7. ADHD self-awareness

Book review

Making lasting change

Interview with David Giwerc, President ADD Coaching Academy

Andrew: When we coach an adult client usually a lot starts to change in their lives. But sadly the usual ADHD life time experience is that when attempts are made to changes behaviours, they often don’t last. Making lasting change is difficult, new routines are interrupted and progress is lost. How do you avoid this?

David: I think there are a lot of ways we can help. One of the problems with ADHD is forgetfulness and memory issues. And you know this – you can have a client who has a great sense of awareness who really gets it, only to leave their coaching session and go right back to the old pattern.

So one of the things that is very important, is to develop systems, routines, prompts and reminders.

For example, I was very bad with time. How did I remind myself about time? I bought three huge clocks that stare at me right in my face, and those clocks are constant reminders of how I have to pay attention to how long it takes me to do things.

Lost in time

For 38 years of my life, prior to my diagnosis, I didn’t pay attention to how long it took me to do things. I just did them. And whenever they got done, they got done, and they were not done in a timely fashion. So I had to create reminders, symbols, whatever to remind me of what I need to pay attention to about time. I do this with all my clients.

One thing that’s critical in helping someone with ADHD is that at the end of any information session, coaching session or school session they need to be asked and need to respond to a simple question:

“How are you going to remember to do this?”

It is that simple. It can be a picture. But do you know how often that simple question is left out?

So even if the pattern is successful and they’ve achieved some element of success over one or two times, that’s great but we have to keep reminding them to continue to keep doing it.

Success diary

I also believe that all your successes, all these good things need to be kept in one home, if you will, one notebook, one recording vehicle, so that when you go to a negative place you can access all these successful systems and experiences without having to go through the demanding process of accessing them from your brain’s memory.

When you have them in one success diary, notebook or file, you don’t have the pressure of retrieving them out of your head. They’re in a book. They’re in a video. They’re in a recording. They’re in one place where, when you need them, all you have to do is press a button or open a book. So:
  • Remind yourself constantly of the new pattern and
  • Review the success of the new pattern to reinforce your commitment to changing the pattern

The brain is very elastic and flexible but it needs reinforcement.

Over a period of 30 to 40 days The theory about this is that over a period of 30 to 40 days is. if you consistently repeat it, you can change it. I’ve seen this happen, but you need the prompts and you need those memories. Both are very important.


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ADHD Coach, Andrew Lewis

Andrew Lewis

Andrew Lewis is an ADHD Coach, writer and founder of SimplyWellbeing. He has over ten thousand hours and fifteen years of experience in coaching ADHD executives, business professionals and creatives. His expertise with ADHD is personal, with decades of his own experience, bringing up an ADHD child, running a large support group and in coaching clients often for years He has published his writing via this website and has ADHD online courses in development. His business expertise comes from a twenty years career in software, from programming, through marketing, sales and running a few start-ups.

Further reading

ADHD at work
Fun and informative guide to finding happiness in the future
ADHD at work
A major resource for teachers, school professionals, parents and clinicians to help children with ADHD
ADHD at work
The first ADHD auto-biography, lots to relate to
ADHD at work
The first book written about adult ADHD, and by adults with ADD
ADHD at work
With alarmingly increasing rates of depression in the World and SSRIs poor results, better to seek a cause than manage the symptoms
ADHD at work
A profound insight into how meaning gives strength, hope and happiness
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