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I don't allow myself to put them anywhere else, not "just for now," not "just this time," not "because I'm busy." No. On the front table. I do not leave them in my jacket pocket. I do not lay them on my desk or on the bureau top. I put them on the table by the front door. Right now. Always. Now that is a strategy that becomes a rule. And the rule helps me make it a habit. And a habit means that I don't have to think about it anymore. If you like, set a personal goal that you can work on as you review this workbook. The best goals are often ways to move towards the things and people that matter to you. It's OK for your goal to change over time, and it may go differently than you expect. As long as you learn something along the way, the process is worth doing. Once you have set a goal, the next step is to create an action plan for how you will get there. Here are two suggestions for how to make an action plan: Picture success Imagine that you've already achieved your goal. Work backwards from the image and list all the steps that got you to that place. BrainstormWrite your goal at the top of a blank sheet of paper and just randomly ask yourself questions about everything you need to know and do in order to achieve your objective. Later, you can organize these random thoughts into an order that makes sense. If you like, use the space below to brainstorm ideas.

Feel free to include images or drawings to help you picture what it would look like if you reached your goal. When you feel tired, stressed and in pain, it is easy to procrastinate--this means putting off doing something about a problem. Unfortunately, many people find that they spend more time and energy by delaying than it would take to just solve the problem. Often the first step is the most difficult, but once you get going it becomes much easier. If you believe that you've lost control of your television viewing, here are some suggestions that may prove helpful: Try not turning your television on the moment you arrive home. list. Allow yourself to experience the feeling of willingly going without television without first looking at the program listings. To the best of my knowledge, no one ever died or became ill from leaving their television off. Think of all the things that you could engage in if you gave up television for one night. list at the ready so you can refer to it to see what tasks you've written down that need do-ing. Become accustomed to working in silence and see how much more you get accomplished. Getting along without television isn't easy, but that doesn't mean you can never watch it again; it just means that you need to learn to be a bit more precious with your free time. Take me for example--while conquering television's former hold on my life, I wrote down a few observations in my feelings journal. Here are a few of them: How did I get so much done last night? No TV--none. Without the television on, time slows down. Doing without television is making peace with myself. You understand that the good stuff that matters are the simple things that took a lifetime to achieve, like raising a child. When I face my fears, it's like walking up to a roaring lion and discovering the lion has no teeth. It's okay to do absolutely nothing and not feel guilty.

To embrace my uniqueness and look at it as a blessing. It's not the stuff in life that matters; what matters are those precious moments with our loved ones. When I am confronted with challenges or problems at work, I look at them as temporary situations that will be solved. I have to create better relationships with my family, friends, and coworkers by empowering open exchanges and demonstrating more appreciation. I understand overbooking myself takes a huge toll on my mind, body, and spirit, so I need to safeguard my calendar. I can let go of the things that are out of my control. Forgiving is not just for the benefit of the other person; forgiving frees my soul. I can recognize my aha moments when they come. I take full responsibility for my happiness and know that I am the only one responsible for it. I am my only competition. I will stop comparing myself with others. It helps to further understand what's going on in your brain. The core components of the brain are neurons; cells that process and transmit information. Neurons are connected to each other by neural pathways and networks. So, when you think or do something new, a new neural pathway is created. Each time you think or behave in that particular way, your brain uses that same neural pathway. The pathway becomes stronger and stronger each time it's used. It's just like walking through a field of long grass - the more often that path is trodden, the more established the path becomes and the more likely it is that you'll take that path. This is hugely beneficial to you because it means that if you do something often enough, it becomes automatic - you don't have to think about it. Think of the things you do on a daily basis that your brain and body are so used to that they don't even have to think about it - walking, talking, eating, brushing your teeth, driving, texting, etc.

However, this same process of neural pathways developing automatic ways of doing and thinking also establishes habits that are not so good for you: smoking, overeating, drinking, negative thinking and so on. If you often interpret events in a negative way, then you create strong negative neural pathways in your brain. Those neural pathways become so established that they also become habits; negative thinking habits that leave little or no room for more positive, helpful ways of thinking. I have a lot of rules, and I'm grateful for them, because my life is so much easier now. So that rule about the keys is a strategy, which was made into a rule, which became a habit. But to be honest, occasionally this has to work as a rule again. If I hear myself saying, "Oh, it will be alright just this once," my rule says, "Oh, no, it won't." That not only saves me trouble that one time, but it keeps the habit strong. It took a while to make that a habit. I slipped up a number of times, but I kept at it and it did become a habit. Now I don't have to think about it, I don't have to remember it, I just do it. Keys on table. The truth is, I lose my keys still, but maybe twice a year instead of three times a week, and even that's getting better. When we have ADD, we're trying to live daily life with at least one hand tied behind our back. Our life will be harder than it has to be. We can use strategies and tools to make our life better. That is my hope for you. Even small changes can make a big difference. I told you how one small change, a rule about my keys, made a significant difference in my life. I want to tip you off in advance; there's a lot of information here and some readers have said they found it overwhelming. Just take it easy, see what clicks for you: "Oh, I know about that!" or "Hey, that makes sense; maybe I could try that." Pick one or two things you want to work on.

It will take time to master them. Then pick another. It's taken me well over fifty years to create the strategies I use and to make the habits I need, and I'm still working on it, as you will see. I've mostly written in the first person, "I," because I thought that would make it more interesting, and maybe less threatening. You can say, "Oh, that poor devil. Thank God I'm not like him" (like many alcoholics say at their first AA meeting). And the "I" stories might be more likely to turn your focus center on. That's the place in our brain where our problem lives, in our hardwiring, which causes us to have trouble focusing. It can also be called the "attention center." I also use "we", because we're in the same boat, and "we" might make it easier for you to pick up the similarities. But I also like the "you" approach, because I'm addressing you and hoping you will get the ideas. But then people with ADD, like me and maybe like you, don't necessarily like having our problems and flaws pointed out to us, and don't like being told what we "should" do. So I lean towards the "I" mode, hoping you'll catch the points that apply to you or the strategies that will be useful to you. But I did some of each, and probably not in any organized fashion. This could be an example of my difficulty making decisions, which we who have ADD often have. Don't you? Confront your reasonsEach time you put off doing the unpleasant task, ask yourself: "Why am I putting this off? Will I want to do this tomorrow? Is what I am doing instead really more important?" Weigh the costsWrite down the costs of doing the task; then compare them to the costs of not doing it. For example: doing taxes may take time and energy, and be boring; however, not doing taxes may result in fines, an audit, or lost income. Suddenly doing the taxes may not look so bad!