If you ask me, the hardest part of making any change is the stage in the process in which you are guaranteed to be uncomfortable. Making a positive, lasting change in your life isn’t easy. If it was, we’d all be in great shape, get places on time every time, be completely organized, and get along well with every member of our families.
If it were easy to make changes in our lives, we’d all have everything we ever wanted. But life doesn’t work that way, does it?
Specifically when it comes to managing adult ADHD, the changes you want to make and the skills you want to learn don’t come easily. They take a lot of time, energy, patience, and practice to build and implement. They may manifest in stages and layers, too, coming together one piece at a time.
Learning new things and making changes accordingly is often slow going. It’s a process, and it can be painful and uncomfortable. But the process is necessary if you want to be successful and move forward in your life.
Let’s look at a few examples using the 5 Essential Skills for Managing Adult ADD, from my book Odd One Out: The Maverick’s Guide to Adult ADD:
Example #1: Breaking the Cycle of Overwhelm
When learning how to Break the Cycle of Overwhelm, you have to learn how to take really good care of yourself, and that often means creating strong boundaries and saying “no” when things are requested of you.
I’ve worked with a number of clients who say “yes” to everything because they feel guilty saying “no.” They get roped into all sorts of commitments—from volunteer work to airport pickups to doing other people’s work—because they are afraid to say “no.”
Saying “no” can be dreadfully uncomfortable. You may feel like a bad person, you may have a sense of guilt, and you may even piss off a few people. But until you get past that uncomfortable feeling of saying “no,” you’ll find yourself stressed out and over-committed.
Example #2: Taking Control of Your Space
When learning how to Take Control of Your Space, you have to learn how to create organizational systems that work specifically for you. This means spending time straightening up and and actually organizing your stuff.
I’ve worked with a number of clients who have unrealistic expectations when it comes to getting organized. They convince themselves that they can transform into Martha Stewart overnight, just because they want it bad enough. But they often burn out and give up when they realize that getting organized requires an investment of time and energy that they’re not used to making.
One Saturday afternoon isn’t going to do it. If getting organized is really important to you, then it’s necessary to jump in (with realistic expectations) and spend more time and energy than you have in the past on this task that so many of us find incredibly boring. That’s uncomfortable. Bu you can’t take control of your space without a long term commitment..
Making any positive, lasting change in life requires steps that are uncomfortable, but necessary. The good news is that that uncomfortable feeling is often a cue that you’re moving in the right direction!
You can expect that some of the the changes you make when learning to manage your ADHD will be difficult. Make it easier on yourself and get comfortable being uncomfortable. Embrace the process.
What changes have you made in your life, despite being uncomfortable? Share your thoughts in the comments below!