Podcast Episode #8: 5 Tips to Setting and Achieving Goals

No idea how to set or achieve goals? I feel ya! Here are 5 practical tips you can apply today to get started on crushing those goals!

[00:00:00] Welcome to the I Have ADHD Podcast where it’s all about education, encouragement, and coaching for adults with ADHD. I’m your host, Kristen Carder and I have ADHD.

Let’s chat about the frustrations, humor, and challenges of adulting, relationships, working, and achieving with this neurodevelopmental disorder. I’ll help you understand your unique brain, unlock your potential and move from “point a to point b.”

Hello, my friends, and welcome to the, the ADHD podcast. Episode number eight! I’m super pumped to be with you today, except for the fact that I just recorded an entire podcast and then deleted it because I was really boring and I’m not really used to being boring. So as I was listening to it, I was like, [00:01:00] oh, who is this person? And I was totally judging myself. Um, it was a really boring podcast and I’m just not about that life. You know what I’m saying? Like, I have ADHD, you have ADHD. Ain’t nobody got time to be boring. So we are just going to do a do-over, even though I’m supposedly for work in one hour.

I totally have time to record, edit and publish a podcast and get ready for work. Right. Obviously my sense of time is fantastic. So there should be absolutely no issues here. Okay. So I want to start off by reading a really sweet and heartfelt message from somebody who reached out to me on Instagram. Now, if we haven’t connected on Instagram, I would love to be your friend.

Uh, you can look me up at, I have ADHD podcast and please, please, please feel free to reach out to me. I love connecting on Instagram. So [00:02:00] this really sweet woman wrote and she said, hi, there. I recently discovered your podcast and it really touched me. I wanted to thank you for creating it, and I hope you get the recognition you deserve.

I am 21. I have ADHD and I’m struggling to set goals for myself and actually know what it is that I truly want. I have all these ideas in my head, but procrastinate and never apply myself to them all my life. I’ve been told that I’m creative and have so much potential, but I never applied them. It’s so difficult and frustrating for me because I want to accomplish something, anything in this lifetime.

I guess the reason I’m reaching out to you is to find ways to actually set goals for myself and act on them. So that one I’m happier in my own life self. And that to my relationship with my boyfriend becomes what it used to be. How do you achieve goals or even make them, and how do you maintain that confidence and drive to do so?

Oh, [00:03:00] my word, who can relate to this haven’t we all felt at one time or another that we just are not measuring up to our true potential. I think that is one of the most identifying characters of someone with ADHD. It is so, so difficult in his amazing book, taking charge of adult ADHD, Dr. Russell Barker. Is just, I mean, he’s amazing.

And he talks all about what it means to have ADHD, the treatment options for ADHD, and then also how to manage life with ADHD. I highly recommend that you just shut this podcast off and go get his book, read it, apply everything to your life, and you will, you will achieve everything that you want to. I promise.

Okay. But if you don’t feel like shutting this podcast off, I am going to give you five steps [00:04:00] for achieving your goals. Now, these are tried and true. I’ve used them in my own life. I consider myself to be a very high functioning ADHD, or not that I don’t struggle on a daily. I do, but I’m awful also. Well, I can’t speak, but that’s okay.

I’m also a successful company owner. I’m a mother of three. I have a hobby of singing that I get to do regularly. So there are things in my life. Dreams that I have been able to work out, but that was not always the case when I was in high school and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

It was nearly impossible for me to visualize what the future would be like. I spent zero. Time, imagining the future. I spent zero time trying to think through what I wanted to do. I really could have used an ADHD coach or a therapist. I wish I had one. Unfortunately at the time I didn’t even have a diagnosis.

So an ADHD coach or a therapist was the [00:05:00] last thing on my parents’ mind. Right. So they kept asking me, where do you want to go to college? What do you want to do with your life? And I did not know. I had no idea what to tell them. Um, I was happy. Cool. I didn’t really think about the future. And so to try to imagine the next step was really difficult.

I was a smart girl that was considered lazy and unmotivated, and, you know, I had the potential to go to a good school, but really not the drive. It’s really hard to have motivation and drive when you don’t have clear. Goals. So I ended up going to school for vocal performance, and that is a really interesting college, uh, journey choice, but that’s what I chose.

So I spent, um, five years getting a dual degree and, um, You know, even during that college period, I did not visualize the next step. What’s going to happen after college. What career do I want to have? I didn’t know. [00:06:00] Um, and my parents were kind of like, okay, well singing’s not really a marketable trade, so what’s your plan.

I didn’t know how to answer them. I didn’t know what to do again. I could have been. A therapist or a coach or a mentor to come alongside me and be like, girlfriend, you’re sweet. You’re cute. You’re smart. But you don’t have a pathway. You don’t have, um, you know, steps lined out to achieve a goal. Now I was trained classically in college.

So when I graduated from college, really, the only pathway for me was to, uh, audition for roles. And that was really strange, like for opera and. I only went on a couple of auditions and it was very, very quickly that I realized I don’t want to do this. And so looking back, I spent five years and tons of money on a degree that I didn’t even have a visualization and an end goal for, [00:07:00] I did not want to be an opera singer.

Um, and so that could definitely be considered. A partial failure in my life. I don’t allow myself to think of it that way, but if you want it to, you definitely could. And it all stemmed from the fact that I did not have the ability to visualize and dream. Figure out where I wanted to go in a realistic manner.

I ended up teaching voice and piano lessons and, um, you know, I started my own business and because that’s really what I’m meant to do. Uh, I know that now, but I didn’t know it at the time. So I started my own business, teaching students out of my home. I had 24 students at one time. Um, and that’s a lot and it was great.

It was wonderful. Um, you know, once I was in it and doing it, I realized, okay, this is rewarding sometimes, [00:08:00] but there’s only so many times you can hear a seven-year-old play. Mary had a little lamb that, you know, before you lose your mind. And so that only lasted about six years that I was able to maintain that business because it just was not rewarding enough.

Okay. So that’s another. Piece of my story where you could look back and say, well, that didn’t really work out well, that’s not true. I just decided to pivot because I realized that that was not what I was meant to do. And in the last five years, I’ve really been able to develop a vision for my life. Now, if you have.

Listened to the episode on living with a vision. I highly highly recommend it. It was a very soulful episode from the bottom of my heart. And, um, I think it would be really helpful to you if you feel like you’re floundering, but really now, Um, I’ve really developed the skill of looking into the future [00:09:00] and figuring out what I want and then working back from there and creating a pathway for myself.

So I want to help you with that. And so here is tip number one. The first thing you need to do is identify your goals. Now, if I had done this in high school, or if I had done this in college, it would have saved me a lot of time and effort and money. It may seem obvious, but it is not those of us with ADHD often walk around with a fuzzy vision of the future.

It’s really, really important that as you learn about ADHD, you understand that your ability to have a clear vision for the future is very deficient. And that just is what it is. So make sure you spend some time visualizing what you want the future to look like. You may want to employ the help of an adult ADHD coach or a therapist, or a [00:10:00] trusted mentor or friend who can help you think through.

So to my Instagram friend who just sent me this message, the number one thing I would say to you is spend days or weeks or months trying to figure out what you want your future to look like. What do you want the picture of your future to look like? If you could cut your future, um, you know, pictures out of a magazine and paste it onto a board, what pictures would you cut out and put onto that board?

What do you mean. Your future to be number two, you need to then assess these goals. Are they reasonable? Are they specific? Are they attainable? So we can have dreams and goals. But often what we do as ADHD years is we make these a lofty goals such as I’m going to record a podcast episode and get ready for work in the next hour.

But let’s not mention that. So we [00:11:00] make these lofty goals and then we don’t actually take any steps to pursue them because they’re just too big. So for example, I have a dream to make a million dollars in my local business here in Pennsylvania. I’ve always wanted to make a million dollars in my local business here in Pennsylvania.

But when you say make a million dollars, that’s like that’s. Not even a real number. Do you know what I’m saying? It’s like, that’s not attainable. That’s never going to happen. Why should I even bother? So my real goal is not to make a million dollars because it’s just not realistic based on our gross sales from last year.

$250,000 is a really good goal for 2019. And so that is my goal. It’s not a million dollars, but it is a quarter of a million dollars. So that’s kind of fun to say, and that’s what I’m strategically working toward. I want my business to thrive. I want it to grow and I want to be able to support my family with it.

That means that we need to make good money, a [00:12:00] million dollars would be awesome. And I can sit here and dream about what that would feel like. But realistically speaking, I’m not going to be strategic about trying to make a million dollars because it is so far away from me that there’s no way I can even pursue that.

However, $250,000 I think is really, really doable for us this year. And so that is what I’m working on. Does that make sense? So maybe your dream is to lose a hundred pounds. You wish that you were a hundred pounds lighter and you sit around and you think about what it would be like to be a hundred pounds lighter.

But honestly, is that attainable in 2019? I mean, I’m no health coach, but I don’t think it is right. So maybe your goal for this year is to lose 30 pounds, which would be amazing and an attainable goal, for sure. Maybe your dream is to be a famous. But you can’t become a famous author until you finish that book that you’re writing.

So your goal is to finish your book, right? [00:13:00] Maybe you dream of getting a promotion at work, but that’s pretty general. It’s pretty broad. So make it more specific. You could set a goal to finish the next three projects. Thoroughly and on time, do you see how that goal directly impacts the bigger dream? So it’s really, really important that we assess our goals and we modify them if need be again, this is a great exercise to do with a coach or a therapist or a mentor or a friend.

The third thing, once you have. Um, set your goals. You’ve envisioned the future. You know what you want out of the future. Then you have assessed the goals to make sure that they are realistic. You can manage them in the next year. The next thing is to write them down and put them somewhere visible. I cannot stress.

How crucial this step is goals that are well, [00:14:00] intentioned are easily forgotten because we are controlled by the now you and I, we have ADHD. This is a neuro developmental disorder that affects the way that we interact with stimulus around us. Anything. That comes into our line of vision is immediately seen as important.

Any notification that pops up our phone is immediately seen as important. A typical brain does not do this, which is totally unfair. A typical brain is able to assess whether or not something is important and. The unimportant thing aside so that they can stay focused on their goal. The ADHD brain does not do that.

And so we have to put our goals in front of us. We have very, very poor working memory. This means that we forget things so easily, even things that we want to do so badly. This is why a lot of us end up living the same life. Year after year after year after year, without making any improvements, because we [00:15:00] have the inability to assess what’s going on and remember what our goals are.

So write your goals down. I’ve even seen people write out a vision board with their goals and they include pictures so that they can visualize what they want to do. And this is what I would highly recommend for my friend on Instagram. Once you’ve figured out what you want, write it out on a vision board, cut pictures out so you can visualize it.

Imagine yourself in those pictures and every day, maybe every hour of every day, you’re aligning yourself on that vision board. It’s like creating a Pinterest board for your. What do you want out of your life? And before you make any decision, you go to that Pinterest board and you say, okay, where are my pins?

What do I really want? What do I really want to do? You need to create that Pinterest board for your life, so that when you are assessing how to spend your time, who to spend your time with what to read, [00:16:00] what to watch on TV, what to do with your life. You need to refer to that book. For direction. It is so, so, so important.

Now I’m trying to write out my goals every day, the same goals over and over and over and over. I want to remember my goals. I want to journal them. And I went to my journal before recording this episode and I realized that it has been over two weeks since I’ve done. I mean, I’m smart. I’m high-functioning and yet I forgotten to do the thing that I know is going to help me to reach my goals.

Do you see how ADHD messes with us? Even the best intentions are easily worded. We need to give ourselves every opportunity to succeed and putting goals in a visible place is part of that. Okay, now this next one is taken directly from Dr. Russell Barkley’s book, taking charge of ADHD. And in it, [00:17:00] he describes how people with ADHD do not have the ability to self-talk.

And in order to move ourselves toward our goals, we have to develop positive self. One thing I didn’t realize about us ADHD years is we don’t have the same ability to self-talk that our neuro-typical friends do. I didn’t even know that neuro-typical people actually have this skill. Totally not.

Apparently neuro-typical children learn to self-talk out loud as they play, and then they begin to internalize it in adolescents. They develop the skill of being able to chat with themselves about the situations or decisions or rewards or outcomes. Like what the heck? I did not even know this. I’m super, super jealous.

Now. We’re not able to do this in the same way. An ADHD brain is not able to do this and whatever, that’s fine, but we can begin to self-talk out loud. [00:18:00] Which I know sounds crazy, but once you’ve made realistic goals, you need to coach yourself to make sure you stick to them. For example, my call this morning was to record this podcast before going into work this afternoon, but my kids were home because of snow this morning until 10 30, the dishes hadn’t been done.

Literally, I’m still in my sweat pants right now while my kids were having a snack before school, I started like this sing song. You think to myself, I was like, I need to stay focused. I’m super scattered. I want to record a podcast, but I’m not sure how I’m going to do it. So I’m just gonna make myself do it, do it, do it.

And I was just being super goofy. My kids were like laughing and rolling their eyes at the same time, but it was helpful to me because I’m looking around this. And it’s messy right now. And I was thinking, um, oh, I should take care of the dishes. Oh, I should clean up. [00:19:00] So that we’re prepared, you know, for later, oh, I need to take a shower, but no, my real goal for today is to record.

And publish a podcast episode. And so I did that little sing song and chant, and I got myself into position to be able to accomplish my goal. My goal is to get a podcast episode out every Thursday. It’s a really hard goal to stick to, but I. Will not let myself flounder on this and I will not let myself get out of it.

I will not kind of go a wall and just like avoid it because it’s hard. I refuse to do that. So I do my positive self-talk you can do it. This is important. Just get it out. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Self-talk is also really important when you’re stuck and you don’t know what to do. And I use this all the time.

If I’m stuck on Instagram and I know I’m going down the rabbit hole of death, you know, and I’m just like, I cannot stop [00:20:00] scrolling. I will say out loud, Kristen, you’re a grown woman. Get off of Instagram last night. I did a little self-talk after spending an hour on Instagram and I left my phone in my bedroom and went downstairs to watch TV with my husband so that I would not.

Continue to go into the eternal vortex. That is Instagram. I also use this when I’m getting ready for work. There’s about 45 steps that I need to take an eight in order to get out the door. Right. And so I will often say out loud, okay, what do I need to do? I need to be leaving for work at 3:00 PM. That means I need to get in the shower at two 30 and I just kind of talk myself backwards so that I make sure that I can do what I need to do.

If I have a million things on my mind, but I’m working towards a deadline, I will say out loud. I do not need to look at my text messages right now because I have to get this report done for my client. If I don’t get the report done, I will lose money on this client because I will [00:21:00] not show up prepared.

And that will really help me to stay focused because I need to speak. The reality of what’s going on. I need to be able to verbally express what is happening and assess it. People with neuro-typical brains, do this naturally. We are mad at them because that is totally unfair. I know, it sounds crazy to talk to yourself out loud, but I don’t think you should care about that at all.

I really, really don’t because honestly, most of that is going to be done in the privacy of your own home or your own car or your own office. And, um, once in a while, I’ll do it at work in front of people. And I will just say, I need to take a stop and think moment because I’m really overwhelmed. And because I’ve educated, the people around me.

About the neurodevelopmental disorder that is ADHD. Um, they’re really cool about it. They’re really, really great about it. It’s just one of the ways that you [00:22:00] can show people that you do have a disability, but you are working toward being healthy. Okay. The last step in achieving your goal is this. You need to identify the specific reward that will come with reaching your goals.

That is huge, huge, huge. This could have been number one because we, ADHD years are super focused on rewards. Right. We cannot do anything that does not give us immediate gratification, but. I’m actually leaving this at number five because we first have to identify our goals. Make sure they’re realistic, make sure we’ve written them down.

Make sure that we are positively talking about the steps that we’re taking. And then we can add in the rewards that we are going to experience. Okay. So rewards are really, really important. So let’s talk about them for a minute. Obviously. When you achieve a [00:23:00] goal, you’re going to experience a reward. But when you set a goal and you know that that’s going to take you weeks or months, or even years, that reward being.

Weeks or months or reward or years out is way too far away. Okay. ADHD friend, we need immediate gratification. All right. So having a reward that’s like a month away is way, way, way too far out. For example, if you, our goal is to get out of debt and your reward is going to be the financial freedom that comes with that.

You need to. Recognize that that is awesome. And that is huge. And it’s going to be amazing. That is going to feel amazing and you need to kind of live with that. But at the same time, every day that you make good financial decisions, you should reward yourself. You should find something that you can reward yourself with, whether it is.

Putting money in an [00:24:00] account to do something that you want to do with, you know, that’s not getting out of debt related or even just like treating yourself to a Starbucks or going to a move, whatever the case may be, figure out a reward system for yourself. So that even though yes, you will eventually experience the long-term reward that comes from crushing your goal.

You still need that daily, immediate feedback. So to be totally, totally, totally vulnerable with you. I checked. The ratings and reviews of this podcast every single day, because it is such an effort to put out this material that your feedback and your ratings are my reward. It is the feedback that I get from you.

That makes me feel like I should keep going. That makes me feel like, wow, this is something really worthwhile. And so. You’re rating this podcast and me being able to watch that number climb. It makes such a difference for [00:25:00] me. It gives me such a blast of dopamine that even though, you know, I have this goal of, um, doing a podcast a week for a hundred weeks.

That’s my goal. My reward daily is interacting with you on Instagram, getting the podcast, ratings and reviews. So if you want to press pause real quick and go ahead and give me a rating or review, that would mean so, so, so much to me, I thrive off of it, but I digress. Okay. Moving on. I’m going to walk myself through this exercise of assessing and setting and achieving goals so that you can see an example.

Now I’ve been wanting to work out regularly for the last five years, which is really sad, but I’m not kidding ever since my third child was born and I knew our family was complete. I’ve been wanting to work out regularly, but it is so hard for me. I feel like I’m just like debilitated. I can [00:26:00] not do it.

I’m not playing with you. I have some sort of major block in this area. I just it’s wintertime in Pennsylvania. Um, but even when it was summertime, I just, I love to sleep. I don’t want to wake up early. I have three kids that need me. Um, and I just, I don’t feel like my time is my own. And so when I do have time to myself, I don’t want to spend it working out.

Side note, if you are a health coach, please do not reach out to me. I do not need an online health coach. Okay. I do not want to join a multi-level marketing thing. I appreciate you. I love you. I hope you’re listening to me on this podcast. I hope that your business is thriving, but please don’t reach out to me about meeting my fitness goals.

Please, please. Don’t please. Don’t okay. So here we go. My dream is to be totally fit and muscly by bathing suit season in June. And I can imagine how that would feel. I can imagine how I would [00:27:00] look, but. When I assess this goal, I don’t think it’s realistic at all. I don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to working out.

And honestly, my body is kind of scrawny, like putting on muscle is just nearly impossible for me. So my overall goal is to be totally fit, totally muscly. But when I assess that goal, I say, you know what, probably not going to ever happen. However, A realistic goal for me would be to move my body every day.

Sometimes, or some days I may have time for a true, you know, long workout, but other days I’m only going to have time for a quick walk around the block, but I know that I have 10 minutes to give, to moving my body. I mean, if I spend hours on Instagram every day that tells me I have time to work out. So I can write that goal down and I have done this, but it hasn’t stuck.

I’ve stopped and started and stopped and started [00:28:00] with this goal. So many times I can’t even count. I feel like a complete failure in this area. And honestly, even talking about this in my brain, my brain is telling me right now, why are you bothering? Why are you even going to bother set this goal? It is totally done.

Failed at this over and over for 37 years, you think you’re going to start now and be successful, but guess what? We all have that negative self-talk and I’m just going to push it to the side. Okay. One of the problems for me in this area is that the reward is too far out. There’s no immediate gratification for me with working out every day.

It’s just not there. Summer bathing suit weather is five months away. So that reward is really far and also. On the flip side, the consequence is really far out. So, you know, if I, the consequence of not working out as you get to bathing suit season, and you’re just, I’m a little flabby. And guess what? [00:29:00] That consequences so far out that I don’t really care.

Honestly, it is February. The ground is covered in snow. I’m freezing and I can wear sweatshirts every day. So I don’t really care about. The fact that my body can be, will be flabby in five months. Okay. It’s too far away. The pain of that consequences too far away. So here’s what I’m going to do. And I can’t believe I’m going to say this.

I’m going to set up my own consequence and reward system for myself to make sure that I reached my goal. Now, remember, my goal is not to be in total perfect muscly shape by June. That’s not my goal. Instead, my goal is to move my body every day. So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to set a rule for myself, which I’m really good at doing.

I will not go on Instagram until I’ve moved my body in some capacity every morning. Now I’m an Instagram addict have [00:30:00] already mentioned it like 14 times in this one episode, I’m an addict. So there’s my motivation. There is my immediate gratification. Those of you who connect with me on Instagram can hold me accountable to that.

I am going to move my body every day before I go on Instagram. Now, again, this might just be a quick walk around the block. It might be a 10 minute yoga session in my family room. It might be a full on workout. I’m going to honor whatever I choose to do. And I’m also going to honor the fact that I don’t actually need to go on Instagram.

Like immediately when I wake up, I can wait. I can put it off and I can get up earlier and move my body a little bit. So I hope that might me taking you through these steps with myself, help you to visualize or envision how you can do that for you. Think about what you’ve always wanted to do, [00:31:00] decide if that’s realistic, if it’s not make a more realistic goal, put that up in front of you somewhere, make sure that you can see it.

If you want to go a step further, put pictures next to it. So you can visualize yourself in those pictures and then make sure that you talk to yourself about these goals. I know who I am. I know who I want to be. I am the person who is going to move her body every day. That’s just who I am. And so when I wake up in the morning and I want to reach for my phone instead, I’m going to reach for my phone.

I guess, I don’t know. Oh my gosh. I’m so scared. I’m actually like sweating right now. I’m scared. Hopefully I can do this. Okay. And then set a reward that is an immediate gratification. Do not. Be fooled into thinking that if your reward is tomorrow or next week or next month or next [00:32:00] year, that you will have the motivation to stick to the goals, you will not decide who you want to be and be that person on purpose to not just live your life.

Willingness to. Floundering floating from one thing to the next floating from one goal to the next floating from one relationship to the next floating from one career to the next. That is no way for you to be living your life. You are worth thinking through you are worth determined. A course and a path.

Remember a vision is a picture of where you want the end destination to be. So go back to that vision episode, listen to it again, come back to this episode and write down your goals. Make sure that you are talking to someone. A coach or a therapist or a mentor, or a friend who can really help you accurately assess your [00:33:00] goals and make clear steps toward being the person that you want to be.

I totally believe in you. And I do not believe in my ability to move my body every day, but I’m still setting it as a goal and I’m going to do my very best and I will give you updates along the way. I hope you have an awesome day. I am so glad that I was able to finish this podcast before work today. I now have 15 minutes to shower and get out the door, but I believe in myself because I have procrastinated every day of my life.

And now I’m amazing at getting things done quickly. So have a great day. I will see you next. Hey, I wanted to pop in here just for a second to let you know that this episode is brought to you by my brand new website, I have adhd.com. I designed this site for adults, with ADHD, who feel a little lost and are looking for some direction on it.

You’ll find free resources, [00:34:00] a link to my Facebook community, and a roadmap to help you move from point a to point. Remember, I’m not a doctor, a psychologist or a psychiatrist. I’m just a person with ADHD who has figured out how to achieve my goals and live successfully with this disorder. And I’m convinced that you can too, so make sure to check out I have adhd.com.

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