Too often I see adults with ADHD who believe that the primary way of reaching their goals is to try harder and exert more willpower.
After all, if you are one of the many adults with ADHD who was diagnosed later in life, you may have a history of being told that you just need to try harder. So, over time you may have come to internalize this belief.
If this is true for you, what if you could design your environment to support you in reaching your goals while exerting less effort?
Sure working hard is an important part of reaching your goals. But eventually you will reach your capacity and redoubling your efforts may not yield the results you want. In fact, it may only lead to more frustration.
Thomas Leonard’s model, The 9 Environments of You, shown above illustrates the domains you could choose to upgrade to more effectively reach your goals.
Memetic Environment – Ideas
Memetics is your ideas or beliefs. While we have certain core beliefs that serve us, we may also have unconsciously chosen beliefs that do not serve us, Do You Know What Your ADHD Scripts Are?
Notice in the model that memetics touches every other area because our beliefs and ideas impact the way we design the rest of our life. Everything gets filtered through our ideas. What happens when you believe and say the following?
- “I just can’t get organized.”
- “I’m not good at…”
- “I’m not the exercising type.”
You likely get what you believe.
However, you can choose to “upgrade” your belief system so that it is more in alignment with what you want in your life. You can do this on your own by using affirmations or creating vision boards, for example. But, if you remain stuck, you may want to work with a therapist or coach (ADHD Support: Therapists and ADHD Coaches) to explore and design a more helpful belief system.
Financial Environment – Money, Wealth and Budget
Finances are about the support, systems, and structures you have in place, like advisors, retirement accounts, insurance, etc.
Have you designed your finances to support your goals?
For many adults with ADHD, finances is an area that does not get enough attention. If this is true for you, you may end up repeating the same pattern again and again causing a great deal of stress.
It may be that your memetics or beliefs, rather than your resources, have the greatest impact on how you deal with your finances.
- “I’m not good with money.”
- “It is too complicated.”
- “I don’t know how to get a handle on my finances.”
Get the right team (advisor, coach, accountant, etc.) in place to support you, and you will be able to figure out what you need to do to move forward.
Relationship Environment – Close Friends, Family and Close Colleagues
Who are the people in your circle?
As is often said, “you are who you associate with.” That is, we become a mirror of the people that we surround ourselves with. What do you see in the mirror? Are the people closest to you a reflection of who you want to be?
As I noted in an earlier article, ADHD and Friendships: Are You Tending To Yours?, Dr. Edward Hallowell maintains that for adults with ADHD connections with others are critical to our well-being. It is so important that “making sure you keep up regular contact with a few good friends” is included on his list as one of the seven habits of highly effective adults with ADD.
Do you need to make any changes so that you are connecting on a more regular basis with people who inspire and energize you?
Network Environment – Professional Connections, Greater Community
Do you have a network in your personal and professional life, outside of your close friends and family, that supports you?
Like in your personal life, there is synergy when you connect with people who have similar goals as you. What impact is your network having on you? Some networks are:
- professional associations
- master mind groups
- social groups
- accountability partners
The two questions to ask yourself are:
- Is your network providing value to you?
- Are you providing value to your network?
If you answered “no” to these questions or you do not have a network, where can you find people who will inspire you to reach your goals?
Physical Environment – Places and Things
Your Physical Environment is anything that is tangible, such as your home, office and possessions.
- How do you feel in your physical environment?
- Do they inspire and energize you or deplete your energy?
For example, clutter, especially for adults with ADHD, creates confusion. Clutter also may be an indicator of things being off in other environments, like relationships or financial. Cutting down on clutter, ADHD and Clutter: There Is Help, is one way to upgrade your physical environment.
How do you need to upgrade or change your physical environment to inspire and support you?
Body Environment – Your Energy, Appearance and Clothing
Your body, both your inside and outside, is something that you can design to support and inspire you. Are you healthy, strong and flexible in your body?
Specifically, are you:
- getting enough sleep?
- eating well?
- getting the right kind and amount of exercise?
A healthy body contributes to your overall happiness and well-being, as well as helps you to manage your ADHD.
What would you like to do to upgrade how you treat your body?
Self Environment – Strengths, Talents and Character
Do you know your strengths, talents and character? Once you discover these attributes you can create your environment to work with who you are.
The VIA Inventory of Strengths, StrengthsFinder, DiSC, MBTI and Kolbe A Index are just a few of the assessments that may help you on your journey of self-discovery. Of course, working with a therapist or coach can also help.
When you work with who you are, including your ADHD, you will struggle less because you will stop trying to always fit into the rest of the world. You will operate with greater ease, more confidence and less internal conflict.
What step can you take to operate more in alignment with your strengths, talents and character?
Spiritual Environment – Deep Connections and Sacred Spaces
Are you connected with something that is beyond what you can see, touch and even really “know”?
Having a spiritual foundation, whether it be from nature, religion, meditation or some other source can nourish and energize you. This may include a belief in a higher power or not.
What spiritual practices would you like to adopt to add more love, gratitude and other positive energies to your life?
Nature Environment – The Great Outdoors
While being out in nature is fun for many, it is also a time to step out of your normal routine and gain new insights and perspectives.
Anecdotal evidence suggest that being out in nature can provide adults with ADHD with:
- time to slow down away from all the distractions of your day to day activities.
- a break from the need to be so attentive.
- renewed energy to focus upon your return.
- an opportunity to clear the clutter from your mind.
Where can you find some green space near you?
ADDed Perspectives Bottom Line
You really do have that much control over creating your future by designing your environment to support you.
Not ready to do it on your own? Contact me and we can discuss how I can help you.