Six Stages of Change – Part 3
In the article Understanding and Managing Your ADD: Change Can Happen…., I introduced the Six Stages of Change. I explored this model further in the article Managing Your ADD Takes Time and Planning. If you have not already, I suggest reading both of these before continuing.
Stage 5 – Maintenance
When you reach the Maintenance Stage, you have already put a great deal of emotional and mental energy into making the commitment to managing your ADD and have also put a plan into action.
So, you are likely feeling pretty spent! Even if you had more energy, you may question doing more.
“What more could I possibly need to do? I put the ‘pedal to the metal’; my plan is in action.”
Yet, it is during the Maintenance Stage that your commitment to managing your ADD many get challenged. It is during this stage that you are trying to hold onto new habits and keep from sliding back into the old habits that hindered you. The temptations are great to revert back to your old ways of operating.
The lures of the old ways may be especially enticing when you find that the plan that worked last week does not work this week. You start to feel like you are spinning your wheels and your motivation to keep going forward may slip.
I hope you don’t give up when you start to feel this way. Rather, I hope you reach out for help.
Expecting the Unexpected
In the process of learning how to manage your ADD, you will inevitably encounter bumps in the road that you may or may not have been able to anticipate. [pullquote] Things do not change; we change. ~Henry David Thoreau [/pullquote]
For example, you may already know that your partner has different expectations for how you manage your ADD. But you may not know about an upcoming change at work or home that will make it challenging to follow through on your original plans.
The first key to staying on track is to anticipate possible roadblocks whenever possible and to accept that things will come up out of the blue.
The second key to continuing to manage your ADD and not get completely derailed is to have a plan in place to address the occasional detours as they arise.
Plan for The Unexpected
A weekly review of your progress and maintenance efforts will help you to stay the course and counter the pull of immediate gratification. During these review sessions, you can ask yourself:
What are my values? Am I operating in accordance with my values?
What are my commitments? Am I honoring those commitments?
What strategies am I using that are working?
What strategies are not working as well as I would like? Do I need to tweak them or change them altogether?
If my plan is not working, what is possible?
Do I need professional support?
It may also be helpful to seek out help from someone who is supportive and familiar with your aspirations to help you review your intentions and your progress. This could be a friend, family member or coach. An “outside mirror” can be helpful, as sometimes we are too close to objectively evaluate our progress.
Home Stretch – Stage 6
In the last stage, the Termination Stage, you have no temptation to fall back on your old ways of operating.
With respect to managing your ADD, you will have adopted some habits that are so entrenched that it is like breathing. You just do them, without much thought. You have reached the Termination Stage for these habits.
But you may find that other habits require lifelong Maintenance. Knowing and accepting this can help you to continue to stay the course, despite the occasional relapse.
Now it is time to assess your commitment to change with respect to managing your ADD. Then, with respect to the individual changes you are committed to making, decide what you need to do, including seeking out support, to keep moving forward.