Advice for the world’s worst habit keeper?

I am not a creature of habit, despite my enormous continuous effort to be one.  I’ll come up with a system/schedule to get in all the things I care about in the day such as keeping the house clean, taking care of pets, scripture study, language study, crocheting, ect.    I’ll be FANTASTIC for sometimes up to a week.  I feel energetic.  Things get done.  I find I have more time in a day than I would have believed.

And then…  A disruption to my schedule.  Sometimes they’re really small like a short illness or a really good book that I can’t put down.  Other times they’re bigger, like a bad attitude that lasts 3-4 days and I do nothing but sit on the couch and the bare minimums.  At times, they’re inevitable, like a spouse who wants to show me something when I’m “in my zone” and by the time he’s done showing me whatever it was (a new frog he wants to get, a book he got from the library, his progress in the newest tank he’s building, ect) I’m out of the zone and usually can’t seem to get back in.   All it takes is one day, and sometimes just one moment, away from whichever system/schedule I’m using at the moment and POOF!  It’s history.  My ADHD wins the battle and the focus just isn’t there.

I’ve been without a successful system for about 2 weeks now and feel like I’m in a rut.  More often than not these past couple weeks, all I’ve wanted to do is crash on the couch when I get home.  Poor Xan hasn’t had very good cooking recently because once I sit down… I’m done.  I can’t seem to find the motivation to get back up to do more than make the simplest meal possible.

Does anyone have any advice for building habits to the world’s worst habit keeper to help get me out of my rut?

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Advice for the world’s worst habit keeper?

  1. Nancy

    Get rid of your couch and then you have nothing to crash on. . . haha

    Building good habits is a hard thing to do! I’m like that with eating healthy. I’ll be really good for a week, some times less, and then I’ll go to someone’s house or just simply not care any more and give up 🙂 I’m also the same way about coming home and just wanting to crash on the couch and do nothing.

    I really don’t have any advice . . . You could try a rewards system for yourself. Sometimes, if I’ve been really good about my eating habits, I’ll treat myself to an ice cream sundae or buy something special. Some people make charts that they can check off and leave it where they can see it every day, those don’t work so well for me.
    Good luck though! The best thing is that you at least keep trying to establish good habits. . . so you’re half way there 😀

    • Ashley Bybee Stepp

      Haha! I’m sure Xan would love that suggestion! “Hey Honey, I think we need to get rid of the couch. It’s just not good for my habit building.”

  2. I think that you are your own best advice giver. You already recognize the issue and are working on solving it. I would say this–don’t be hard on yourself. Keeping a schedule is a major step in the right direction. Remember, it is much easier to stay on schedule when you give yourself some leeway.

  3. Merry

    I agree with Amber. If you set a goal to do X every day, once you miss a day you have failed. However, if you set a goal to do X 3-5 times a week, you are much more likely to achieve your goal. Additionally, if you make a chart to help you keep track of your progress, it will remind you to get back on track if you’ve had a day or two of being lazy. And if you make a new chart for each week, you won’t have to see your past failures and use them as excuses to be lazy again. Just some ideas.

  4. Maren

    I feel you. I spend so much time dreaming up amazing schedules for myself and then losing the enthusiasm for them. I don’t have many solutions…at this point I’m kind of counting on Patrick to force me to do things. For example, I was so enthusiastic about us going running every morning when we got back to the US and now that we are here…yeah. We have to just keep trying I guess. I like the idea of a chart too–I am so much better at getting things done when I can visualize them, cross them off and then feel proud of myself for that little x.

  5. All it takes is one day, and sometimes just one moment, away from whichever system/schedule I’m using at the moment and POOF! It’s history. My ADHD wins the battle and the focus just isn’t there. I’ve been without a successful system for about 2 weeks now…

    I’ve been learning how to succeed with ADHD for a few years now. (It also stands for “A cappella Doesn’t Heighten Discipline.”) Let me share some thoughts now, and I’ll send you some links to professional advice later (if my reminder system works!).

    Don’t assume your system is bad if it doesn’t fix things immediately. (And, like Amber said, don’t assume you’re bad.) Building habits is almost always a story of having to start over again and again, even for “regular folk.” ADD people tend to complicate (and then scrap) their organization strategies because “nothing seems to work.” You may just need to give it another try. Just because you fall off the wagon doesn’t mean the wagon’s busted.

    Is your schedule written down and posted somewhere? Tape it to a wall somewhere visible to you (though not necessarily to your guests.) Try to keep it simple: don’t make it twenty items long, or make a separate list for each area of your life and post them in different places. To-do lists are easier to remember if there’s not as much “remembering” involved. That’s one reason the chart idea is good:

    Make a chart out of your list, with a box next to each item to check off each day that you do it. Again, keep the chart visible. As the week/month goes by you’ll be able to see where you’re getting things done and where you’re not. If you see any interesting trends or patterns, that’s cool, but most people, like Maren, just find it easier to make progress if they can see it (especially people with short memories/attention spans).

    Using rewards helped me train for the marathon and get into law school. The trick is to think of the right rewards and give yourself one when you put enough checks (real or figurative) on your list within a week/month. Think of rewards that you really enjoy but can’t just give yourself at any moment anyway. (Kristine bought me a Finale upgrade for finishing my law school applications. I didn’t even have to get accepted anywhere; the reward was for writing the essay, getting the recommendation letters and finishing all the paperwork.) Don’t make the rewards counterproductive—for example, if you tend to play video games instead of studying, don’t reward yourself for finishing a research paper with a shiny new video game.

    I hope things go better!

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