New Year, New Approach:
ADHD-Friendly Intention and Action Based New Year’s Resolutions
As we welcome the New Year, it’s common to feel pressured by the daunting lists of resolutions that often accompany this time. For those of us with ADHD, this pressure can feel particularly triggering. This year, I challenge you to shift your perspective – focus not on a list of tasks but a vision for your year ahead and some simple manageable strategies to get you there.
New Year’s resolutions often come with a weight of expectation and a sense of overwhelming commitment – elements that can be particularly challenging for the ADHD brain. The traditional approach to resolutions can inadvertently set us up for stress and a feeling of failure, especially when the executive functioning challenges of ADHD are at play.
Embracing a Vision-Focused Approach
Instead of a list of tasks, let’s create a vision for the year. This approach involves visualizing the emotions and experiences you want to cultivate. What do you hope to feel? Calm, joy, accomplishment? Start by visualizing these emotions and then gently consider the first steps towards this vision.
Where to Start
Your goal is to start with an intention for the year. Try these approaches to create your intention:
1. Mindful Visualization: Take time to sit quietly and visualize what a fulfilling year looks like for you. What are you doing? How are you feeling? Let these images guide your intention/s for the year.
2. Focus on Feelings: Center your goals around how you want to feel, rather than specific outcomes. This shift can reduce the pressure and make your goals more meaningful and attainable. Check out the image below for emotional inspiration.
3. Consider Values: What values are most important to you, what do you want to prioritize this year? If you feel stumped, try choosing 1-5 from this brainstorm list.
4. The Power of One Word: Try choosing one word for the year – a word that encapsulates the essence of your vision. This could be ‘peace’, ‘growth’, ‘balance’, or any word that resonates with you. This word serves as a simple, powerful reminder of your overall intentions, cutting through the complexity and helping you stay focused on what truly matters.
Once your intention or intentions are set, your goal is to plan for action without the overwhelm. Try these approaches:
1. Brainstorm: Once you have a vision, brainstorm potential actions that you could try to align with your intention. Remember, these are not rigid tasks but flexible steps toward your larger vision. Document these and allow yourself the option of trying different actions without needing to commit to something before you know if you like it.
2. Quarterly Habit Focus: Instead of overwhelming yourself with a year-long commitment, consider picking one manageable habit to focus on each quarter. For instance, dedicating ten minutes daily to mindfulness practices to connect back to an intention of finding more “peace” in 2024. This allows for manageable targets that can flexibly evolve throughout the year.
3. Embrace Flexibility: ADHD thrives with flexibility. Allow your vision to evolve as the year progresses. Be open to changes and adjustments that align better with your needs and feelings as they shift through the seasons.
Format to Try
Pull out your journal and try using the following framework to state your 2024 intention and action based resolution.
Word: Peace and Calm
Intention: To find moments of calm daily to reduce overall stress.
- Trying a meditation app.
- Finding a yoga class outside the house.
- Using EFT tapping at night.
- Repeating calming mantras during moments of anxiety.
- Doing 10 minutes of bedtime stretches.
First Quarter Habit:
- I will commit to spending at least 10 minutes every day listening to a meditation or breathwork exercise.
Intention: To embrace personal development and learning.
- Reading a new book each month.
- Starting a weekly hobby or skill class.
- Keeping a journal to track progress and insights.
- Setting aside time each week for self-reflection.
- Joining a community or group related to personal interests.
First Quarter Habit:
- I will listen to an audiobook on a learning subject every time I am in the car by myself.
Whether it’s finding peace through meditation, embracing growth with a new book each month, or any other intention that resonates with you, the key is to start small and stay flexible. Embrace the journey of self-discovery and growth this New Year, with an approach that aligns with your ADHD brain.
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