Ready, Set, Go!



“A body at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted on by an outside force.”

Sir Issac Newton


Newton’s first law of inertia might explain why getting started is often the hardest part for those of us with ADHD. You might have noticed that when you are at rest it takes a lot to get you moving. Getting started is especially difficult if the task is hard, boring, repetitive, unrewarding and perhaps a little challenging. I believe that those of us with ADHD are more familiar with inertia than most folks.

Try to notice how inertia plays a role in your life.

  • Do you struggle to get yourself out of bed in the morning? Inertia.
  • Can’t begin to write that report that was due last week? Inertia.
  • Feel not just stuck but glued to the couch? Inertia.
  • Can’t bring yourself to clean up your mess? Inertia.
  • Are you late to everything? Even the things you want to be on time to? Inertia.

Now try to figure out what kind of outside force you need to help you to get moving. The same things might not work for everybody. If you have untreated depression or anxiety you need to address those conditions first. However, if you have the garden variety of executive functioning deficits these outside forces might work for you and are worth a try.

  • Use mantras: Say “ready, steady, go” outloud, or try “feet on the floor” for getting out of bed.
  • Create a plan and write it down in Big, Bold Letters. Keep your plan in sight.
  • Set reminders and alarms on your phone.
  • Use a timer to remind you to get started.
  • Ignore the negative chatter in your brain and encourage yourself with positive self-talk.
  • Work with a coach to keep you focused on your goals.
  • Encourage yourself: Tell yourself that you can do it.

Whatever you are trying to accomplish you will need to take the first step again and again. Getting started may always be difficult for you and taking that first step might require using outside forces or strategies that support you.


Kathy Sussell is an ADHD coach who works with teens, college students and adults with ADHD. Kathy helps them with time management, planning and prioritizing, initiating and finishing tasks, organizing paper and objects and other life skills. Kathy is the co-author of, Managing Your ADHD: Tips and Solutions from A-Z. She is the organizer of the ADHD Women’s Meetup Group that meets every month in NYC. For more information visit her website: or email Kathy at

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