When I was little and still trying to work out the concept of time, the days between Christmas and New Year were a bit of a puzzle to me. We had advent calendars that helped us to count down to the 25th. I knew that the 1st was a big deal because it was New Year’s Day. However, the days in between seemed to be floating days. No school, so no weekends to mark the usual passage of time. There was just a lot of time to play with new toys, eat mince pies and Christmas cake and see relatives that I didn’t see very often.
Now those days between Christmas and the New Year have taken on a whole different meaning. They are the perfect break from the normal routine to relax and consider the year that just whizzed by and plan for the brand new one.
When you have ADHD, hitting the pause button to reflect might not happen automatically, which is why this holiday in-between time is helpful to facilitate reflection and planning.
There are some very elaborate ways to plan your year. This one is simple, doesn’t take very long and yet is a super powerful way to design your life.
Pick 3 things that you are proud of that you accomplished in 2016. By all means pick lots more than 3 if you can, but if you freeze and your mind goes blank, rather than skip this section, simply pick 3.
Remembering what went well is a great mental place to start your planning. It creates a sense of success, and ‘can do’, which is a perfect mindset as you are entering a brand new year.
For each area of your life, ask yourself 2 questions.
“What is working?” and ‘What isn’t working?”
What is Working?
If something is working keep doing it! This is very important. It can be so tempting to make changes; however, if you have found something that is helpful in your life, why change it?
Here is a very simple example from my life where I changed something that was working. Each year, for as long as I can remember, I get a wall calendar with a picture for each month of the year and a space to write next to the date. Part of my end of year ritual is to write all my family’s and friends’ birthdays in a new calendar. The calendar hangs in the kitchen where I see it many times a day. That constant visual reminder means that I never forget to send anyone a birthday card.
One year, I tried a new system. Instead of a wall calendar, I created a birthday binder. The idea was that if people’s birthday were written down in an ever green calendar in the binder I wouldn’t need to update it every year. Plus I could keep their birthday cards in the binder so everything would be in one place. Sounds good in theory; however, it wasn’t in practice. I forgot so many birthdays that year, which didn’t make me feel good!
It is great to try new things, but why not try to save your energy for trying new strategies for the parts of your life that aren’t working first.
What is not working?
This is where you get to use your creative ADHD mind to think of ways to change what is not working in your life. For example, if you hate your commute to work, what could you do to change it? Maybe you could work flex-time to miss the rush hour, ask to work from home a few days a week, listen to audiobooks in the car or read books on the train.
Use the list below as a guide to go through every area of your life. Feel free to delete or add to the list to make it relevant to your life.
Write down your ideas and realizations in a note pad or Word document.
Omega 3, vitamin D
How and when you spend time with the people you love
How and when you keep in touch with friends and family
Travel / commute
Following through on important projects
Keeping it clean
Keeping it organized and clutter free
Achieving personal goals
Now that you have all of these ideas, set a time every week to have a weekly review. This is to help implement and maintain these changes.
Happy New Year!