Habits are hard to develop and sustain especially if you are affected by ADHD. As an ADHD coach I am asked all the time by my clients how they can create new habits and maintain them. They want the secret. Unfortunately, there is no one secret that makes habit formation easy.
What I have found most important about forming new habits is mindset, especially the mindset of forgiveness. Habits are hard to maintain so you need to forgive yourself when you mess up. Don’t give up but get back to working on that new habit as soon as possible. Often when we mess up, we give up and decide that we failed and can’t maintain the new habit.
Sticking to a new habit means you will mess up sometimes. Being resilient and trying again enables us to develop new habits. The best way I know of starting and maintaining a new habit is to link it up to a habit you already have. For example, probably brush your teeth every morning. It is a habit you already have. Let’s say the doctor gives you medicine to take in the morning and you keep forgetting to take it. Put the medicine where you keep your toothbrush or toothpaste. That way you will see the medicine every time you brush your teeth. You will be reminded that you also take the medicine in the morning. That is hooking a new habit to a habit you already have. It will help you to remember and maintain the new habit.
Think about the habits you already have. You weren’t born doing these habits, they were developed over time. The same will be true of the habits you create today. It will take time. Patience is required. But it is possible to build new habits even if you are affected by ADHD. It may mean writing notes to yourself to remind you until you don’t need the notes anymore. It may mean getting the help of family or friends to gently remind you that you are working toward creating a new habit. It may mean altering a habit you already have to include the new habit.
Just remember there is no great secret that everybody but you knows about starting and maintaining a new habit. This is hard for everyone.