This is the time when many of us like to sit down and take stock of the past year so that a new and improved plan of action can be launched in the New Year. Of course, it’s easy enough to jot down a list of areas that we want to focus on such as health, career, family, finances, etc. However, implementing the plan and staying on target can be challenging – especially if you have distractibility issues such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

People with ADHD quite often fall into the “squirrel syndrome” by getting sidetracked by the sights and sounds of external distractions. Internal distractions can also send them off on a chase with so many thoughts in their head competing for attention.

One obstacle to goal setting is not establishing clearly defined objectives. Often we think about vague goals without really committing ourselves to anything. This makes it difficult to establish a plan of action and use it. Years ago, George Doran, a business psychologist, developed a well-known acronym for setting goals called S.M.A.R.T. This is how it breaks down:

S = Specific: Be specific about the goal including who, what, when, where and why.
M = Measurable: Know how you will measure and track the progress of the goal.
A = Achievable: Be realistic about how attainable the goal is and whether or not it is out of reach.
R = Relevant: It’s important to have goals that tie into your objectives and have a positive impact on your life.
T = Timely: Time management for goals is easier to achieve when given a due date.

Tips for Setting Goals

• Make a list of 3-5 things you want to accomplish. The smaller the list, the better your chances of success.

• Think about why those goals are important to you and what the motivation is to accomplish them.

• Prioritize the list with the most important goal being at the top.

• Break each goal into smaller, more manageable steps.

• If possible, start with a goal that can be done quickly. This will help put the “cycle of success” into motion by providing you with motivation and a sense of accomplishment.

• Consider talking to a mental health professional who can help you make an effective action plan and work toward goals, while providing much needed support.

For more tips on how to develop a plan of action, read the blog post on Setting Goals for the New Year.

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