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Does My ADHD Stop Me From Making Decisions?

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

Have you ever remained in an indecisive state for days, months even years? Unable to feel sure about any option on the table, humming and hawing about the pros and cons and swaying back and forth about what to do?

I´m guessing that most of us including me can relate to this. Perhaps we are just not convinced either way and nothing feels right, or perhaps fear is holding us back from making a decision. More often than not making a decision means change and change means stepping out of our comfort zone and taking risks.

This may be especially true for young people and adults with ADHD. The decision - making process is linked to our executive functions which control planning, organizing, prioritizing and self- regulation. When you have ADHD , executive functions may not work the same as people who don't have ADHD and this explains why making decisions whether big or small may be challenging at times.

However, life is about growth not about standing still and growth happens when we make decisions! Maybe it is about moving to a new house or a new job, changing careers, or dealing with a conflict at work. There are countless scenarios that are unique for every one of us. It may be small decisions like which stuff to keep or which stuff to throw away, or where to go this weekend.

But wouldn’t it feel so wonderful and empowering to actually make the decision and release the weight of feeling constantly indecisive?. Wouldn’t it feel like you had more control of your future rather than just drifting along? I think you know the answer!

So what’s the best way to finally make that decision? Here are some suggestions that are worth trying whether you are making big or small decisions.

Explore the emotions behind the decision :Think about what scares you about making the decision or explore any other emotions that come up. Once you overcome any fears or other negative emotions lurking around then making the decision will be easier.

Categorize your decisions : Put the different decisions you have to make into categories. Are they big or small? What are the consequences of each decision? Will it be important 5 years from now. Placing decisions into categories makes it easier to actually take action on the easier ones and then move on to decisions which need some time to figure out and process.

Set a time limit for each decision : One of the easiest things to do to avoid making decisions is to procrastinate! We have all been there!. Once you have sorted your decisions into categories set a time limit for each decision. Then add these times or dates to your phone and set a reminder or an alarm.

Write about it: Write out the scenario and your choices. Write out the pros and cons of each decision but more importantly write down how you feel about both options. How does it feel in your body when you imagine yourself taking Decision A or Decision B? Do you feel relief or excitement, or do you feel a knot in your stomach? Remember that making no decision is also a choice, so evaluate how you feel about not making any decision as well!

Talk about it: Share your thoughts on the decision you are considering with a trusted supportive friend. Perhaps even two trusted supportive friends. Be careful that you choose someone who will not be overly critical or negative. He or she needs to be a good listener and hopefully give you helpful advice. Sometimes, just having someone listen to you helps you clear your head and figure out what you want to do.

Visualize it: Ask yourself how you visualize your life one year from now or five years from now. What do you want your life to look like? Imagine in detail what your best life looks like to help you make the best decision now.

Research it: Make an informed decision based on finding out as much as you can. Talk to experts, google information, read articles. The more information you have the more informed you will be which will make decision making just a little bit easier!

Change your mindset :Change your mindset by giving yourself credit for the decisions you do make every day! This will increase your confidence to make bigger more important decisions and avoid falling into the procrastination trap.

Come to a decision and stick to it: Finally when you do make a decision feel confident that you are making the best choice available to you in this moment. Then start taking action steps to move forward.

If you are an adult or young person with ADHD, you most probably relate to the challenges of making decisions. Knowing that your brain works differently and becoming aware of how the ADHD brain works is the first step in feeling confident and moving forwards. By applying some of the strategies above, you will feel more in control and more empowered to take action on the decisions we all have to make whether big or small!

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