Some intentions turn into accomplishments and some drift to What Might Have Been. What guides intentions one way or the other?
Yesterday, I remembered one guide when my guitar teacher asked me to perform publicly three weeks from now: a time-limited goal, with accountability. I have practiced the song I am to play, on average, five minutes every two weeks for the last three months. My goal has been to play the song eventually and sooner rather than later. Yesterday, “eventually” became three weeks from now. And, with this goal change, I have scheduled a daily practice of at least 10 minutes. This is the power of a goal that has a near-future deadline…combined with accountability. My guitar teacher is counting on me and there will be an audience…my guitar-playing just got real.
Where can you add a near-future deadline plus true accountability to shift an intention toward accomplishment and away from What Might Have Been?
I have long loved carousels and, for some reason, began to love them even more after reading Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. I find them enchanting. But when I get stuck going round and round riding the same beast (or moving from one to another on the carousel), I know it’s time to get off it.
How does anybody do this? First you have to notice that you’re on your carousel. This means identifying what’s on it.
What thoughts, emotions, etc. are the beasts that call you to it? If you have ADHD, these may include boredom, frustration, the thought “Why bother?” or “I’ll do it later.” Once you jump on one of these beasts, what does going round and round look like for you? Watching movies, playing video games, going online? Nothing wrong with these things. If you know, though, that one round on the carousel is likely to lead to many others without your even noticing while it’s happening, consider seeing your carousel from a distance.
When you are off it, go ahead and try to create a visual of your carousel, including what thought, emotion, memory, etc. each beast represents and what behavior follows. Then when you jump on your carousel, you have a better chance of noticing this and choosing whether to keep riding or step off. And, unlike the poor souls of Bradbury’s story, you’ll be only minutes or hours older.
Just the other day, my husband played this song to our daughter, and I said, “Hey, Mary Poppins had it right.” As a mental health therapist running groups for adults diagnosed with ADHD, I encourage members to have fun with their tasks as much as possible. Some will work outside or somewhere they find pleasant, some pair a reward with tasks and some work with others, even just as company. Some do all of these.
If you struggle to start something, remember Mary Poppins. And that some of us need a little more than a spoonful.