43: Setting Goals for a New Year

Setting Goals For A New Year | ADHD reWired

Host Eric Tivers talks about making the most out of 2015.

Have the best year yet in 2015. Host Eric Tivers breaks down the seven things you can do to make 2015 your best year yet. Though setting and managing one’s goals, reflection on what worked and didn’t work over the past year, and accountability, Eric provides an excellent framework for moving one’s life forward in 2015. Eric covers topics including understanding priorities, perfuming a “brain dump” and mind mapping, building an action plan, laying out a S.M.A.R.T.E.R. plan, and more.

Questions about 2014:

  • How was your 2014?

  • Did you have and set goals for yourself?

  • What did you accomplish, make progress on?

  • What stayed stuck in your head?

Eric’s Reflections:

  • Ever since beginning to manage his ADHD and realizing the life he wanted to create for himself, Eric decided that no matter how challenging the process seemed, he could do better.

  • Looking back to being laid off 5–6 year ago and starting his own practice, he was surprised at how far he’s come.

  • He progressed from having a goal but not knowing how to attain it, to being surprised he was accomplishing his goal, to then realizing what he’s done and wondering what is next.

  • Nothing builds confidence in our ability to achieve like achieving.

Seven Things You Can Do to Make 2015 Your Best Year Yet

  • Doing a “brain dump”

    • Get everything out of your head, even things that don’t seem important to you right now.

    • Use mind mapping, pictures, lists, etc., or whatever works best for you.

    • While the concept of a brain dump might seem overwhelming, is in actuality more overwhelming to keep all those ideas in your head.

    • Erik Fisher, of the “Beyond the To-Do List” podcast: Our brain is a place to create ideas, not the place to hold or store ideas.

    • For more information about seeing what it is you would like to do, drawing out your plan, etc, listen to Episode 14 of ADHD reWired.

  • Set Your Priorities

    • Why you choose to do something is often more important than what it is or how you do it.

    • Figure out what is important: What would you try to accomplish if you found out today that you only had a year, six months, one month, or one week to live?

    • Knowing your “why” can help prioritize.

    • For many with ADHD, everything seems important.

    • Break goals and tasks down into different categories to help find what is important.

    • Start with yourself: self-care, personal growth, physical wellness, mental wellness, leisure, etc.

    • What’s important for your close relationships, like family, significant other, kids, parents and extended family, and close friends?

    • What’s important for your career and financial goals?

  • Create an Action Plan

    • Based off of the existing S.M.A.R.T. acronym, but as it applies to those with ADHD, Eric came up with his own system.

    • Set S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals:

      • Specific, See it: Be as specific as you can when creating your plan.

      • Motivationally Measurable: It’s important to have measurable goals, but motivationally measurable goals are ones that are fine tuned to how you may be motivated. Setting a much easier goal as a starting point can increase your motivation to accomplish it.

      • Actionable: Our longer-term goals should all be interrelated to our short-term goals. Ask yourself what is actionable today that will make any progress towards big goals you may have. Eric mentions writing out, planning, and recording a podcast episode in one day towards the larger goal of creating fifty episodes of a podcast without taking a break.

      • Realistic, Rewarding: Writing a book in one week might not be realistic, but writing one within one year might be. Have the work be rewarding and have rewards be a part of the process.

      • Time, Time-Specific, Time-Limited: When setting goals and working on tasks, have time in mind. “Tasks” should take 30 minutes or less; longer endeavors can be thought of as small projects. Break your goals down into 30-minute tasks and be very specific about what will happen in that time. Establish action-steps along the way, such as planning out what your next step will be.

      • Evaluate, Exercise: Evaluate how you’re progressing in reaching your goals. Exercise is one of the best ways to improve brain function whether or not you have ADHD.

      • Rest, Review: Reviews can happen after each week, month, quarter, and year. Leave margin room to allow yourself to rest. Sometimes less is more; prioritizing ten projects might leave you finishing none of them, while focusing on each of three large projects for months at a time will more likely see you accomplishing them.

  • Create a Goal for Your Systems

    • Because we have ADHD and cannot go through life on autopilot, we need to be intentional about designing and maintaining our systems.

    • Having a good to-do list is great, but the list itself won’t perform work for you.

    • Use the to-do list to help remind yourself of what needs to be done, what should be focused on, and to provide a framework for prioritizing.

    • Track your time within each system.

  • Track a Goal

    • Create a star chart for yourself.

    • Eric uses a star chart to track his sleep goals in order to be home on time.

    • Just the act of tracking a goal will improve performance towards that goal.

    • Create a grid comparing five or six weeks with their days. Find goals that can be definitively accomplished with a “yes” or “no.”  Upon completing a goal, mark it off with those words on the grid.

  • Use a Calendar

    • It’s important to see our time, so Eric uses a calendar that breaks time down to fifteen-minute increments, though calendars on different scales will be necessary for being able to see schedules for larger periods.

    • How your calendar is set up will depend on how your life is set up. Your system can be as simple or complex as your life is.

    • Applications Eric uses include Calendars 5, Google Calendar, and iCal.

    • Put in big things, appointments, birthdays, special events, quarterly reminders to review your goals, etc., all into the calendar.

  • Have Accountability

    • Piece together what we know to do and what we actually do.

    • Often, with ADHD, we can know what to do without doing it.

    • Accountability helps people to move from good intentions to actions.

    • Sources of accountability can come from friends, coaches, therapists, or a Facebook community group (ADHD reWired Facebook community group), as examples.

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