ADD ADHD and Goals-Can We Use Them? — ADD Tip O the Day 578

Goals are important, whether we have ADD ADHD or not

In prison ministry, we notice that many of the men do not have the concept of goals other than short term “I want this now”.

Goals help us with focus, planning and setting priorities, and motivation, all of which are issues with ADD ADHD.

Very short-term goals would include the to do lists, and we feel satisfaction when we get something done, which gives us more motivation to move on to the next thing.


When I list longer term goals, it’s useful to write down the steps I need to do to move towards them. This is  the concept of “small steps”, and also motivates me and helps me get moving.

My goal is to become a better guitar player, but my immediate step is to learn to play a G chord using my little finger. It’s hard.


My long-term goals need to be aligned with and reflect my values. I try to check them every six months and see if how I’m spending my time is congruent with those goals and if I’m making progress.  Again, under each goal. I list things I can do to move towards it.

Here is Scott’s great strategy from his comment:

I like to make a list of things that are important to me; Marriage, Work, Exercise, my Boat, dealing with ADD, etc., and then under each heading I write some things that I can do to help with that. Sometimes these are things I do once and they are done, like finishing a specific project. Sometimes they are ongoing things, like remembering to use specific strategies for dealing with my ADD. Then I put that list in a place, like on a wall, where I will see it on a regular basis, so it reminds me of those things that are important and what I can do to support those things in my life. Throughout the year I may update my list if I think of something appropriate, come up with a new strategy, or finish a project that is on the list. Sometimes I put a date next to a crossed out project and that allows me to see progress, but it isn’t a to-do list. It is more like a reminder of what I consider important and how I plan on achieving that.

Reasonable Goals

We ADDers tend to set goals that are impossible, always overestimating what we can do and being unable to assess how much time we have to do it in. This leads to demoralization, procrastination, stagnation, and inertia ( Is that a little repetitive?)


Set goals a little under what you can achieve. When you reach one, you can always cross it off and set a new goal (Does this sound a little un-American? Or just un-ADD?).

Some of my current goals include losing weight (but I hate to think of the steps that are involved), being a better husband, and producing quality blog posts.  We’ll see how it goes.


Bonus Thought:

Writing this, I realize I also tend to set too many goals – prioritizing is another ADD ADHD issue.

Bonus Links:

Homey has a different viewpoint on goals for ADD ADHD

Goals 1

Goals 2

Goals 3

ADD,ADHD,attention deficit,adult ADD,adult ADHD,benefits,gifts,controversy,controversies,add controversies,adhd controversies,hearing,auditory,auditory processing disorder,resolutions, goals

Goals: More New Year’s Resolutions


About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at, or (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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15 Responses to ADD ADHD and Goals-Can We Use Them? — ADD Tip O the Day 578

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  5. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me says:

    Thanks for a great post. I am glad you talked about how ADDers overestimate what we can do. I think we also tend to underestimate what is really involved in accomplishing tasks – at least I know I do. And my Husband. It sounds like a simple fix, but it’s not. It’s the way we’re wired and it certainly makes life difficult if you end up doing things like missing deadlines, arriving late for things, etc.
    Love what I’ve read here so far – looking forward to more!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Scott Marckx says:

    Thanks Doug,
    This is a great post! My wife suggested setting goals you almost can’t fail at, like walk for 5 minutes. It gets you out the door and then, if you are enjoying it, it turns into a nice walk, but if it is not going well it is easy and there is no guilt after you finish the 5 minutes. A friend has one of just entering the door of the gym. If he does that and doesn’t feel like working out, no guilt, goal accomplished, but that almost never happens once he gets in the door. Maybe these are more like the steps toward the goal…
    On the guitar, a good thing is to remember that this is fun, and maybe find a way to make that obvious, like playing music with other people who appreciate the learning adventure of it, or going to a music camp. Enjoying the process, I think, is more important than the end goal. It is what we have right in this very moment. Finding ways to remember the joy of the process is a great way to achieve even the longest term goals.
    Thanks again for your great blog that helps me remember to keep plugging along!
    All the best,

    Liked by 1 person

    • scott -your wife had a good idea, fail proof goals. you can always do more.
      i like your idea of guitar is fun, not work or a chore or even a challenge i need to meet, and its the process, not with an end point.
      glad the blog is helpful, thank you for the feedback and as always, for commenting.


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