“Willpower is like a muscle – it takes practice to get it right, but it also gets tired.” -Dan Ariely
It takes effort to exert willpower, so it makes sense that having to exert willpower for long periods of time would mean that you would tire. This has some implications for both partners in struggling ADHD relationships:
Whenever possible, create situations that require less use of sustained willpower to keep your forward momentum. For example, consider hiring assistance for housework if you can afford it, rather than create a system that requires repeatedly needing to invoke the use of willpower to get things done. Or sign up for an exercise class that meets regularly, so you don’t have to repeatedly make the decision to go to the gym.
Practice building the ‘muscle’ of willpower the same way you would build a regular muscle – start with shorter duration tasks, then move on to longer periods as you find what helps you sustain effort
People who are sleep deprived will find that their willpower lessens more quickly (possibly related to ADHD getting worse with less sleep!)
Noting and celebrating successes has the ability to ‘build up’ depleted willpower. Make sure to celebrate your successes as you have them!
Finally, remember that the task of sustaining effort is significantly harder for most people with ADHD than for non-ADHD partners – by definition.
Are there things you can do to help keep your willpower ‘muscle’ strong?
The next live ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar starts January 12th! Learn more here. Use Coupon Code MCO16for a $32 savings. "Your class had life-changing effects on our marriage. Thank you!"
For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including: a free online treatment overview; free downloadable chapters of my books; a community forum with other couples facing similar issues; a large number of blog posts on various topics; referrals; and my very popular couples courses: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - Next live session starts January 12 2016 - this eight-session phone seminar has helped many couples turn around their relationship.