Let me tell you about a little something I call “The When-Then Game. " It's a trap that way too many adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) get caught in.
The When-Then Game looks like this:
When I get my house spic-n-span, then I'll invite friends over.
When I get in to work on time every day for a month, then I'll ask for that raise.
When I lose 20 pounds, then I'll buy new clothes.
When I get rid of all that clutter in my garage, then I'll take that dancing class.
While playing the When-Then Game, you convince yourself that you can't do one thing until you do something else. Or, you refuse to let yourself have fun simply because there are projects you haven't completed.
The When-Then Game can severely damage your self-esteem, because your focus is predominantly on what isn't getting done. It makes you feel bad about yourself!
It's very easy to get wrapped up in all the things you think you should be doing, instead of moving forward. But the When-Then Game keeps you stuck in a state of perpetual overwhelm. Life isn't enjoyable; it's merely a to-do list.
When you take care of yourself, you find yourself less overwhelmed and more prepared to deal with your ADD challenges, as well as the stresses of everyday life.
Rather than succumbing to the When-Then Game, imagine that you:
Invited guests over, even though your house wasn't perfect. You'd probably be surprised that your guests didn't judge you, and you actually had a good time. Their houses aren't perfect, either, you know!
Asked for that raise, even though you have flaws. You might be surprised to find that your strengths outweigh your weaknesses in the eyes of your boss.
Bought a new outfit, even though you'd still like to lose some weight. Most likely, the new clothes would allow you to feel better about yourself, which in turn would help you take better care of yourself!
Took that class even though the garage is still cluttered. You might enjoy yourself so much that you found yourself more motivated to clean up the cluttered garage. Or not. Who cares? Why let something as little as a cluttered garage keep you from having fun??
Please all adults with ADD, stop playing the When-Then Game! You're the only one holding yourself back, and you deserve better.
Copyright (c) 2008 Jennifer Koretsky
Jennifer Koretsky is the Founder of the ADD Management Group, Inc. and the author of Odd One Out: The Maverick's Guide to Adult ADD. Jennifer and her team work with ADD adults who are overwhelmed with everyday life in order to help them simplify, focus, and succeed. For free resources and information on adult ADD, visit http://www.ADDmanagement.com .