New Year; Newer, SMARTer Goals

02/22/15 New Year; Newer, SMARTer Goals
by Marcia J. McKinley, JD, PhD, LCPC

On New Year’s Eve, the next year looms before us, looking like a blank slate full of promise. Anything is possible in that new year. The new year is when we can lose weight that we have been hanging onto, run the 5k we have always wanted to, get the grades we always wanted, declutter our houses…or, in my case, begin to blog.

Then, the end of February rolls around and I find myself finally sitting down to write my first blog entry. To be honest, I wouldn’t be doing this if I were not stuck inside the house due to Winter Storm Octavia.

So, what happened to all those good intentions?

Was the problem that I didn’t really want to blog? No, I don’t think so. I love to write and have been known to overwhelm friends (and sometimes mere acquaintances) with voluminous correspondence. Blogging seems a much better outlet for my writing energy than burying friends in emails and letters that they then feel bound to keep up with.

Was the problem that I didn’t know what to write about? No, I have a list of blog ideas three pages long. Generating ideas is rarely an issue for me.

Was the problem that I don’t believe my blogging doesn’t have value? No, I trust the reader to move onto other pages if nothing on this screen interests or inspires them.

Was the problem that I didn’t have time to blog? Well, possibly. After all, I do have a fairly busy life. Still, how long does writing one blog entry really take for someone who already has the ideas and types 100 words per minute? Surely, I could find one to two hours per week to put fingers to keyboard.

No, I think the issue started with this: While I had a goal to blog, my goal was not a “good” goal. That is to say, it wasn’t a SMART-P goal. It wasn’t a goal that’s Specific, Measureable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-Sensitive, or Process-Oriented. (Well, maybe it was actionable and process-oriented, but it certainly didn’t meet the other criteria.)

As an ADHD coach, I teach people all the time how to develop SMART-P goals, but I failed to do that for myself, at least about blogging. Moreover, I didn’t identify a reward for myself for meeting my goal.

What New Year’s resolution did you make on December 31, 2014, that you have not yet started? Join with me over the next few weeks to explore how we can make — and achieve — SMARTer goals. After all, we needn’t wait until next December to work on our goals. Although it might not be New Year’s Day on any official calendar, February 22nd is the start of a new year. In fact, every moment of our lives is the start of a new year that is full of promise.

Copyright©2015.  Marcia J. McKinley.

Holiday Gifts for Children–and Adults–with ADHD

by Marcia J. McKinley

#1:  Time-Timers to Help with Time Management
Many kids–and adults!–with ADHD don’t have a good sense of how long any given amount of time is. They plan to take a 10-minute shower but end up daydreaming about their trip to the moon for an hour.

Timers in general, and time-timers in particular, can help kids learn a better sense of time. They won’t be able to miss the bright red dial counting time down, and they can choose to have an alarm go off after the time you have selected. Time-timers are available in wristwatch sizes up to a 12” square size, which is big enough to see even from inside a shower!

time timerAfter getting her first time-timer, one of my adult clients said, “I was leaving myself 10 minutes to get out the door; I didn’t realize it was taking 20!”All of the different sizes and versions of time-timers can be found on the official Time-Timer website.  One of the advantages of buying the Time-Timer as a gift?  The person with ADHD won’t get overwhelmed by all their choices.

#2  Sticky notes help with organization, time-management, and fleeting thoughts!
Sticky notes in various colors and shapes (with nearby pens/pencils) have all kinds of purposes. They can remind your children–and you!–to do something, to take something somewhere, of the thoughts that they are taking care not to blurt out, of some other topic that comes to mind at an inopportune time, and much more. Try keeping a set of sticky notes and pens in every room in the house.

One client keeps a set of sticky notes in her kitchen and has labelled each cabinet with a day of the week. When she is assigned a task, she writes it on a sticky and puts it on the appropriate cabinet. If she doesn’t finish the task on the day she has set it on, she can move it to the next one.  When she is done with that sticky, she simply crumples up the note.

#3  Alarm Clocks Help Reduce Morning Frustrations
As an ADHD coach, the majority of child-parent conflicts that I hear about happen in the morning, when parents can’t proceed with their morning routines because they are constantly stopping to wake up the children (over and over).

An alarm clock that can waken anyone, hopefully on its first beep, can take the stress off the parents to be the alarm clocks. There are all kinds of interesting alarm clocks now on the market, from the Sonic Boom with Super Shaker, which will emit a LOUD alarm and shake the bed (and walls!) at the same time, to Clocky: The Runaway Alarm Clock, the alarm clock that jumps off the night stand and runs all over until caught. If noisy alarm clocks will threaten your sanity, you may want to consider the Silent Alarm Clock, which causes a vibration in a bracelet that your child can wear about his wrist, or an online alarm clock such as Maths Alarm Clock, which requires him to solve a simple math equation before it stops. Lists of unusual alarm clocks can be found here .

#4  Fidgeting Toys to Improve Focus

Research has shown that fidget toys can actually boost concentration and focus. If your kiddo has a tough time balancing note-taking or reading with a fidget boy, a fidget chair may provide an alternative solution. Try a bunjo chair (,store:18224322571263294837&prds=oid:12887143944149006225&q=bunjo+chair&hl=en&lsft=gclid:CjwKEAiAhaqzBRDNltaS0pW5mWgSJADd7cYD_YqIbbzxbWRbo6J98Hw4zpsp76625SAScoDmHaawbBoC6ePw_wcB), stability ball chair (, or core wobble chair ( .

Copyright@ 2015 Marcia J. McKinley