how to actually achieve your goals part 1
How many of us if we were to review the past year would be proud of our achievements? If you feel a sense of disappointment or even self-loathing while considering that thought, you’re not alone. Perhaps we started out last year with excitement all fired up to make this year different, only to reach the year’s conclusion and realize very little has changed.
Or perhaps, we’ve moved through the entire year on auto-pilot mode allowing our life to happen to us rather than actively taking the wheel and navigating a course we intentionally have chosen. We all have dreams of the lives we want, but unless we set goals and chart a plan to achieve them, our vision of our lives remains a dream. Let’s all make this “the year” we begin to achieve our goals. Let’s begin to explore how.
Know your why. Choosing motivating goals is most vital ingredient to your success. Vividly imagine achieving your goal. Tap into your creative mind and ask yourself, what would it look like, feel like? How would your life be different if you achieved it? Take some time to explore why this particular goal is important or meaningful to you. How does it fit in with your values and priorities, your overall plan for your life? How would you feel when sharing your goal with others? Could you convince someone that it’s worthwhile? Clearly knowing the “why” of your goal will give your ADHD brain the fuel it needs to get started and persist when your commitment lags.
Be Specific For example, instead of I would like to devote more time to my family. Try, I will leave work by 6 pm every night or every Sunday afternoon will be a designated family activity between 1 and 4. I want to get more exercise might translate to I will take a 20-minute walk around my neighborhood 3 morning/week. Having clarity will change your dream into something actionable.
Make it real Don’t just daydream about your goals. Create a tangible reminder of them. If we rely on our ADHD working memory, our goals can quickly disappear into oblivion. On the other hand, we know that people with ADHD are very visual thinkers. We do what we see and if we don’t see it, it’s out of sight out of mind. So, take pen to paper and write your new goals. Research shows that those that write their goals are far more likely to accomplish them. You can also create a visual reminder of your goal. Is there an object, a picture, or something you can create to serve as your inspiration. Then place your reminder strategically
in a place you’ll see regularly, to keep your eyes on the prize of where you want to be.
Share it Find a friend, partner, colleague, or an online forum to share your goal. Post your goal on your social media with a promise of updates. The more people that know about your goal the more you’ll feel accountable. You can also arrange a mutual accountability system where you can exchange texts, phone calls, videos or pictures of proof of your progress towards your goal. Another amazing tool to transform your goals to reality is StickK.com. StickK works by helping its users leverage the power of incentives and accountability through the creation of Commitment Contracts with online supporters to cheer you on and a referee to monitor your progress.
Plan it Break down your goal into manageable steps. For example, the goal “get healthier” feels vague and can be overwhelming. However, if we break it down into smaller doable parts, we have a clear path to achieve our goal. For example, simple steps could be 1) Schedule doctor’s appointment for check-up and to discuss current health concerns 2) Invite Jen for coffee (my nutritionist friend) and discuss various diets that could meet my needs 3) Post on neighborhood chat to find walking partner
Anticipate Obstacles As the expression goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Devote some time thinking about what could get in the way of your plan. Inevitably, there will be days when life doesn’t go as planned. Enter plan B. This way when you encounter a roadblock, you already have proactively created a workaround. For example, you come home from work exhausted and can’t manage your regular 40-minute workout. That’s okay, instead you do a 7-minute video workout.
Celebrate Success No need to wait until you achieve your ultimate goal, celebrating every step and victory along the journey will help you keep the momentum and excitement.