ADHD and Goal Setting: Performance Goals Versus Learning Goals
Are you an adult who experiences ADHD? If so, you’re not alone. ADHD Adulthood estimates there are over 10 million adults in the US who experience ADHD symptoms.
If you struggle with ADHD, goal setting is a great way to achieve all that you want to in life. You can keep on track each day instead of losing focus. But there’s more than you may think to the goal-setting process.
There are two different kinds of goals you’ll need to consider when deciding on what you want to achieve–performance goals and learning goals.
Let’s look at performance goals first.
About Learning Goals: It’s Time for a Journey
Let’s explore a scenario to help explain why learning goals are so important (the journey to your performance goal).
Let’s say you make the performance goal to go on a date at least once a month. Let’s also say that you do a great job of regularly meeting that once-per-month minimum.
But what if, at the same time, your dates aren’t really that great. Perhaps, you struggle to communicate, slightly mumbling to each other over a meal at a nice restaurant each time you go out?
Anyone who saw you might conclude that you don’t look exactly stoked to hang out together for the evening. It may even feel like you’re just performing a duty.
Is the date a success in that case?
By performance-goal standards, yes. After all, you met the criteria of at least one date per month. But was the date really a success which should be your ultimate goal?
Arguably not. Even though you met your performance goal, you missed the point of going on dates in the first place.
After all, the goal of dating is to improve your relationship. That’s where learning goals can help.
The goal to date at least once a month is a wonderful and admirable goal. However, if you leave it there, it could wind up being ineffective.
Along with setting your performance goal to achieve dating consistency, you’ll benefit from setting a learning goal pertaining to successful dating.
You could set the learning goal of reading one book over the course of a year on the subject or three blog articles per week. Then, you could make the goal to practice something new you learn each date.
Balancing Performance Goals and Learning Goals
You practice learning goals often without realizing it. Yet, you could get discouraged because you haven’t achieved your performance goals like you wanted.
But it’s important to remember that a proper balance of learning and performance goals are what you need to accomplish your dreams.
Learning goals give you the wind in your sail you need to arrive at your performance goals (destination). You simply won’t get there without them.
However, somewhere, there’s a balance. If you don’t set performance goals along with your learning goals, you could wind up forever sailing around aimlessly and never reaching your destination (performance goal).
Even though you experience ADHD, by setting goals, you may be on a surer path to success than someone who doesn’t have ADHD and is “just winging it.”
Struggling to find purpose and success through goal setting? Our counseling services or coaching sessions may well be the extra boost you need to get to where you want to go. You can either book an appointment or set up a free consultation.
Schuyler Cunningham, LICSW, BCD
Washington, DC Center for Neurocognitive Excellence LLC
One of ADDitude Magazine’s Top ADHD Clinics in the Mid-Atlantic Region!
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