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The ADHD Struggle Of Losing Interest In New Projects And Hobbies
One of the most frustrating aspects of my ADHD has been frequently losing interest in new hobbies, goals, and passions. Just last week, I became obsessed with learning photography. But now the camera sits unused as my concentration has shifted to wanting to learn piano instead. 🎹
While these rollercoaster hyper-fixations may be thrilling at first, the sudden loss of motivation once I lose interest can feel discouraging. However, it's helpful to recognize this tendency is simply wired into my ADHD brain. In this article, I will share with you some reasons why those of us with ADHD can lose interest in things - and which strategies I use to prolong my interests and not be so hard on myself when the inevitable waning of focus occurs.
Examples of Losing interest
Our tendency as ADHDers to quickly lose interest impacts many parts of life, for example:
New skills like photography, piano, or skateboarding become stale after the initial enthusiasm disappears. I'll dive fully into learning everything about them, but after a few weeks or months, the novelty fades, and gears sit collecting dust. 😬
Relationships & Partners
The fiery honeymoon period with a new partner gives an adrenaline rush. But sustaining that 24/7 intensity is impossible over time as the dynamic evolves, and the connection becomes more calm in nature. Many people with ADHD can misinterpret this as boredom. 💓
Study & Career Paths
When first starting school, fields of study seem exciting. But as coursework becomes more complex, motivation lags. I switched majors 3 times, going from art to psychology to computer science, as each lost its shine.
What Causes People With ADHD To Lose Interest?
Our ADHD brains are wired differently when maintaining interest and concentration. When it comes to rapidly shifting interests, several key factors can play a part in a person’s ability to develop consistency with new passions and projects. 👇
When a person with ADHD starts a new activity, their brains get flooded with the 'feel good' chemical dopamine. This gives us a high and intense concentration. But our ADHD minds build up a tolerance quickly, leading to boredom as it depletes. I experienced this when I got into photography. Those first few weeks of learning and practicing every day were thrilling, but soon the novelty wore off.
Poor Concentration Skills
ADHD makes it challenging to keep attention on a single task for a long time. Our interests waver as concentration drifts. I struggled with this when trying to learn piano; I'd be hyper-focused on scales for a few days, but soon my mind would wander, and I'd lose motivation.
Shiny new hobbies that promise excitement quickly distract our ADHD brains. Just when I started getting the hang of skateboarding, I saw someone playing the guitar. I suddenly wanted to drop everything to learn that instead. 😆
Our issues with executive functioning can mean interest is not sustained for most activities long-term and we struggle with staying focused on one thing at a time. But being aware of what causes this can help us have self-compassion and find better strategies. For me, knowing it's my ADHD wiring helps me not beat myself up when my concentration shifts yet again to a new hobby. 🌀
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Helpful Ways To Manage Shifting Interests
While it can be frustrating to experience a passion that fades quickly, understanding that this characteristic is associated with ADHD can provide relief. By implementing suitable approaches and techniques, we can navigate the shifting landscape of our ever-changing interests, maintain engagement, and get the most out of our newfound hobbies.
Here are a few ideas on how you can manage shifting interests. 👇
Recognize that losing concentration is a natural aspect of how our brains work rather than a personal flaw. Don't beat yourself up over it—just because photography quickly lost its shine doesn't mean you're lazy.
Foster Flexible Goals
Allow your interests to evolve over time, and be open to exploring new avenues. When one passion starts to fade, embrace the opportunity to try something different, like picking up the piano after photography gets old. Concentrate on progress rather than fixating on perfection, and allow yourself some wiggle room in your goals.
During important practice or work blocks, remove distractions, like your phone. By maximizing your focused time, you can spend time making the most of your engagement with your current interest.
Get your friends involved! Having them check in on your progress with your goals can provide valuable motivation when your concentration lags. Or, even better - ask them to join you. You could also join a club that is related to your interests. Support from others who understand your experience can provide invaluable advice and a sense of belonging.
Celebrate Small Wins
Take pride in your achievements, no matter how small. Even dedicating just five minutes to practicing a new skill can give you a much-needed dopamine boost to sustain your interest.
Anticipate Highs and Lows
Understand that your super-intense interests will naturally wane as dopamine levels decrease. By setting realistic expectations, you can better manage the shifting tides of your passions. This means you can reduce how much time and money you spend on a new interest while enjoying it for what it is while it still keeps your attention.
Treasure Past Passions
Even if you've moved on from previous interests, take a minute to appreciate the joy those hobbies once brought you. Cherish the memories and the fulfillment you experienced during those times.
By implementing these strategies and coping mechanisms, you can successfully navigate the ebb and flow of your shifting interests while maintaining a healthy and fulfilling engagement with your pursuits.
Finding Answers Through an Adult ADHD Diagnosis
I used to be hard on myself when I couldn't maintain new hobbies or interests for long periods. The anxiety and stress of abandoning activities I had initially been excited about weighed heavily on me. I constantly questioned why I lacked the same motivation and discipline as others. 😞
After years of struggling with my mental health and ADHD symptoms, I decided to seek professional help. Initially, I hesitated about getting evaluated, concerned that I might be using it as an excuse. However, deep down, I knew that I needed answers.
Receiving an ADHD diagnosis was a pivotal moment for me. The doctor's explanation of my symptoms, such as problems maintaining focus on a particular task provided me with some clarity. 🔮 It finally clicked that my brain was wired differently from those without ADHD.
The diagnosis alleviated the burden of self-blame. It offered an explanation for why sustaining interest was such a challenge. Instead of criticizing myself, I could focus on finding strategies and seeking help from others facing similar experiences. Understanding that my tendencies were valid, rather than personal failings, brought a sense of comfort. 💙
Finding Balance With Changing Interests
These days, I have a more compassionate perspective regarding my inability to stick to one passion for too long. My interests evolve because of how my ADHD brain is wired, not because I'm unreliable. It's understandable that hyper-focus on new relationships or K-pop fandoms naturally diminishes over time as dopamine depletes. This is part of how I and many others with ADHD are built. 🤷
The key for me is finding balance - allowing myself to enjoy passions when they captivate me, then move forward on new interests without judgment when the focus inevitably shifts. I can still cherish past hobbies and relationships with gratitude for the joy they brought, even after fixation fades.
It's about self-acceptance, not beating myself up when motivation wanes. These days, I aim to channel enthusiasm into realistic goals and my changing needs. With the right mindset, having diverse, evolving interests can be celebrated, not a source of shame.
Living with ADHD often means navigating a winding path of evolving passions and fluctuating focus. While this tendency to frequently lose interest can be frustrating, self-compassion is key.
Remember that shifting interests are simply part of how your neurodiverse brain is wired. Try not to judge yourself harshly when hyper-focus fades. Instead, aim to celebrate the joy each fixation brought you for its season.
Implement strategies to prolong engagement with the most important goals while allowing flexibility to adapt as motivation waxes and wanes. Surround yourself with a support system that validates your experiences.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself throughout the ups and downs. You are so much more than your changing interests. Appreciate the unique way your ADHD mind allows you to immerse yourself fully in each moment, even if it's short-lived. Keep exploring new passions - you never know what fascinating undiscovered talents or interests lie ahead!
ADHD and Losing Interest: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What does losing interest quickly mean for someone with ADHD?
For people with ADHD, losing interest quickly often means engaging with a new hobby or activity initially, only to feel motivation fade after a short time. This can lead to frustration as energy and focus shifts rapidly to the next new thing.
How do traits like poor attention and distractibility contribute
Difficulty sustaining concentration and getting easily distracted make it challenging for people with ADHD to stay invested in one interest area long-term. Hyperfocus often fades as restlessness builds.
What are some strategies to help cope with this?
Accepting that interests may shift and being flexible can help cope. Finding accountability through groups and managing expectations builds self-awareness. Most importantly, self-compassion helps mitigate frustration when motivation inevitably wanes.