Do Your Thoughts Stop You Taking Action?

Are you constantly second guessing yourself? Do you question your ability to do a task even though other people know you are capable of it? This happens to so many people with ADHD. It results in procrastination, feelings of resistance and ambiguity, anxiety, guilt and emotional torment. It’s a classic case of getting in your own way.

If this happens to you, the long term goal is to increase your self-esteem. Then, you will believe in yourself and the resistance will disperse. In the meantime, here are 5 things you can do right now to start taking action and meet your deadlines.

1) Cardio

Do cardio exercise first thing in the morning for 20-30 minutes. This helps to burn your excess energy. Energy is good, but excess energy isn’t. When you have excess energy, you have to force your body to sit still, but the energy is still there, so it moves to the place where it can be busy…your mind. This sounds good; however, an overactive mind isn’t a productive mind. It conjures up all sorts of unhelpful thoughts that lead you to question your ability and worth.

Cardio helps all that. The excess energy is burned and you can focus and concentrate.

2) Journal

Every day after your exercise, write down everything that is spinning around in your head: your insecurities, things to do, everything and anything. No one will ever read what you wrote, including you (although you could if you wanted to). The idea isn’t to write prizing-winning work, it’s to clear your head of its mental chatter, so you can start concentrating on the project in hand.

It also acts as a great transitional activity into the task you are feeling resistance towards.

3) Have a Mantra

When your brain is busy telling you all the reasons why you aren’t good at something, it’s handy to have a positive mantra that is calming and soothing to you. Our brains can only hold one thought at once, so a mantra helps you replace the negative with a positive. A mantra I use is, ‘I am doing really well.’ Use that until you think of your own.

4) Believe in YOU!

Even though you don’t believe in yourself at the moment, there are people who do. That is why you were hired for the job, got accepted to graduate school, etc. Whatever the scenario, someone, somewhere believed you were capable. Use their belief in you as validation in you until you start to believe in yourself.

5) Focus On the Facts

Emotions skew reality. It’s not the facts about the situation that are upsetting you, it’s the stories you tell yourself and the emotions around those stories. If you start to feel negative emotions, stop and remind yourself of the actual facts. List the facts and watch how freeing that is as your doubts disappears.

What thoughts get in the way of you completing a task?


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  1. Thanks Jacqueline, great little reminder. Are you on any of the socials? I was looking around your website hoping for a link so I can follow you (I don’t like emails).

  2. Lee-Ann says:

    Today was a day I felt angry and down. I had to try and find something on the intranet to help me change my mood and I found this. This is the first time I have ever written on one of these. I just feel I need help so badly recently as I have been this way far to long and I am starting to feel so drained. I just need to talk to people who do not judge me and have similar feelings. 🙂

    • Hi Lee-Ann, Sorry you are having a bad day. But happy you found us! The blog posts have practical ideas in them, and the comments are from readers like you, sharing their experiences and what works for them. I think you will find both helpful and comforting.

    • GP says:

      Hey Lee-Ann…I know how you feel, I am 57 and only found out I have ADHD 5 months ago. My Mother said I had ADD my whole life, but back then nobody did anything about it…we just dealt with it. Finding out had its good and its bad..the bad realizing all the mistakes I had made over the last 30 plus years, that somehow could have been avoided. Every morning, one of the first things I do, is watch or read something that hits my emotions, in most cases brings me to tears, some I have watched many times. They remind me that everyone has there challenges, nobody is perfect, and we each and everyday need to learn and strive to be better.

  3. Gregory says:

    I am new here, 56 and just found out 4 months ago…the hyper focus gets me all the time. I think the cardio, will help, I walk a lot(about 20 miles a week) and I find I do great thinking then, and it seems to clear my head after a quick 2-3 mile walk. My biggest thing is my memory, I am finding apps and things that help me remember. I wish I had know about ADHD 30 plus years ago…

  4. Jacque M says:

    I am DEFINITELY a journaler, but I’m apprehensive of the idea of writing down everything spinning in my mind. Sometimes I find that it perpetuates the spinning. Instead of getting “it” all out, my brain keeps looking for more and more of “it” in a hyperfocus-ish kind of way. Does that happen to anyone else? Is there a work-around to make this journaling idea successful for me? I’d like to try it, if so!

    • LD Focus says:

      Give yourself a time limit for journaling. Shortly before the limit, stop looking for ideas and roughly prioritize the ones you came up with – maybe just giving them an A, B, or C level for each one.

  5. Javier says:

    Hi Jacqueline,
    Many thanks for this one. It comes exactly in the right moment for me…!
    That has happened to me several times by the way. To the point that I once told my wife, know what? I think Jacquie can read my mind! XD XD
    I’m always happy to receive your posts because they are so great… but also because they get in on Fridays!!
    Warm regards

  6. Ooh, these are good! Just being reminded it’s my EMOTIONS that get in the way is helpful to identify. I’ve already got my mantra on my computer. Thanks for always nailing it, Jacqui.

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