ADHDuncomfortableWhen you make a change in your life—presumably to better manage your ADHD—what’s the hardest part?

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!

Jennifer Koretsky About Jennifer Koretsky

Jennifer Koretsky, SCAC is the Managing Partner of the ADD Management Group, LLC and Chief Executive Officer of She is a Senior Certified ADHD Coach, and the author of Odd One Out: The Maverick's Guide to Adult ADD.


  1. Thoughtwhirl says:

    Jen – I love looking at it this way !! I teach elementary students and we spend a lot of time discussing the importance of feeling uncomfortable. Making mistakes, being confused – they both feel bad but without those you can’t learn something new.

    • Jennifer Koretsky Jennifer Koretsky says:

      That’s an excellent lesson to teach at an early age. Good for you! Life would be so much easier for so many people if they embraced this concept.

  2. You are right. Sadly enough, I’m only realizing this after 10 years after being diagnosed.

  3. you are right on, change is hard. i try to set reachable goals, expect lapses but just stick with it, keep score like with gold stars.

  4. Rammkatze says:

    I was in the process of organizing some of my personal life even before I was diagnosed a month ago. I was very upset at how quickly my kitchen – and the rest of the house along with it – got cluttered up. Like nothing was working in the way of thinking “you can’t toss things on the table”, it would become impossible after a few days. I realized a few back that this was because of my recycling. My actual recylcing: the paper was stuck between the fridge and the sink, the plastig hung from the radiator. My Jacket allways hung on the chair because I had no coathangers in the hall and the backpack was the same. This made my kitchen look so messy even when it wasn’t that well… one thing led to another and I had a kitchen make-over and more: I now have coathangers enough for me and guests; an extra sturdy hook for my backpack next to the coathanger; I moved the plastic and paper recycling into the cabinet under the sink; the stuff under the sink and over the cabinets had to be moved to the hall: I set up 4 shelves on a niche where I can put everyhing that I need handy enough but not for everyday use; I fit the cabinet next to the oven with hidden wheels, so it’s easy to retrieve the cuttlery and pieces of food I kept letting fall in there and usually ignored for weeks in a row. It was a mammoth project that I only managed to do with 3 weeks off of work (which would have taken a regular person about a week, I’m sure), because I kept making stupid mistakes like not buying enough screws for the shelves on the hall (“why are there so few? D’oh! I need 3 screws per holding and I calculated it as 2!”), delaying tactics (“Well, now I’ve had a beer, I won’t operate electrical supplies today” “well, now it’s 2pm, it’s quiet time for the neighbours, no drillin’….”) but I finally did it! I’m happy with the results and I really feel like I’m in control of the space. The living room is next! And I’m working on a 3-item list of things I forget to do or delay everyday and that I want to check everyday before I go to bed. Change really is hard, but I’m willing to give it a go.