Why Is It Important to Set Goals When You Have ADHD?

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 A goal is the ‘end result’ that requires focus and effort to achieve.

There are countless studies on the benefits of goal setting. However, when you have ADHD, setting goals has extra benefits. Goals provide you with a cornerstone to help your ADHD symptoms. They make it easier to plan your day. This in turn helps reduce some classic ADHD symptoms; such as distraction, procrastination, impulsivity, prioritizing, decision making and making transitions.

Do you set goals for yourself? If you don’t, you aren’t alone. Here are 5 common reasons why adults with ADHD don’t set goals.

1.     You stopped setting goals after repeatedly feeling disappointed when you didn’t achieve them.

2.     You are so caught up in the details of life; there is no time to set goals.

3.     No one believes you can achieve your goals because you haven’t in the past.

4.     You’re not sure what a ‘realistic’ goal is.

5.     You have so many things you want to do, you can’t decide which to work on first.


If you are new to goal setting or have had disappointing results in the past, start with one goal and a short period of time to achieve it. 30 days is a great time frame. In the future, you can set more goals with longer time frames. If you feel there is never enough time for goal setting, it only takes a few minutes to pick 1 goal. It doesn’t matter which area of your life the goal is.

 Try it in the next 30 days as an experiment. Everything you learn in the next 30 days from this experiment will be helpful for future goals in other areas of your life. If you are surrounded by people who don’t think you can achieve goals, you don’t need to tell them! You can just quietly go about the goal setting process.


3 Easy Steps to Reaching Your Goal

1.     Pick a goal that you are going to work towards for the next 30 days.

2.     Write it down. Studies show goals that have been written down are more likely to be achieved.

3.     Take at least one action towards your goal every day.

For best results, use goals and planning in conjunction with each other. It’s much easier to create a plan when you know what the overall goal is. Plus, a goal is much more likely to be reached with a plan to get you there.

At the end of the 30 days, review how you did. If you didn’t achieve your goal, it's not a bad thing. It is a sign to fine-tune your goal setting skills. A common reason adults with ADHD don’t achieve their goals is because they expect too much of themselves. For example, writing a book in a week. It doesn’t mean that you can’t write a book, it simply means that the time frame you allocated was too short. The more goals you set, the better you will be at estimating achievable time frames.

I know it a cliché to say ‘it's a journey, not the destination’.

However, rather than just focusing on if you achieved the goal or not, look at the benefits of working towards the goal. For example, did you find that you were more focused each day? Or that you can get more done? Did you feel more in control and spent less time jumping around, putting out fires? Did you notice that you feel more confidence? These are all great things. Celebrate every one of them!

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