Prioritizing

Be Your Own Life Coach

Setting goals — even if they’re abstract — can be a good way for adults with ADHD to feel more in control of their life.

A pen and paper next to a whistle that might be used by an ADHD life coach
Notepad with pen and coaching whistle next to it belonging to someone with ADHD

One of the most challenging — and most helpful and fun — tasks that I’ve done as part of my Happiness Project is to write my Twelve Personal Commandments. These aren’t resolutions, like “Make my bed,” but the principles by which I try to live my life.

It took me several months to come up with this list, and it has been useful to have my bedrock goals identified clearly in my mind. To get you started to think about your own commandments, here are mine:

1. Be Gretchen
2. Let it go
3. Act the way I want to feel
4. Do it now
5. Be polite and be fair
6. Enjoy the process
7. Spend out (the most enigmatic of my commandments)
8. Identify the problem
9. Lighten up
10. Do what ought to be done
11. No calculation
12. There is only love

So how do you make up your own list?

Consider phrases that have stuck with you. When I look at my commandments, I realize that five of them are actually quotations from other people. My father reminds me to “Enjoy the process.” A respected boss told me to “be polite and be fair.” A good friend told me that she’d decided that “there is only love” in her heart for a difficult person. “No calculation” is a paraphrase of my spiritual master St. Therese (“When one loves, one does not calculate”), and “Act the way I want to feel” is a paraphrase of William James.

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Aim high and fight the urge to be comprehensive. My commandments help me most when I review them at least daily, to keep them fresh in my mind. To be able to do this, it helps to keep the list short and snappy. I suspect that Twelve Commandments is too many. Maybe I need only two: “Be Gretchen” and “There is only love.”

Think about what’s true for you. Each person’s list will differ. One person’s commandment is to “say yes,” while another person’s commandment is to “say no.” You need to think about you, your values, your strengths and weaknesses, and your interests. I’ve written about commandments in the past, and it’s fascinating to read other people’s commandments. For instance:

  • Do stuff
  • Talk to strangers
  • Stay in touch
  • Make haste to be kind
  • Dig deep
  • Less is more
  • Smaller

Have you identified some of your own personal commandments yet? Why not start working on your list today?

[Seven Helpful Habits for Adults with ADHD]

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  1. This is so cool, because I have done the same thing! Only, I got the idea from the show NCIS. I wanted to make my own rules to live by. I am still working on these rules, they change depending on what you need. I think I started 3 or 4 years ago with them. I get ideas from tv, music, books, quotes people say or just ideas to simplify life. They are so helpful. Just recently, I hit a breakthrough with these and I think my list is set.

    1. FEARLESSLY Be Yourself
    2.Love
    3. (I won’t post this one because not everyone believes in God like I do.)
    4. Live in the Moment
    5. Let it Be
    6. Be Simple (This one used to be KISS – but I took out Stupid, I think that is a bad word!)
    7. It Will Pass
    8. Be Grateful

    Like I said, these are always getting adjusted. The first 4, however, are my life rules and will not change (anymore). I have made a document on my computer, made a copy for my phone, and memorized these. They truly help a lot!! Everyone needs their own set though. Everyone has to go down THIER OWN path in life, especially if you struggle with ADHD. The world will make you feel dumb and alone, but trust me there is a place for you all!

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