How To Get Motivated When Your ADHD Makes You Feel Stuck

Woman happy at her computer

Don’t feel like working on that thing you need to do? Are you doing every easy task you come across yet avoiding that important one that may be more complex? You’re not alone. Not anymore! When I get in a funk, I start with self acceptance by telling myself: “I am in a funk, and that is okay.”

People with ADHD often struggle with motivation due to the way their brains process information and regulate their behavior. ADHD is a neurological condition that affects the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for executive functions such as motivation, attention, and impulse control. 🧠 Do you struggle with those? It’s not your fault. We are just wired differently!

Why Does ADHD Make It Difficult to Find Motivation?

  • Difficulty with task initiation: People with ADHD may struggle to start tasks, even when they are interested in them. This can make it difficult to get started on projects or to initiate tasks that require sustained effort.
  • Poor time management skills: ADHD can make it difficult for people to manage their time effectively. This can lead to procrastination, which can further reduce motivation and make it harder to get started on tasks.
  • Inconsistent focus: People with ADHD may have trouble maintaining their focus on tasks for extended periods of time. This can make it difficult to sustain motivation, especially for tasks that require sustained effort.
  • Low levels of dopamine: People with ADHD often have lower levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is associated with motivation and reward. This can make it harder to feel motivated, as the brain is less responsive to the natural rewards of completing tasks.

7 Strategies That Adults With ADHD Can Use To Help Improve Motivation

We’ve got some personal, professional, mental, social and physiological strategies to help.

1 – Seek Professional Support

People with ADHD may benefit from professional support such as Certified ADHD Coaching to help them develop effective strategies for managing their symptoms and improving motivation. Many times the answers are inside us; partnering with an ADHD coach can help to focus on your ADHD strengths, create habits and determine what your most important goals are. Book a complimentary call with ADHD Coach Ryan today to see how ADHD coaching can help you!

2 – Break Tasks Into Smaller, More Manageable Pieces

Build momentum with MICRO-wins! People with ADHD often struggle with tasks that require sustained effort. Breaking larger tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces can make them feel less overwhelming and more achievable, which can help improve motivation. Small steps toward the goal! I’ve even been known to create deadlines at the quarter and half way point of a project to produce that needed urgency for my brain to kick it into high gear. Have you tried that?

3 – Use External Accountability

People with ADHD may benefit from working with a partner through body doubling or using an accountability buddy. When I am feeling stuck, writing or talking out my thoughts can help. My problems are always bigger when in my head; after I write or talk it out, the issue is so much more manageable. There is a certain magic to working with a buddy. You don’t want to disappoint them, so the task becomes more important. It can also be so joyful hearing the updates from your accountability partner. When you complete your task, you have someone to cheer for you. When they win, you get to share in their joy! This is one of the best parts of being an ADHD Coach. Not sure where to find an ADHD accountability partner? Check out the ADHD digital community!

4 – Use Positive Reinforcement

People with ADHD may respond well to positive reinforcement such as rewards or praise for completing tasks. This can help increase motivation and make tasks feel more rewarding. What can you use as a reward to get that challenging task accomplished? In the mornings, I don’t permit myself to drink my breakfast smoothie until I have completed the task of showering and getting dressed for the day. Success has never been so delicious!

5 – Find a Sense of Purpose

People with ADHD may be more motivated to complete tasks that they find meaningful or that align with their personal values. Identifying a sense of purpose can help increase motivation and engagement. I regularly devote my workday to someone that has recently impacted me in a positive way. Have you ever tried it? How can you give to others today?

6 – Exercise Regularly

Exercise has been shown to improve motivation and cognitive function in people with ADHD. Regular exercise can help increase dopamine levels and improve overall mood, which can help increase motivation. Whenever I am feeling stuck, the first thing I do is move! Take a walking break. Do some squats or push-ups. I do 100 reps of something per day. When I come back to the task, I can look at it with fresh eyes. What can you do to move more today?

7 – Manage Stress

Stress can be a major barrier to motivation for people with ADHD. Developing stress management strategies such as meditation or deep breathing can help reduce stress and improve motivation. It’s amazing how big of a difference just taking 3 slow, deep breaths can make. Sometimes when I am feeling stuck, I sing! 🎶 Jamming to a good tune can do wonders for me. I even have a focus music playlist on YouTube. What song can you listen to or sing next time you are feeling stuck or stressed?

Give ADHD Coaching a Try To Improve Motivation!

Overall, ADHD can make it difficult for people to get motivated and stay motivated, which can make it challenging to achieve their goals and complete tasks. However, with the right support and strategies, people with ADHD can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their motivation.

Why not try ADHD Coaching with a coach that has experienced the same struggles as you? You’ve got nothing to lose!

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About Ryan Mayer

Professional Life Coach Ryan Mayer is an Accountability and Mindset Coach, specializing in working with adult men and women with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
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