How To Make Positive Changes


how to make positive changes in your life

You are the only person who can make positive changes in your life.

Inside my groups there has been a lot of talk lately about changing our patterns of behavior and thinking.

Here is a sampling of what these women tell me are the changes they want to make:

  • “I want to create a morning routine and stick with it.”
  • “I want to find a house cleaning schedule and get this place cleaned up.”
  • “I want to stop gaining weight.”

Making significant changes in our lives is always tough. When you have ADHD, your neurochemistry is actively working against you.

I of all people get this. The distress these women feel is palpable for me.

In his article for ADDA entitled Defining Your Life By Your Choices, David Giwerc writes:

“In every situation, and in every moment of our lives, we are given the divine right and choice to think whatever we want.”

Giwerc, by the way, is the Founder & President of the ADD Coach Academy, so he knows what he is talking about.

Thinking is part of the reason why making changes is so difficulty. Our thoughts are frequently negative and self-defeating.

Humans are evolutionarily wired to focus on negative, threatening stimuli. This is actually a good thing because if we weren’t wired that way we would not have survived life on this planet.

But as Giwerc points out in his article, what we focus on is often NOT productive or helpful to us when we are seeking to make changes in our lives.

He writes, “If you are honest and you see that what you are focusing on is not serving you well, then change it to a thought that will.”

If you want to effect real change in your life, you have to adjust your thoughts and your behavior.

How to make positive changes in your life: My advice to women living with ADHD

 

Changing Negative Core Beliefs

We all have those nasty, negative beliefs that we carry over from our childhood. Many times these beliefs about our worthiness, or lovability affect us more than we know.

Dr. Alice Boyes outlines a system for dealing with this on her website.

The first step is to choose a more positive belief to replace the negative one. After this you need to evaluate whether the belief is stable (you believe it even on good days), or more flexible where the feeling comes and goes depending on the circumstances.

See her website for more tips on changing negative core beliefs.

Much of this is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

In other words, thinking about your thoughts and then practicing new thought patterns.

Observing your thoughts

Talk to yourself. Seriously, all that crazy stuff in your head – say it to yourself out loud.

Does it sound crazy? Like something you would never say to another person?

Then you shouldn’t say it to yourself.

Write it down in a journal. Or sit in silence for a few minutes. Try meditation.

It’s up to you to do the work to adjust how you think. Many of us cannot do it alone, and this is where a good therapist can be helpful.

Changing your habits

In his popular book The Power of Habit (affiliate link), Charles Duhigg writes that what cues us to start a routine is either something external – like the clock, or something internal – like boredom or fatigue.

Duhigg asserts that you can change a routine if you pinpoint the cue, and keep the desired reward. All you have to do is switch out the routine.

For example, if you feel bored every day at work around 3pm you might get up and walk into the kitchen to get a snack. While you are there, you enjoy a short conversation with a colleague.

Triggered by boredom you went to the kitchen, eating the snack was the routine, and your reward was the conversation!

If you cut out the snack, you are changing the routine!

To make changes in your life, you have to look very closely at your routines.

The more specific we can be about which habits are affecting us, the better our chances of making changes.

Initiate the change

I recently read an article by Benjamin Hardy on Medium that got me thinking.

The most successful people in the world go above and beyond. They don’t just do what they are told to do.

According to Hardy, successful people initiate.

Initiators get started despite their fears, and despite any projected obstacles.

In my experience the best way to initiate change is also the simplest:

Just touch it. Just take the first step.

Taking the first step is difficult for those of us with ADHD brains. We are lacking some of the dopamine and norepinephrine receptors that make this possible for neurotypicals.

BUT, tiny changes often lead to big changes.

Touch it. Take a teeny tiny step.

You alone are in control of your thoughts and actions, and you alone can choose to work on those things.

Be an initiator.

If you want to effect real change in your life, you have to adjust your thoughts and your behavior.

Like my mother always said, anything worth having is worth working for.

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