How to Actually Achieve Your Goals this Year (Part 2)
Did you make any new year resolutions this year? Last month we explored the fundamentals to setting and achieving our goals with ADHD in the mix. (Read Part I here) Nonetheless, if you've already abandoned them long ago, don't feel bad. You're not alone. Approximately 80% of new year's resolutions fail by February. What's the solution to finally reaching your goals and creating habits that really stick?
Take Baby Steps So many of our goals fail because they were too grandiose in the first place. Readjusting your goal by making it smaller, easier and more doable better assures our success. You have ambitions to run a 5k but have yet to put on your sneakers. Try starting with a 10-minute brisk walk 2-3 days a week. You dream of publishing your first novel this year, begin with a short story or aim for writing just the first chapter. Your small wins will create the momentum for further growth and success.
Make it fun - Put on your favorite music and dance while you reorganize your closet. Award yourself a point for each baby step closer to your goal and gift yourself a prize as an incentive. Set a timer and race yourself to beat your own record. Boost motivation and have more fun while creating new habits with an app like Habitica, EpicWin, Forest, or SuperBetter.
Resparkelize - Your ADHD brain was excited and inspired by your goal a month ago, but somehow now the goal has lost its sparkle. Don’t abandon your goal. Instead resparkelize it. By resparkelizing our goal, we add some glitter and novelty to our goal and reignite our motivation. For example, explore some interesting new recipes on your journey to healthier eating or buy yourself some new work-out clothes to encourage that trip to the gym.
Celebrate small wins - Track your progress towards your goal or to see how many days you've been consistent with your new habit. Focus on your wins and celebrate.
Shift your Mindset The ADHD tendency towards all or nothing thinking can sabotage the best of efforts and leave us plagued by shame and a sense of failure. If we set a goal to eat healthier, we translate that to mean no fast food or junk food ever. If we aim to sleep 8 hours/night, all is lost after one late night binging on Netflix. However, changing our mantra to “Progress not Perfection” and “You either Win or Learn,” there is no failure, only learning growth and success. This vital shift in perspective keeps us on track to achieve our goals.
Be kind to yourself and Bounce back - Just remember, a relapse is normal. Nobody is perfect, if you get off track for a few days, weeks, or longer - Don't give up! Have patience, forgive yourself, and bounce back. Contrary to what you may think, research shows that self-compassion and not self-criticism is a critical ingredient to rekindle our motivation after setbacks and give us the resources to try again, persist, and eventually succeed.