Breakthrough Solutions

for Attention Deficit Disorder Adults

Bonnie Mincu

Senior Certified ADHD Coach

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Why New Years resolutions fail for ADD / ADHD

Broken that resolution already?  You're not alone!

I don't make New Year's resolutions, since I've learned long ago that I don't keep them.  They've always seemed to me to simply be exercises in wishful thinking.  Here are three specific reasons why New Year's resolutions can be particularly useless to people with ADD / ADHD.

Reason #1: 
We feel a false sense of motivation with the new year.

It’s important to feel interested to be motivated, so we need that adrenaline of excitement.  But, we mistake the excitement of  a “new beginning” with actual interest of doing the thing that we resolved to do.    So if we try to go about it in the same old way, you’re not going to have more success once the newness wears off.

Gyms and sports clubs make most of their money in January for exactly that reason.  Everyone flocks to the join the gym for the New Year’s resolution to lose weight and exercise.  But soon afterwards, the interest and motivation dies down.   Most people who join a gym in January don’t last even 3 months.

Reason #2:
We mistake thinking about it for actually doing it.

How many times have you thought through in great detail what you were going to do, maybe even prepared for it, got all the way up to the actual doing… and then forgot all about it and moved on to something else?

When that happens, your mind may feel like it’s actually accomplished the goal.   You feel virtuous for having made the resolution, so it doesn’t feel as compelling anymore to actually follow through on it.    This is one reason why people with ADD tend to score low on follow-through.

Reason #3:
We haven’t learned HOW to keep the resolution.

I'm not referring to the obvious strategy.   Of course, you know that to lose weight, you have to eat less and/or exercise more.  I’m talking about the strategy underneath, the one that’s most important to people with ADD.  It’s the “How do I get myself to do it” strategy.  How to get yourself to stick to a food plan or go to the gym.  That’s the one that matters.  Because it’s that part that sabotages us every time.

Let’s say you’ve been late turning in work assignments and you’ve been warned about it.   So you make a resolution to get your assignments in on time.   You know the reason you’re late with projects; it’s because you put off doing them until the last minute.  And then they take much longer than you think they will to do.

But you may NOT know how to get yourself to start doing them sooner, or HOW to plan out and anticipate each step so that it will run smoothly.   Or how to get what you need from other people without getting blindsided with surprises.  So simply making a resolution to turn in work on time isn’t going to help.

The thing is, once you know how to get yourself to do things, you won’t need the false motivation of a new year’s resolution to move forward.  You’ll be in control of your own tendencies, and you be able to create personal strategies to actually work with the flow of your own best way of working.

What's the alternative to false resolutions?  Learning HOW to succeed, with confidence that you CAN!

Learn how to be your best self all year round…

A step-by-step system for ADHD self mastery

Author: Bonnie Mincu
Senior Certified ADHD Coach, Founder of "Thrive with ADD," Bonnie has been coaching adults with ADD / ADHD traits since 2001. She has developed numerous training programs to help with the challenges of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.


    Barbara Harrington

    This is probably not the Best question to ask considering the topic of this forum; it may reveal More about me than I’d like. I would like to order this workshop, however, I’d like to know if it is something TOTALLY New or has it ever been offered before? I don’t want to duplicate something I already may have. This in no way indicates I’ve Previously purchased any merchandise and have YET to “WATCH” or “OPEN THE BOX”. Barbara~

    Bonnie Mincu

    Barbara: I’m laughing as I write this. Because it DOES indicate a couple of common ADD / ADHD qualities that I see a lot.
    1) Buying things and then not opening them (I do this too!)
    2) Wanting something to be “new.” (If you haven’t used or seen the old, what difference does “new” make?)

    Seriously though, of course you don’t want to buy the same thing over and over again.

    This is the first time I’ve put so many of the strategies and tools that I’ve taught over many courses into one package. Many of the concepts have been mentioned in previous classes, but there hasn’t been a chance to go in depth over 12 weeks into actually working with you as you IMPLEMENT them. That’s the key here — the IMPLEMENTATION. That’s why this course is spread out, with the class modules only every other week, interspersed with live Q&A, coaching, and WORK IT sessions. Plus the private Community Forum has been very helpful for people to share and learn from each other.

    Please don’t buy this program without deciding to take the time to DO it. If you can, attending the sessions “live” might make it more real for you. Or, if you will be listening to the replays, set aside a regular time in your calendar to do that so it will feel as if you’re attending live. I hope you do join us!

    Inspired Ann

    I was at a point (day to day) where I was quickly able to set up some mind maps, + create a list of things to do (with the smallest detail and pre-work written out logically). Then I found that the support system around me just does not know what I am doing.

    Support system being husband + closest friends/family.

    It is hard enough to get into flow with the boring stuff. There is just so much of it too! There is laundry, pet care, home maintenance, food shopping/preparation. There is a master bill paying book to be set up for 2013. There are projections to be set up and detailed. The large home projects need to be acknowledged by family and broken down into more manageable stages.

    There are people in the home that pretend that all things happen by accident! Why can’t they say they know that many things happen on purpose? If I could pull my hair out, I would look sort of patchy right now. Jokes aside, the frustration of stuff (then sensibilities of Bonnie) have me wanting to suggest that Bonnie use the artwork “The Scream” as the “before” image to represent many of her clients!

    Tonight I happened to be sending myself an email reminder when Bonnie’s latest email popped up.
    The program will certainly bring great answers and is very timely!

    Some days I also play the audio of Bonnie’s past recorded materials just to hear that vote of confidence that “we can make so much more happen!”

    Timing is everything.

    Thanks again Bonnie!

    Bonnie Mincu

    Ann, I love that you’re “inspired!” Alas, it’s probably the case for most homemakers/parents that their “support system” doesn’t realize what they’re doing. Until they have to stay home and do it themselves.

    You hit it right on the head about things having to happen on purpose. With ADD / ADHD, that INTENTIONAL “on purpose” planning is critical to things getting done smoothly. I look forward to having you in the Productivity Engine course! (

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Bonnie, there are no words to express how deeply I’ve been affected by your blog! I’ve only read a few things, but they have created such a complete mind shift that the tears shed have washed away my struggles forever!

For the first time in my life I feel understood and hopeful that I can put some tools and systems in place to help me overcome!”

—Michelle near Seattle

Clear Clutter Now


Find out what's REALLY stopping you with free "Procrastination Tree" Tool for Adult ADD / ADHD.