We are creatures of habit. I mean humans, not just people with ADHD.
But we, the people with ADHD are maybe more creatures of habit than everyone else.
Some of us even believe that we have a touch of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, so strong are our habits.
So why is that?
It’s my honest opinion that we use habit as one of our more useful coping mechanisms … and also as one of our more durable excuses.
Let’s look at these two things individually, shall we?
Coping well …
We are creatures of … appreciation. When something works out well for us, that makes us happy. And if the process of that working out was easy enough to repeat, we will do it. Habits are nothing more than repeated actions that become enduring in our lives.
I make my coffee exactly the same way every morning. When I took meds I took them first thing in the morning as I was waiting for that coffee. When I do things that are repetitive, I do them the same way so that I don’t screw them up.
And this works?
Absolutely! … until it doesn’t. If something in my life changes and causes a need for a change in my habits, it is often hard for me to effect that change.
But if the change makes my life easier or better, then change I will, and eventually the change will become my new habit.
Oh, right … I said that habit was also one of our … how did I put that … most durable excuses? And it is.
When we don’t do the right thing, and instead do the fun thing, the exciting thing, we often use the excuse that this is how we always do it. And then we’ll add the idea that we can’t break our habits.
Excuses, excuses …
It’s so easy to just blame our habits, and if there is little or no impetus to change our ways, the idea that we are acting out of habit is really all we need to keep us rolling down the wrong path.
Consider some action that has little effect in each instance, but will have a growing effect cumulatively, lets take the self medicating with cigarettes as an example. How much easier is it, right at this moment to say, I can’t break this habit, and spark another smoke up?
Pretty damned easy
Yes, it is.
Is smoking good for you? No. Will it affect you negatively? Yes it will. Is that one in your hand right now going to kill you? No.
But in truth, every one of them has the potential to be the “one too many” that did the trick. It’s just easier right now to shake our heads self deprecatingly and say, “I just can’t break this habit.”
Now, I don’t smoke. And I don’t care if you do or not. Well, okay, I care, I’d rather you didn’t. But the truth is, it’s not my habit to break. I already did that.