“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do."
- Leonardo da Vinci
How many times have you or your partner wanted to do something, then fallen short? You wanted to approach your partner with less frustration, but then something happened and you were angry again. You wanted to follow through on that project, but then you got distracted by something else.
So, how to get yourself to ‘do’ what you ‘know’ you should do? That has a good deal to do with getting our brain to accept and create new habits. Here are some of the most important steps:
1. Understand WHY it’s important to do this thing for YOU, not just because your partner asks for it. This will help motivate you.
2. Set a specific, measurable goal that is bound by time. “I will do the dishes 3 evenings this week” is a great goal. It tells you when and what in no uncertain terms. “I will do the dishes more often” is too wishy-washy.
3. Create a specific plan and take the time to run through it in your mind start to finish as if you were doing it. This helps cement the plan in your body, and also helps you realize if there are problems with it – something you didn’t think of.
4. Measure your results. If you only did the dishes 2 times, figure out why and adjust either your goal or your plan. If you succeed, reward yourself (even an internal pat on the back is good!) and then plan to do it again. Creating a new habit that is ‘ingrained’ takes several MONTHS of overt effort.
When my husband took over doing the night dishes it took him several tries to get it right. He didn’t do the step of running it through his mind, so didn’t realize he had to actually clear time for his new ‘activity’. He also hadn’t worked out what time of day he would do the darned things (night? Next morning?) But eventually he got it and now doesn’t think twice about this part of his life.
Is there ONE thing which you would really like to start doing with which you can use these four steps on right now?
Tame the Anger in Your Relationship starts TOMORROW, Sept 13th - Working through your anger can be hard, and is an area where partners get 'stuck' when trying to improve their relationship. My upcoming seminar, How to Diminish Anger in Your Relationship, is designed to:
be a safer space in which you can identify and surface your feelings of anger
teach you proven interaction and anger management skills
provide time to practice new skills to improve interactions during class
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, 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;
Is your relationship in trouble? Consider my highly acclaimed couples' course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This 8-session phone seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. The Live session starts September 26, 2018.