One of the best things about being diagnosed with ADD is that you finally have an explanation for many of the challenges you experience in life.
So this is why it's hard for me to get started and follow through! This is why it's hard for me to pay attention in meetings! This is why it's hard for me to get to bed on time!
We must be careful, though, because an explanation is not an excuse.
An excuse can be defined as "a justification used to obtain forgiveness." Excuses don't help us make change or allow us to grow. They provide us with a way out. They provide us with a reason not to improve our lives, and they keep us feeling disappointed, frustrated, and unhappy.
And excuses have the same effect on the people we feed them to, like spouses, bosses, and friends.
When you make a choice, you "select from a number of possible alternatives; you decide." Making choices allows us to take control. We stop being victims of circumstance, and start being responsible people.
When learning to manage your ADD, you must be willing to stop making excuses, and start making choices.
Of course, learning to manage ADD is not simple. It takes time, patience, and practice. Let's look at a practical example:
You have a doctor's appointment, and you usually arrive late. You make the choice to change this behavior.
You make the choice to plan your travel time, it takes you 15 minutes door to door. You make the choice to leave your home 15 minutes before the appointment. However, when you get in the car, you realize that you need gas. You make the choice to stop for gas, and because of that you end up 5 minutes late. You're stressed out and frantic because you really tried to be there on time.
At this point, you can make an excuse: I didn't realize the tank was so low because I didn't use the car last! Or: I did the best I could so it's not my fault I'm late! Or: No matter how hard I try, I just can't get places on time!
The alternative is to make a choice to learn from this experience. I learned that I need to allow myself a little extra time, in case something like this comes up. Or: I learned that I do have the ability to manage my time better, and although I was still late, I really made an improvement.
Choices allow you to move forward. Excuses will keep you stuck in the same place.
Make the choice to increase your self-awareness.
Make the choice to explain your actions, rather than excuse them.
Make the choice to listen to the people who provide loving feedback.
Make the choice to find support.
Make the choice to take action.
Make the choice to acknowledge success.
Make the choice to move forward.
Jennifer Koretsky is a Professional ADD Management Coach who helps adults manage their ADD and move forward in life. She is the Leader of Experience ADDvantages, a popular online membership community that offers information, support, and coaching for adults with ADD. To learn more about Experience ADDvantages, please visit http://www.experienceADDvantages.com