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Last week, I wrote about various things you can do to spice up your life a bit. But what good is starting something new if you don’t know how to start something new and stick with it?
As someone with ADHD, I know full well that starting something new can be fun, but the motivation to stick with it can easily fizzle out once the Newness wears off. This isn’t something unique to ADHD, of course, but it’s a lot stronger in people with ADHD.
Whether you’re neurodivergent or not, if you’re looking to start new things and not abandon them a week later, here are some tips for sticking with it!
Starting Something New: Know Your Why
When starting something new, if you don’t have a reason to stick with it, you’re unlikely to get very far with it.
What is it that made you want to start something new?
Are you passionate about the subject? Curious?
Are you doing it for you? For someone else’s sake?
Is it necessary in order to meet your needs, or wants?
Is it just for fun?
Once you know your why, you can set clear goals to keep you motivated to stick with your new habit, hobby, or goal.
Starting Something New: Set Clear Goals
Alright, so what is your goal with this new thing you’re doing?
For instance, if you’re learning guitar, is it just to play a favorite song of yours, or do you want to become a professional guitarist? What steps do you need to take to get to where you want to be?
If you’re diving into a long-term project, what are the checkpoints you can track in order to keep yourself motivated when you see your progress?
For example, if your new thing is to start making and selling paintings, your steps might be:
- Buy painting supplies
- Take an art class (or watch tutorials on your own)
- Brainstorm 5-10 different projects
- Sketch the first design you want to work on
- Paint it, and make adjustments if necessary
- Get started on the next project
- Get an Etsy shop set up, or find a local gallery to sell your art in
- Promote your work
- Repeat process
You can refine your goals as you come to understand them better. For instance, with the painting example above, maybe you’d also like to do some collaborative works with other artists, or to work with models, and so you’d add that to your list of things to do.
Your list of goals may also include milestones, where you can celebrate each level of success you reach. For instance, selling your first painting, then selling 10 paintings, then 50, and so on.
Setting clear goals is a good way to stay motivated as you watch yourself pass certain checkpoints.
Sticking With It: Pace Yourself
An easy way to burn yourself out on starting something new is to set an unrealistic pace.
Diving all in to your new interest or goal may be tempting when you’re full of fresh passion. But it can lead to overwhelm, and lack of desire to do it again, especially after that initial excitement wears off.
Set a reasonable pace for yourself.
How much time do you have available?
How much time do you want to spend on this new thing?
Work your new habit, hobby, or goal into your schedule, in a way that keeps you consistent but doesn’t overwhelm you.
Personal Example: With my goal of learning all I can about Welsh history, I’ve put it into my weekly schedule to read about one era of Welsh history every Sunday evening.
This way I don’t get overwhelmed with all there is to learn, and I don’t get burnt out from reading too much.
Sticking With It: Surround Yourself With Cheerleaders
Sometimes, the encouragement of others can help us stay motivated to stick with a new habit, hobby, or personal goal, even when we start to doubt ourselves or get worn out.
Telling someone about this new thing you’re doing can help you hold yourself accountable to your own priorities.
You can even ask a friend or family member to check in with you periodically, to ask how you’re doing with your new goals and encourage you to keep at it.
Note: Be sure you trust this person!
Some people might actually take the opportunity to discourage you, due to their own insecurities.
Make sure that the people you tell about your new habit, hobby, or goal are here to support you, not tear you down.
You can also join an online group full of people with similar goals, where you can share your excitement, questions, struggles, and encourage each other on your journeys!
If you’d like to keep your goals entirely to yourself, you can still find encouragement by following motivational accounts on social media.
Find inspiration and motivation wherever you can, to help you stick with it!
Know When to Let Go
Sometimes we try new things, and we just don’t want to stick with them!
Or maybe circumstances arise that make it so we can’t reasonably continue.
Either way, that’s okay! You’ve gotta know when to move on.
There’s no shame in moving on from something that’s no longer serving you. After all, this life is yours and yours alone – you best be living for yourself!
If your new habit, hobby, or goal just isn’t working out, and you find yourself dreading spending time on it rather than being excited or dedicated, then let it go!
Of course, there will always be times when we’re tired, we’re stressed, or we have trouble focusing. Sometimes there are temporary blocks in our goals.
It’s up to you to determine if that temporary block has become more permanent, and whether or not it’s time to move on in that case.
Follow Your Intuition
At the end of the day, it’s all about living by your design.
Do what you love, try new things to discover what you love, and make adjustments along the way!
Is the thing you’re starting a creative venture? If so, you might find some inspiration in these affirmations for artists!
What new things are you thinking about trying? Do you have your own tips for people starting something new?
Share your thoughts & experiences in the comments below! ⬇️⬇️⬇️