How to End Self-Sabotage When You Have ADHD

roller coaster-Flickr-SkotLindstedtPhoto credit: Skot Lindstedt

If you have ADHD, then you probably also like excitement. Excitement can come in many ways, from positive experiences, negative things, and also little things you might not even associate with excitement.

Positive excitement can come from:

  • Trying new things, like visiting a new city
  • Romance, nothing is more exciting than the first heady weeks of a romance
  • Adrenaline activities, like a roller coaster ride or sky diving

Excitement can also come in the not-so-positive forms:

  • Trying new things, like your 3rd new job in a year
  • Romance, extra marital affairs
  • Adrenaline activities, like speed driving

There are also much more subtle things that you probably don’t associate with excitement, for example:

1) Multi tasking, such as having 100 windows open on your computer, jumping from one task to another without spending more than a few minutes on each.

2) Packing your schedule so full that you are racing through every single day.

3) Over promising, telling clients that you can have a project done by tomorrow, when in reality it would take days. The only way to fulfil that commitment is to pull an all nighter.

When clients start working with me and Marcia, we help them to shift this behaviour. We help them to plan their day so it is balanced, productive, and even relaxed. They are  working on activities that impress their clients and move their business forward.

Our clients feel relief to be leaving the craziness behind. They are less stressed, sleeping better, no more panic.

But when this new way of operating loses its novelty, do you know what happens? Boredom sets in. It’s boring to not have a crazy deadline and feel like superman when you pull it off. It’s boring to go to bed every night and not get that high from seeing the sun rise with blurry eyes.

This is the danger zone

What can happen (without you really knowing why), is all these good habits and systems can go out of the window and the old behaviour returns. It might happen over night or seep back gradually. But soon only those ‘exciting’ habits are back.

Are you recognizing yourself? If so, don’t worry! Being warned is being forearmed!

When you start to change your behaviour you will feel relief at first. Then proud that you are making and sticking with these changes. You might then start to feel a bit bored. That is ok!!

ADHDers fear boredom like other people fear a fatal disease. They will do anything to prevent it. However, boredom for a short time in your life is good. Sit with it. Boredom is a sign good things are happening. Rather than slip back to your default behaviours, why not do some life design? Think how you could inject some of the fun and positive excitement in your life. You can visit your local roller coaster, or book a trip to a new city. Because you have new habits, you will have the time, and almost certainly more money.

Get creative. Make positive excitement part of your weekly life.

Jacqui Sinfield is an ADHD Coach and author. You can find more from her at


  1. Thank you for your awesome, understanding and practical advice. I am an ADHD mom struggling daily to keep myself and my 3 kids on task with our crazy school and activities schedule. My husband is smart enough to do his own thing!

    You blogs help me to first understand that I am not the only one making things harder than they have to be and then they give me insight on how to keep trying to simplify my daily deluge of events and to not feel guilty when I fail. I have learned to appreciate the smaller changes ( although huge for me ) that I have been able to make and be consistent with and not beat myself up as much about my multiple unsuccessful attempts at other things.

    I have finally realized that even though we ADHDers are always onto the next thing, we never really stop “trying”.

    • Hi Karin! thanks for your lovely comment. We are so happy you found our blog and are enjoying the posts.
      Great job in making those small but important changes! And for not feeling guilty when things don’t work out. Not feeling guilty is HUGE!!!

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