“You should stop saying ‘Don’t try harder, try differently.’ Instead, you should say ‘Don’t try harder, do differently.’”
-Recent couples seminar attendee
“Do Differently,” Instead
I love it when people come to me with ideas about what I write and say! Not only does it provide me an opportunity to improve what I offer others, but it also helps me see things in a new way.
Recently a seminar participant wrote me to suggest that saying one of my key suggestions could be improved. He argued that ‘trying’ is not the same thing as ‘doing’ and that for those with ADHD this distinction is particularly important. It’s easy to confuse ‘thinking’ with ‘doing’ when you have ADHD, particularly if you have symptoms that interfere with follow through.
I completely agree. Good intentions, which could be other words for ‘trying,’ just aren’t as compelling as changed habits of ‘doing.’
This is why I encourage couples to set SMART goals that can be measured objectively and are bound by time. You can measure “I’m going to do the dinner dishes 5 times this week” and determine concretely if you met your goal or not. You cannot measure “I’m going to try harder to do the dishes.”
And for non-ADHD partners, in particular, it’s the doing that is where the relief is.
With all that in mind, I’m thinking of updating my saying to more accurately reflect what I meant…which really was about creating change. What do you think?
Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. ADHDmarriage.com can literally change your life! Find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD including free: Online treatment overview; Downloadable chapters of my books; A community forum with other couples facing similar issues; A large number of blog posts on various topics; Referrals.
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