Issues with sticking to schedule, intentions, motivation, commitment (help!) reposted :)

Hello brains, it’s me

I wasn’t sure whether or not to post this in Toolbox or Support so I just posted it in both, I tried to format it as best as I could, hope it makes it a bit easier for some of you to read it, and more followable. Thank you for reading as well.

Intro
I have a bit of a complex issue, that I’ve really always had my whole life but it needs to stop soon, but still having issues with getting better habits relating to this issue.

I know tons of coping strategies and information, but still have trouble with sticking to schedules, even if I’m the one who created the schedule. Any advice or information is welcomed as always.

I will be going through a cold turkey tolerance break as well, for about a week, and this also noticeably makes this issue more pronounced.

I have a lot of commitment issues and issues with doing what I intend to do. I’ve quit a lot of things, and a lot of the time when I intend to do something, reality if far off of what my initial intentions were. i.e if I have a project coming up in school for something, I might instantly plan to do something, how i’m going to do my outline, the research im going to do, some of my sources maybe, but either I forget about it until the day after its due, the process feels to mentally daunting and arduous, or I just either lose track of time or outright forget about it or steps.

I am aware part of the issue of not being able to do what I intend to do, is part of ADHD having trouble with intrinsic motivation, that being said I struggle greatly with also sticking to my own rules.

Moderation issues
I also lack any faucet of being able to regulate just about anything in moderation, sometimes if I force myself to do something, I end up forcing myself to be productive to a point where it’s negatively consequential, which ends up a lot of the time, making my returns more unproductive than productive; an example of this, is sometimes through out the school year, believe it or not, I had issues with deadlines, I know, surprising isn’t it? This sometimes would cause a surplus of stuff that’s late and more pressure to do it, this would sometimes cause me to get overwhelmed and anxious, feeding procrastination, but sometimes in this deep whole I would get pissed off at myself, Force myself to do incredible amounts of work whether unmedicated or medicated, but end up in doing some, draining myself, by subjecting myself to very unhealthy behaviors, such as long periods of sleep deprivation to do work, long periods of not eating or drinking, dehydration, sometimes lack of hygiene, lack of any stress relief, etc. And i’ve done that cycle even before I was medicated, so I see how some of the effects could seem drug-induced, like forgetting to eat and such, but it’s more so I’ll get so pissed off at myself, I forget that you need to eat to live, and just kinda keep going not realising it for a long periods of time, and I’ve done this before I was diagnosed or treated, so It’s not just a medication effect, because I did it before meds.

Moderation issues pt.2
This lack of being able to do anything in moderation also is expressed in the other side of the spectrum, doing leisure activities a lot of the time causes me to binge these activities. My addiction is being addicted to addictions, if I do video games, A great chance I do them in a unhealthy and addictive manner, depriving me of sleep, food, etc. I’m currently anti-social just due to the fact that when I was a lot more social, it was all I was capable of doing, and it was causing me to fail school, because all I could do was talk and talk during class, not doing work because i’m taking, not learning a thing not because im not capable, but because im talking or thinking about my plans for the weekend. Etc. This applies to just about everything that can be seen as a leisure activity, I can’t do it in moderation, and even if I can for a little, it’s not long before I fall off the wagon per se. This creates cycles of abstinence and addictions, phases where for periods of time I completely avoid a leisure behavior or just about all of them, which as you can imagine having just about no way of stress relief or fun eventually leads to depression phases. But partaking in just about any leisure event, leads to excessively partaking in that event, which rapidly deteriorates my academic life, and responsibilities, and causes addictive behaviors to that activity and sometimes domino effected into other to arise. Even seemingly healthy ones, like working out, I can get into a cycle of working out where I go too far and end up injuring myself, or get addicted to it and other departments of my life suffer. Which right now, I haven’t been working out, and I have trouble getting myself to do so, but it’s a double edged sword, because if I do start working out again, there’s a big chance I could get addicted to it, because i’ve seen myself do it before.

Doing good today, leads to doing bad tomorrow.
Worst part being, If I ever do, by some stretch of the imagination, do a decent or perfect job of following my schedule for 1 day, the next day is almost bound to go in the exact opposite direction. I don’t know if it’s because I end up feeling too comfortable because I did good one day or what, but when ever I’m really productive one day, especially if that productivity comes while being unmedicated, the next day im bound to be attracted to a magnet to maddess, causing a complete disaster even when I have the best intentions.

Even if sometimes I follow part of my schedule, like lets say that first 6 hours I follow a schedule I set out for myself the night before really well, If i realise that, there’s a solid chance, the rest of the schedule just disappears and I forget about it and go into the opposite direction.

My schedule’s should be easy, key word being should.
One of the worst parts being is that, a lot of these schedules I’m trying to set for myself, aren’t demanding, so they should be easy to follow, I mean i’ve followed and done way more difficult things before. There will be just about no responsibilities for me, no work for me to do, nothing really, just maybe I want myself to workout a little and meditate twice, but that will still be difficult for me to do; which is mind boggling to say the least considering I’ve held 2 jobs at the same time at 14, went to a hard academically achieving private school, trained and practiced for 2 sports, maintained a bit of a social life, and that was before I was treated for ADHD.

But yet, especially off medication, I could just set out my only responsibility to be workout today, and I just don’t get to it, for one excuse or another.

I can only rely on myself.
It’s also important to disclaim I have no environmental-social scaffolding here to help, I’m anti-social, not a concern at the moment, and my family in really no way would be able to help me with any of this honestly, so depending on someone to stay on me isn’t really an option, it has to be something I can consistently do by myself, but also has to be something that can realistically be done and last a bit, so like forcing myself to go above and beyond, might work for a day or 2, then the consequences of doing some come in, and set me back 2 feet from where I started.

This is all very overwhelming, consistency is one of the main issues, and also being realistic, sometimes I have aspirations that just aren’t there and going for unrealistic aspirations is just a recipe for guaranteed failure, which decreases motivation. Sometimes i’m too productive that it bites me in the butt, others I barely move for 16 hours.

Bit of an medical issue exercising.
It’s also hard because, a big reason I want to start doing cardio again, is to promote more neurogenesis during a tolerance break, but I do have considerably bad exercise induced asthma as well as fibromyalgia, so for the asthma, I essentially have to take albuterol or ephedrine, but ephedrine is a CNS stimulant, so it kinda defeats the purpose of the whole tolerance break, but it tends to be more effective for me. But sometimes I get really annoyed if I take ephedrine with the intent of working out, but I don’t work out, because then I cause more oxidative brain damage, but do not really get the benefit in which I took it for. Cardio is like very hard for me sometimes, because it’s complicated for me. I have dyspraxia, possibly brain damage induced from birth, I didn’t really delve into the the specifics because there’s not much I’ll do about it or w.e. But this in conjunction with the fibromyalgia can make things like running complicated, i.e the last time I jogged 2 miles, I had to stop and it wasn’t even due to muscle fatigue or out of breathe, I took albuterol and ephedrine, I was seriously breathing so easily and well I was stunned, but I couldn’t continue jogging because my one should was having such severe pain that no matter how I positioned it, it just wouldn’t stop. So as for running and stuff, it’s a lot for me to take in mentally, because even if I focus on my breathing and such, I can be stopped by so many other factors that I forget exist. Not to mention I haven’t worked out in awhile, but since the lockdown I gained 20 lbs, so it’s gonna be a lot less fun, i’m a lot less fit, but I tend to be an all or nothing person, so I have a propensity to overdo things, even like exercise because I’ve done that much before, but I don’t factor in, that I haven’t been working out, and end up causing injury.

P.S
There may be more points to this or something, maybe i’ll go over it later or add a reply, but it’s already a lot to take in, I apologize if it’s difficult to read or too long, or the bad line of reasoning, I have a propensity to jump around a lot and write a lot, if you read all of this Thank you, I really appreciate it, if not, trust me I get it, all suggestions and opinions are welcomed with an open mind.

Toodles !

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omg u have noooooooooo idea. Ive made more than 50 schedules and not stuck to 1. so hard man

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I have notebooks for this, plural, I feel bad for the earth.

I’ve probably decreased global oxygen due to my inattention.

If I ever follow a schedule its for like 2 days, then gotta revise everything 6 times, to just decide I don’t like the color of the notebook.

It is hard indeed.

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Some things work for a while for me, much more so since my diagnosis a couple of years ago.

The lockdown and everything has been partly great to not have get out of the house early to get to work, but also terrible because of having to self motivate.

Almost all of your post resonates with me, @Chickentender!

The two things that have helped me the most are

  1. Counselling from an excellent psychologist who taught me how to give myself a break, be more forgiving of my faults, that kind of thing.

  2. Coaching in how to plan better. This basically involved a colour coded weekly plan, with a daily plan. I had made those before (I bet you understand me when I say I am really good at planning, it’s just the carrying out I’m not so good at!) The big difference with the coach was that she taught me to assess at the end of each day what I had and hasn’t completed. And to write down what I hadnt got done and why, and plan when to put it back on the schedule. It basically taught me to understand things like:

timing - how long does something really take me?

Reality - did I forget to schedule travel/eating/talking to a colleague every now and again?

Motivation/ understanding myself - if I have been putting off a particular task for days or weeks, why is that? What is the root cause and how am I going to deal with that?

And eventually, after several weeks, I was making better plans, with less stuff on them, and getting more achieved than ever.

It helped a lot that I had a coach who helped me think things through, praised me for my successes and was understanding of my ‘failures’, and was a kind of accountability buddy in the sense that I would promise to write my plan by Wednesday and she would be on my case if I didn’t confirm it was done.

Another amazing thing that happened as a result of the planning was that I started to voluntarily do stuff that other people had advised me to do for years, but I hated being told what to do so didn’t do it. Things like going to bed on time and packing my bag the night before :roll_eyes::joy:

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Sorry for the long time it took to reply, thank you for responding though.

I have considered and ADHD coach, therapy etc.

But i’m 17, and it doesn’t seem to be an option, it would take time to find one, honestly I need a new doctor but there’s like non near me somehow, and i’m also really bad with appointments. Well commitment overall as seen with the post above :joy:

I was tried to convince my mother not to take me to CHOP to see a neurologist, because a few neurological tests I had for something, came with results indicated I could have a potential brain tumor, but the appointment was at like 8 am, and I am not a morning person, so I seriously tried convincing her to let it go, and " i’ll take my chances with Timmy the tumor." Still stand by it today in fact. But the thing is, if i tried to get a coach, idk how frequent appointments would be etc. etc. And when my life is potentially at risk, I still have commitment issues, so idk how im a commit to like therapy.

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Fair enough. I was able to put some other important stuff on the back burner to spend time on the coaching ‘project’ otherwise I couldn’t have done it either. It’s something to perhaps bear in mind for the future if things are becoming so unbearable/grinding so much to a halt that it becomes a worthwhile time investment/commitment.

It was quite strange to be spending huge chunks of time on just planning and talking about planning when the whole point was that I wasn’t coping with getting stuff done in my actual life. But after a while I realised that the increase in productivity more than made up for the hours and hours I ‘lost’ on planning better.

Plus ‘planning better’ was not really about scheduling, it was about developing self knowledge to understand what might be more realistic for me, in my life and my circumstances at the time.

Anyway, if you’re not in the amazingly lucky position of being at school that has good quality coaches available on site, I can see how this rapidly becomes a non-starter :confused:

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So I just learned about emotional dis-regulation earlier this week and rejection sensitivity dysphoria today and it explains a lot for me. When I was in middle/high school or going through college (un-diagnosed) I was having many of the same feelings as you.
I’m reading through this forum to get hints and tips on improving my disposition outside of medication. (I have just started medication. Thus I am on a journey to figure out my sweet spot i.e. my correct dosage).
I’ve come across multi-vitamins as a way to increase dopamine. When I think about years back when I was juggling multiple jobs and working out regularly and maintaining a decent social life as well as positive relationships with friends and family, I was regularly taking multi-vitamins. And eating healthy… but I think one came long before the other. Anywho, whatever’s in it helps your brain chemistry. So I need to get on this again…
In other life experiences, I have had positive experiences with positive affirmations. Pre-diagnosis a therapist suggested Lisa Nichols and some of her activities as ways to re-program my self talk. Also, I got into Real Estate sales. Again, positive affirmations were used as a way to er-program negative mindset (because you’ll hear no alot).
Basically what I’m saying is I’m going to dig into these things again but I hope something I’ve rambled on about helps you too.
Aaaand I’m 33 and still trying to figure myself out… whooo!

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Okay in terms of sticking to a schedual that is hard but what has helped me tremendously is doing the same thing at the same time for example if I have class at 8:30 am on monday I know I need to wake up early in order to make it to class on time so on Mondays I will wake up at 6:30 am to give myself two hours to get ready for the class which means involving personal hygiene and breakfast and to check the weather to see if I need a heavy or light coat depending on the temperature outside. Everyone is different in terms of what works for them but this is what works for me hope it helps. Also it helps me to have a visual schedual which is why time blocking helps me to understand that this much time is takening up by x,y,z . I use a free schedual maker on the internet that creates a time block schedual that I put on my phone so I understand how long a class is and how much time I have to get there or eat lunch or do what I need to do