Sunday, February 26, 2012

Adults with AD/HD: Why Nike Has the Right Idea by Jennifer Koretsky

I've always loved the Nike tagline, "Just Do It." The message is clear. If you want something, then stop making excuses and just do it! It's a positive, inspirational message that cuts through a lot of BS.

For people with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), however, "just do it" isn't always such a positive message. Many of us who had challenges in our youth (and even in our adulthood) have been dismissed and told to "just do it."

* I can't concentrate on this math homework. (Well you have no problem concentrating on those video games. Just do it!)

* I'll clean my room, but where do I start? (Stop whining and just do it!)

* I'd like to lead the team on this project for work, but how do I go about doing that? (I don't know, you just do it!)

Sometimes, "just do it" just doesn't apply. Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder comes with certain challenges that are real, and you may need some help to learn how to overcome and/or deal with these challenges. So, for example:

You can't become organized when you don't have any organization skills. But you can get help to learn these skills.

You can't will yourself to fall asleep at night just because you're tired. But you can take steps to regulate your sleeping habits, and you can get medical help if necessary.

You can't force yourself to sustain focus when you're bored out of your mind. But you can pick up some tips and tricks to help you focus better.

It's at this stage of the game where I see a lot of adults with AD/HD falter. They identify their challenges and get the help they need, but then don't follow through.

I think this is because many of us expect magic bullet solutions that will change everything. Unfortunately, those magic bullets don't exist.

If you never enjoyed organizing, then having newfound organization skills won't suddenly make it fun to clean out the pantry.

Having a few focus-boosting tricks will help you pay attention, but they won't make the meetings any more interesting than they were before.

Managing your time with a planner will definitely help you get things done, but the planner can't make you leave the house on time to make that appointment.

This is where "Just Do It" comes back into play. When it's a matter of will or won't (and not a matter of can't), "Just Do It" becomes a fantastic motto that adults with AD/HD can use to their benefit.

* When you think: I don't feel like cleaning up. Tell yourself: Just do it!

* When you think: I know it's late but I don't want to get off the computer and go to bed. Tell yourself: Just do it!

* When you think: That report that's due is so dull--I don't want to work on it! Tell yourself: Just do it!

When you "just do" something, you cut out the BS and the excuses, and you prove to yourself that you ARE capable of achieving the goals you set for yourself. It might not be fun, but you CAN get it done! And best of all, when you "just do it," you get to stop stressing out and move on with your life.

I think it all comes down to this: Build awareness. Seek solutions. Just do it.

Copyright (c) 2010 Jennifer Koretsky