, you excel in sports, or you can solve super-tough crossword puzzles. You can even think about some of the ways ADHD works in your favor. While it does make some aspects of life harder, ADHD can also make you more creative, more spontaneous, more energetic, and more resilient.
Take this time at the start of a new year to build yourself up a bit. When you’re feeling good about yourself, it will be easier to see how much you’re capable of and believe in your ability to accomplish your goals.