Ordinarily I send out a missive on New Year’s Day. In ordinary times. These are not ordinary times. There is the pandemic and a great divide in our nation. On a personal note, I am taking care of a sick relative. Time has both lost meaning and at the same time is full of meaning.

Each year my New Year’s Day message is supposed to uplift. A hard thing to do right now. Most important for those of us affected by ADHD it is about letting go of last year’s disappointments and looking to the future. Most likely if you are reading this you struggle with symptoms associated with ADHD. This could include time management, getting started on tasks, finishing tasks, prioritizing, self-regulation, planning, focus and so much more. I can’t tell you that this year will better. I don’t know that. What I can tell you is the attitude with which you approach this year makes all the difference.

I like to tell my clients to be an investigator. Investigate your life. Collect data. What is working? What is not working? Are you late all the time? Instead of beating yourself up begin to investigate. What is happening ten minutes before you have to leave to be somewhere? What is happening 30 minutes before, an hour before? If need be start taking notes. Are you forgetting you need to be someplace at a certain time? Are you doing one last thing before you leave which makes you late? Are you losing track of time? Are you underestimating travel time? There is a myriad of possibilities. But once you pin down what is going on there is the possibility you can take some corrective action.

The key is to leave out your emotions, assumptions and judgements. Just be an investigator and collect data.

I used to be severely late all the time. Upon investigating I discovered is that the pressure of an appointment or deadline spurred me into action. I would start cleaning or doing paperwork work. Thinking I need to get “this” done before I leave. Now I have a simple rule of never starting any new activity fifteen minutes before I need to leave to get somewhere. I use those fifteen minutes to find a stopping point in whatever I am doing and get ready to leave.

What are you struggling with? Can you become an investigator and investigate your actions? Then come up with a plan of action based on the data you have collected. You might need support in doing this. An ADHD coach can help you.

This year instead of judging yourself or putting yourself down, shift your attitude to becoming an investigator of your actions or non-actions. Find out what is actually happening and then take corrective action.