The ADHD-Friendly Way to Make 2019 Awesome!

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.

Step 1

Pick 3 things that you are proud of that you accomplished in 2018. 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.

Step 2

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.

ADHD Self-Care

Meal planning


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

Time management




Following through on important projects



Keeping it clean

Keeping it organized and clutter free



Earning it



Debt repayment



Social skills

Achieving personal goals

Step 3

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.

What changes are you going to make in 2019? leave a comment below!

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  1. Veena says:

    Dear Jacqui, Thank you very much for this article and its simplicity. I’ll try it and post an update. Wishing you many blessings in 2019. I’m very grateful for all you do for us ADHDers. xxO

  2. Paris says:

    Dear Jacqui,
    I’m a frequent reader and commenter from Massachusetts. Love all of your articles and suggestions! You are kind and understanding. I have never cared about New Year’s Eve or set resolutions but I really like this article (list). It covers all of the items with which I struggle daily. Also, Ron who commented above: your writing is similar to mine! I am a people person too – very comfortable in front of crowds (former teacher to adults) but normalcy is beyond me and no one in my life understands.

  3. Melissa A Bettcher says:

    I love these tips! I have been working on the ADHD Self Care for the last half of 2018 but still have some work to do to get them into a “habit” and so will continue this in 2019. What I would like to do for 2019 is finally get through the back log of unfinished projects and unread books that are pilling up everywhere. I feel like I am drowning in stuff. I am great at the planning and starting of a project(and the buying of materials and tools) but, well as you know with ADHD, the follow through and completion is the tough piece. I am not sure what to do to keep myself excited through all stages of the project so that I can keep going. I have tried setting a reward for when the project is done but unfortunately that does not seem to work as that end date seems so far off. I have looked at setting smaller deadlines but unless someone else sets the deadline then I find I don’t take it seriously. But who can I get to set a deadline to get a craft project done and does it really matter; it’s just a craft project not a leaking pipe or anything? And of course forcing myself to sit down and get it done also does not work. I have had some success using a variation on the Pomodoro Technique but sometimes it is the even getting the motivation to start that I struggle the most with. What is sometimes the most frustrating is that these are projects that I would really like to get accomplished and I do enjoy doing them. Same with the books in my pile to read.

    Anyway that is my big theme for 2019…getting stuff completed!

  4. THANK YOU for this! I have only recently been diagnosed with ADHD and have struggled for YEARS with end-of-year reviews and setting goals. I love that you mention resisting the temptation to change everything. I have some systems that DO work (bagging up veggies to take to work with me every day, having a 4-month erasable wall calendar, setting dozens of alarms on my phone) and I need to keep using those!

  5. Jim says:

    Love it!

  6. ron nats says:

    Thank You very much for all of the is priceless for me. It seems like I have had ADHD all of my life and trying to live a “normal” is very difficult and the people around me do not understand me or some of the things I have tried or currently involved in at the present. I do not conform to the normal life style. I like people very much and not afraid of getting in front of large crowds to speak. I have had over 35 different types of jobs in my life and enjoyed most of them and the people who worked in these jobs. I work at home and miss the interaction of people and in forums, I feel I am lost sometimes in expressing any type of comment but I am striving to overcome these problems as there is so much out there on the internet. I have a tendency to jump around as my writing shows. Again, thank you so much for helping me identifying my ADHD problems.
    Warm Regards

    • Hi Ron
      So happy to hear you are enjoying the blog!!! Trying to be ‘normal’ is exhausting, over rated:) and really stifles your joy in life. Maybe now you know you have ADHD you can embrace your strengths and work with them.
      PS Coffee shops are a great place to work for part of the day!

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