The Trick to Accomplishing New Year’s Goals

It’s that time of the year where one year ends and a new one begins. It’s tradition to stop and reflect on the prior year and set some goals for the new year. In my coaching practice, I’ve come to realize setting goals is really not that difficult.

And planning really is not that difficult either when you really get down to it. It’s really just about breaking down some things and putting them on the calendar according to what you need to do by certain dates and times. The challenge comes with executing the daily tasks in order for you to actually accomplish your goals.

What I’ve learned over the years in coaching those with ADHD is that the key to achieving anything is to focus on the process, the daily execution. If I can help someone understand what that is, they can execute the plan and achieve their goals. Often at this time of year, we make New Year’s resolutions, and with good intentions, we set our goals and the plan for the year. But our intentions fall flat because we don’t realize the environmental things that need to be in place or the tools necessary to execute the tasks.

Many times, I’ve shared some insight that often clearing out clutter is acknowledging your attachment to that item and dealing with it, not just throwing it in the trash. Exercise is one of those things that people focus on, but if you look at it characteristically, it’s a repetitive, boring, routine task, and this is a challenge for those with ADHD.

More often than not, exercising is a secondary activity that takes place while you are doing something else that stimulates your brain… whether it’s in a group with a personal trainer or watching TV, reading a book, listening to a podcast. In other words, there’s something that’s engaging your brain that’s enabling you to execute the goal of getting in shape.

This New Year’s, if you’ll sit down and decide what you want to do, I encourage you to acknowledge it’s not about the goal or the task; it’s what is necessary in order for that to get done.

It’s rare that I make a pitch for coaching in a blog or a newsletter, but basically my business is helping people execute what they’d like to do. If you’re really serious about what you want to accomplish this year, I really encourage you to break the things down and address what’s there. Answer the hard questions and set yourself up for success. If you need some help, coaching is always an option to help you understand it.

It’s not really about accountability; it’s about the process and understanding the environmental things that will help it make it easier for you to manage your working memory deficit and help you self-regulate. Happy New Year!

4 thoughts on “The Trick to Accomplishing New Year’s Goals

    1. Anchor it or combine the activity with something that is interesting. Exercise is often a secondary activity to being social, listening to a podcast, or in some gyms people-watching. Same for household chores. The trick is to manage your environment to manage yourself. Thanks for commenting.

  1. This is great stuff, as always, Jeff. And I’m gonna steal (well, quote) the middle four paragraphs, cuz they really nail the matter. Reminds me of “forget the goal — just work your SYSTEM, and you’ll GET to the goal!” Which requires us, of course, to HAVE a system…to discover what works for us! Thanks!

    1. Ahh… you “get” it. Often, focusing on the goal in the ambiguity of how to get there or the lack of clearing out obstacles to get there leads to emotion. For some, emotion manifests as shame and blame. As Laura MacNiven says, you can’t treat ADHD through the lens of blame and shame. The trick is to identify what is DIFFICULT in executing a plan towards a goal and address that. Get around what is difficult in the process and it is amazing how those with ADHD activate. Thanks for commenting.

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