This is the time of year we like to talk about New Year’s resolutions, what we’re going to do differently next year, and all that good stuff. If you’re feeling a little more inclined toward self-congratulation than self-improvement, though, I’ve got a suggestion: take a minute and let yourself reflect on what you did right in 2016.
The point here isn’t just to do some self-back-patting (although that’s always fun too). It’s that looking at what ADHD coping strategies worked in 2016 is a good way of figuring out what to do in 2017.
Think of it this way: managing ADHD is about trying different coping strategies that make it easier to live with the symptoms of the disorder. If you’re like me, probably less than half of the coping strategies you try end up actually working. As a ballpark, let’s say 1 in 4 of the ADHD coping strategies you try end up being effective.
That means if you make a bunch of New Year’s resolutions to try new ADHD coping strategies in 2017, most of those strategies are going to fail. But if you reflect on the coping strategies that really worked in 2016 and commit to putting those into practice in 2017, your success rate is going to be much higher!
The reason this takes some reflection is that you might not even be aware of what your successful 2016 ADHD coping strategies were – we don’t always consciously say “I’m implementing an ADHD coping strategy” when we make adjustments in our lives.
Look for the small things and the big things. Maybe you found a new organizational system that made it easier to be productive. Maybe you quit a job that was a bad fit for your ADHD brain.
Then figure out ways to continue those changes into 2017. If that new organizational system works, keep using it, and see if you can put something similar into practice in other parts of your life!
No need to be too literal. If you quit your job in 2016, you don’t have to quit your job again in 2017! But you could make a more general commitment to noping the hell out of other environments that bring out the worst of your ADHD symptoms and don’t play to your strengths.
Too often, New Year’s resolutions are about guilt and redemption: I did this thing wrong, so I’m going to atone for it next year. Sometimes it’s a lot more fun to extend your successes: I did this thing right in 2016, and I’m going to do it even more right in 2017!