Achieve: Goal Attainment for Adults with ADHD

By: Dr Billi Bittan in Achieve, 3 years ago


For a long time, it was a common thought that only kids had ADHD. We know this was just a myth and that many adults have it too. For many people, ADHD is a lifelong disorder and they may not find out that they have ADHD until they are adults.

ADHD makes it difficult to pay attention and may include other symptoms such as easily forgetting things, lack of or difficulty staying motivated, and challenges staying organized. This can make achieving goals difficult. It is important to remember that there are many positive aspects of ADHD such as increased creativity, hyperfocus, abundant energy, compassion, and more.

By using effective strategies consistently and harnessing the positive aspects of your ADHD you can learn how to achieve your goals and thrive with ADHD daily.

Set Realistic Goals
People with ADHD are very creative and energetic, and that enthusiasm sometimes mean they leap before looking. Thus, they may jump full force into tackling a task or creating a goal and work diligently for days, weeks, or months without reaching the hoped-for results. So be sure you are setting yourself up for success before you leap.

Instead of setting a goal of becoming an Astronaut, think about what small, incremental steps you need to take to get there and create smaller, incremental goals that will help you effectively manage the journey.

Handwrite Your Plan for Achieving Your Goal
Before you start tackling your goal, no matter how big or small, write down the specific steps for the project. Handwriting these steps out is a big deal because many people with ADHD learn best by seeing and doing. Writing your plan out helps your planning ability and creativity.

So, grab a notebook (it doesn’t need to be new but make sure you have enough consecutive clean pages to write and revise your plan as needed), decorate it if you want, and write away!

Use a Coordinated Calendar and Task List
If a task and/or due-date is not entered on a specific time slot on the calendar, there is a good chance that it will be ‘fall through the cracks’.

Once you’ve written down all the steps of your goal, write each step at a specific date and time in your calendar (make sure you use one specific calendar). You may not know the specific times for each step and sometimes another task may take priority but do your best to make an informed guess and revise as needed.

Having specific dates identified will help you stay focused on what needs to be done now, helping you remain more calm, cool, and collected, and greatly increasing your chance of success.

Ask for Feedback
Throughout your goal setting and attainment process, ask for feedback. Many people living with ADHD have dealt with failure and/or disappointment in the past and may find it difficult to ask for feedback because they are still dealing with self-doubt/shame and/or concerned they may cause/feel disappointment again. Don’t let this be the foundation for failure in the future.

Feedback is critical to growth and development as it allows us the opportunity to ‘see’ the situation from someone else’s point of view. Feedback can increase clarity and often support us to get ‘unstuck’.

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