Goal-Setting for ADHDers, Part 1

If you’re like me, you have spent years trying to figure out this “setting goals and achieving them” thing other people seem to be capable of.

The reasons we struggle with this are varied:

  • we forget about our goals.
  • breaking down big goals into smaller steps is hard.
  • maintaining systems and structure is hard.
  • organization is hard.
  • probably other things I can’t think of right now.

I have a couple of videos up on YouTube about ADHD and life goals, and I’ll be adding to that series soon. Today, I want to talk about what I’ll be covering in this month’s blog posts.

It being January, month of new beginnings, I thought goals would be an appropriate theme.

Pinnable image for this post.

Now, I have vast experience with goals. When I worked in early intervention, we had goals to work on with the children. They were usually written up as in an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and divided into different domains with 1-5 goals each.

And yes, I have written such plans for myself.

What I have found is that I end up with too many goals and I over-complicate everything. So I don’t really do that anymore except for fun (because yes, I think this kind of thing is fun).

If you look up “goal setting” online, you’ll find lots of similar advice. Basically, you’re supposed to “think big” and write SMART goals.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound.

Here’s the problem with that when it comes to ADHD:

Let’s say that want to clean. up my house this year. My SMART goal is “I will get my entire house cleaned up and organized by December 31, 2022.” That’s a huge goal, and overwhelming. I can absolutely break it down by room (breaking down big tasks is something I’m good at), and I can even assign the steps to different days in my planner, etc.—I can do all of the things all of these experts say to do—but there’s no flexibility built into the goal, so if life happens or I have a a Bad Brain Day or whatever, my schedule will be thrown off and I won’t be able to complete the goal.

I don’t think that we are completely out of luck when it comes to goals, though. We just have to be prepared to re-jig things in a way that will work better with our brains and symptoms, and that accounts for inconsistency.

How do we do that?

I’ll start explaining next week.

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