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This year I’m celebrating perhaps the first year that I’ve ever set a goal and followed through with it. I didn’t quite reach my target number (it was a revenue goal), but that’s not the point. The point is that I set a goal, made a plan, worked the plan, kept at it for 365 days and never gave up on it (or forgot about it). As someone with ADHD who has very weak planning and organization skills, that’s a big deal!
So in this post, I’m going to share 5 lessons I’ve learned about goal setting with ADHD that have made a significant difference in my personal and business life.
1. Setting Fewer Goals for Greater Focus
When you have ADHD, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by numerous goals and end up making little progress on any of them. That’s why I recommend setting just one goal at a time. If that sounds too restrictive, consider working on one goal per quarter or even per month. By focusing on a single goal, you create accountability and clarity. Remember, a goal should be something new that you’re adding to your plate, while still managing the ongoing demands of life. So, keep your goal list concise and watch your productivity soar.
2. Choosing Goals That Truly Matter
We all have goals that sound good on the surface but don’t truly resonate with our deepest desires. To increase your chances of success, choose goals that have a real impact on your life. Ask yourself, “What do I genuinely want to achieve?” Consider your needs and values. Losing 10 pounds may not have a significant impact, but quitting smoking could transform your life. The more intrinsic meaning a goal holds for you, the more motivated you’ll be to follow through and achieve it.
3. Grounding Goals in Reality
One common mistake I used to make was setting unrealistic goals based on wishful thinking. It’s essential to set goals that are grounded in reality. Take the time to reflect on your past experiences and evaluate what has worked and what hasn’t. Learn from your history and set goals that align with your capabilities and past successes. A realistic goal sets you up for achievable progress and motivates you to keep going.
4. Focusing on Goals Within My Control
It’s crucial to choose goals that are within your control. Setting goals that rely on external factors or other people’s actions can leave you feeling helpless and discouraged. Instead, focus on what you can do to increase the likelihood of success. By setting goals within your control, you empower yourself and maintain a sense of agency throughout the process.
5. Integrating Goals into Daily Life
As someone with ADHD, having a system to track and plan your time and energy is essential. Make it your goal to develop a reliable system for planning, tracking, and reviewing your goals regularly. By weaving your goals into your daily life, you create a structure that keeps you on track. Utilize tools like notion systems, sticky notes, or digital reminders to ensure you stay focused and accountable. Establish a rhythm of reflection and replanning to continually assess your progress and make adjustments as needed.
Courses & Templates
Distraction to Action
A science-based productivity program that helps ADHD’ers define what’s most important and follow through on it.
Vision to Action
A template to help you clarify and align your strengths, values + personal needs with your intentions.
The Organized Business
A robust template for getting your business organized with trackers, workflows and project planning.
Final Thoughts on ADHD Goal Setting Success
No matter how many years have gone by with incomplete goals, trust me when I tell you that this is a muscle you can develop. It just takes patience, intentional practice, and the willingness to keep trying things until you find what works for your brain.
I hope you give these strategies a try, personalize them to fit your unique journey, and continue to develop your own ADHD-friendly goal setting traditions. It really is worth your time and effort. Nothing builds confidence and self-trust like following through on the promises you make to yourself.