An ADHDers guide to writing goals
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year ADHDers!
We made it to 2024, what a blessing!
Okay, so I know what some of you are thinking: “It’s too soon to think about New Year goals.”
It’s completely ok if you haven’t thought about your 2024 goals. It’s only day one.
Let’s run through:
How to get started
Setting your goals
Documenting your goals
Working towards your goals
Shall we begin?
Why setting goals is helpful
Before we get into how to write our goals, I’m going to talk a little bit about the WHY.
Have you ever been asked to meet a friend somewhere, you get there and it feels like a maze because they didn’t specify where exactly you should meet them? So you walk around aimlessly feeling a little lost trying to figure out where your friend is.
I’ve been there and it can be so frustrating in the moment.
This is how I feel when I have no goals or things to look forward to.
Navigating life without a compass. Existing but not living.
Where do I start?
Your goals are for you.
Don’t let social media or people make you think that you need to have a long list of super ambitious things you HAVE to achieve this year. A goal can be as simple as ‘I want to drink more water this year’.
There are different ways to record your vision or results you want to get out of this year:
Writing down habits you want to change
Creating a vision board
Writing intentions or have a word of the year
Choose whatever works best for you - there is no perfect way.
How to set goals
This is the point where you start to think about what you want.
It’s important to not let self-doubt or overthinking get in the way. The moment it seeps in, you start to think about hypothetical worries.
My process is to write it all out and think through it at a later stage, or else nothing will get done!
Point 1: Setting your goals
As ADHDers, sometimes we need to find the motivation to you know, do things.
When it comes to goal-setting, I find that ADHD meds help but also, getting together with a group of friends, body doubling, having the TV on in the background or doing it first thing in the morning.
Reminder: Your goals can be set throughout the year, it doesn’t need to be done in one sitting. There are 366 days after all!
I tend to segment my goals into different areas. This helps to declutter everything that’s in my brain.
For example, my 2023 goals were:
I’m not a huge fan of setting SMART objectives because it creates more work and sometimes I don’t have the answers. But I’m sharing an example as you might find it helpful.
Specific - I want to learn Spanish and have basic conversational skills.
Measurable - This will be measured by passing a language course.
Achievable - This will be achievable if I sign up for classes and practice.
Relevant - This is worthwhile because I plan on travelling to a Spanish-speaking country.
Time-Bound - It will take me 6 months from now to complete the course.
What’s the verdict? Will you give SMART a try?
Point 2: Document your goals
So lists might not be your thing, what is?
I don’t know about you but my ADHD brain needs to have its attention grabbed.
This means I need to make things visually appealing and easy to digest for my brain, or else I switch off.
The trick is, recording your goals in a format that doesn’t fill you with dread when you think about looking at them.
This could be:
A list/Gantt chart/tracker app
A vision board filled with images, texts, quotes, scriptures
An excel spreadsheet
Sticky notes/Notes app
A planner or a physical calendar
What’s your format of choice?
Point 3 - Working towards your goals
Okay so you have your goals, and you’ve documented them on an Excel sheet or a vision board. It’s time to:
Some of your goals might be a mixture of short-term, medium-term and long-term. For short-term goals, I sometimes apply the ‘GROW’ model.
The GROW model
The GROW model is a coaching tool that I learned at my previous job.
Have you ever tried to solve something but had no idea where to start so you reach out to a colleague, a friend or a therapist for some advice? They then break down the problem and then you realize it wasn’t that big of a problem.
As ADHDers, sometimes it helps to coach ourselves through things. Here’s where the GROW model comes in:
I usually talk out loud to myself when I run through the GROW model by myself. But I find that it’s most helpful when you can get a friend to ask you these questions. You can read specific examples in a previous newsletter I wrote here.
This year, I owe it to myself to at least try to curate the life and future I want. Having fun, new experiences and having the funds to do so.
But to do this, I need to add a sprinkle of discipline and accountability. This might not be relevant for you, but I NEED it.
What does this look like?
Years ago, I wanted to learn the computer programming language, Python. I signed up for a course and took part in the Twitter challenge #100DaysofCode. Tweeting daily progress led me to complete the course and motivated me along the journey.
I’m not sure what accountability looks like for me in 2024, but I’ll let you know when I figure it out - tips are welcome.
Look, goals are meant to be fulfilling and something to look forward to. You are not chained to your goals, it’s ok to change them or remove them.
I hope some of the things I’ve shared will be somewhat useful to you throughout the year.
Always remember, comparison is the thief of joy
Rach, with ADHD