How to Set and Achieve Your Goals When You Have ADHD

photo (7)At the end of May, I joined a group to train to run a half marathon. On the first day of training, we were all given a training schedule. That piece of paper laid out exactly the number of runs and the distance I needed to do every week for the next 16 weeks. When I got that training schedule, I felt a surge of positive energy. I felt empowered. The information on that piece of paper was the key to achieving my goal: to run a half marathon.

When you are an entrepreneur with ADHD, setting goals is one of the keys to success. However, goal setting isn’t always easy when you have ADHD.

Some ADHDers don’t like to set goals because they have set goals in the past, and then they’ve been disappointed if they didn’t achieve the goals. Others find they are so busy fighting daily fires, that taking a even a few minutes to plan impossible. And some people just aren’t sure how to set goals.

This week I challenge you to set a goal. Here are the steps:

1. Identify one long term goal. (Just one for now.)

It needs to be really clear. How will you know when you have achieved it?

2. Set a time frame.

I find a 12-week time frame is good for ADHDers.

3. Break your big goal into weekly mini-goals

4. Break mini-goals into action steps.

Goals are great, but they can seem lofty and overwhelming. When you break goals down into small action steps, it’s very clear what needs to be done.

To use the running example: one week my a mini-goal was to run 40k, which sounds like a lot, but when it was broken down to:

  • one long run, 21k
  • one 8k run
  • run up and down hills 8k
  • one slow 3k run

it felt do-able.

If one of your action steps seems overwhelming or you find yourself procrastinating, break it down even more.

5. Identify time to work on those mini-goals.

This step can trip us up because we don’t always know how long something is going to take. For my training, I blocked out time on Sunday and Monday mornings and Wednesday and Thursday evenings. However, the time I spent running varied within those times.

When you are running your business, you have built your reputation based on quality work. You don’t want to rush something and compromise standards just to meet your mini-goals and timeframes. That being said, when you have ADHD and a deadline, you can achieve almost super-human feats. The great thing about settings goals is that you are in charge. They aren’t imposed on you by someone else. It’s ok to allow yourself some flexibility

6. Review mini goals weekly.

In these reviews you can see how you are doing, plan what you are going to do next week, tweak the amount of time you need to spend working on your mini-goals, etc.

7. Celebrate!

photo (8)When you reach your mini-goals and big goal, celebrate!! Setting goals and achieving them helps your self-esteem and confidence. Even if you don’t achieve it in the way you thought you would, it’s a huge achievement. Congratulations!

Jacqui Sinfield is an ADHD Coach and author. You can find more from her at

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