In 1989 Steven Covey wrote and published “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” which is a self-help manual of 7 simple, yet powerful steps for personal improvement. Millions have used these timeless principles to improve themselves for the better. This article will explore how someone who has been diagnosed with adult ADHD/ADD (or knows someone who has been diagnosed) can begin to use these habits to enhance their adult ADHD treatment and journey to wellness. This exercise is not a replacement for reading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” nor is it a replacement for professional adult ADHD treatment, but a supplementary exercise to propel a “good” treatment into a highly effective adult ADHD treatment.
Steven Covey on his personal website shares that the first habit is “Be Proactive.” What does it mean to “Be Proactive”?
Steven Covey writes:
“Habit 1: Be Proactive is about taking responsibility for your life. You can’t keep blaming everything on your parents or grandparents. Proactive people recognize that they are “response-able.” They don’t blame genetics, circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. They know they choose their behavior. Reactive people, on the other hand, are often affected by their physical environment. They find external sources to blame for their behavior. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t, it affects their attitude and performance, and they blame the weather. All of these external forces act as stimuli that we respond to. Between the stimulus and the response is your greatest power-you have the freedom to choose your response. One of the most important things you choose is what you say. Your language is a good indicator of how you see yourself. A proactive person uses proactive language-I can, I will, I prefer, etc. A reactive person uses reactive language-I can’t, I have to, if only. Reactive people believe they are not responsible for what they say and do-they have no choice.”
First, the adult with ADHD is encouraged to take responsibility for his/her life and adult ADHD treatment. This should not be thought of as a punishment or negative judgment upon the individual, because a common symptom of adults with ADHD is negative self-esteem. The adult with ADHD more than likely already feels ashamed of his/her behavior so it must be made perfectly clear that these statements are taken as positive and uplifting reinforcement and not another lecture of words to tear down. It is hoped that this positive encouragement reverberate with such intensity that that it will be able to keep internal and external negative reinforcement at bay.
It is easy to blame others for our shortcomings. Some of this blame is actually true, however adults with ADHD need to come to grips with this condition and say to themselves, “This is the way I am but I am going to have to deal with it regardless of where it came from”. Life is not fair but we must continue to move on to improve in life. Proactive ADHD people can be “response-able.” Adults with ADHD do have the freedom to choose their response even in the midst of negative surroundings. They may say to themselves, “I cannot change – it’s so hard. I am not responsible for the mess I am in and I am not the one responsible for getting me out..”
Second, adults with ADHD are encouraged to discover what they can control and what they have little or no control over. People can (generally) control the outcome of their health, behavior, body language, conversation, thoughts, children, etc. People have very little or no control over other people’s beliefs, the weather, the traffic, other people’s attitudes, other people’s ethics, other people’s emotions, other people’s parenting, and other people’s vote, etc. It is true that we may be concerned about traffic, weather, politics, attitudes, feelings, social condition, terrorism, etc, and we may have a little influence on these things, but not in a major or significant way.
Regardless of the method of adult ADHD treatment, adults with ADHD are encouraged to begin working on the things they can actually control. Adults with ADHD have the same areas of influence as everyone else. There are three specific areas the adult with ADHD should ADDress: (1) Behavior, (2) Health, and (3) Time. Therefore, the adult with ADHD should ask, “How Can I Control My Behavior?”, “How Can I Control My Health?”, and “How Can I Control My Time?”
Finally, this exercise may quickly overwhelm persons with ADHD and they may feel so paralyzed that they feel like “being proactive” is a dream and not a realistic expectation. However the truth is that they can be proactive! The adult with ADHD is encouraged to understand that being proactive is not a destination, it is a habit developed one day at a time, one moment at a time. For adults with ADHD, when positive reinforcement does not come from within, they are encouraged ask for help starting with friends, family, and significant others. In reality, to ask for help is a proactive task. For the adult with ADHD, your first step may be to ask for help. The second step may be to continue asking and seeking for help until a healthy answer is received. A third step may be to continue seeking until visible changes are seen. For the person who has a significant other who is or may be suffering from adult ADHD, your first step may be one of proactive encouragement.
In summary, regardless of the method of adult ADHD treatment, the first step begins with practicing the habit of being proactive. Keep practicing!
Todd Butler is a husband and father who was himself diagnosed with Adult ADHD a number of years ago. He shares his insights as to what has helped him along the way and what he believes you should be aware of and avoid. His website [http://www.adult-adhd-treatments.com] is a portal that explores a number of adult adhd treatments ranging from traditional treatment plans to alternative and exploratory treatment plans. He encourages his readers with fresh insights and helpful resources from a variety of people to encourage you in the road to wellness.