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Embracing the New Year: A Values-Focused Approach for ADHD Adults

As the calendar turns to January, opinions on New Year's resolutions vary widely—some relish the opportunity for a fresh start, while others recoil at the idea. Personally, I welcome the reset that January brings, a chance to recover from the year-end hustle and reflect on the past while envisioning the future.

My approach to goal-setting has evolved over the years. Initially relying on SMART goals, I soon discovered their limitations. Setting them felt like a yearly ritual, yet the results were elusive. I needed a more dynamic, values-focused strategy that allowed flexibility and clarity.

Now, my process is rooted in values, emphasizing visualization, flexibility, and clarity. The goals I set are supportive options, not rigid rules. Recognizing the unpredictability of life, I've created a system that adapts to curveballs, varying energy levels, and unforeseen challenges.

Here's my process:

1. Values Assessment: Values, distinct from goals, are the guiding principles shaping decisions, behavior, and priorities. Think of values as a compass, steering you through life's milestones. Explore various values assessments to pinpoint your top 3-5 values, reducing decision fatigue and providing clarity for the journey ahead.

2. Reflect on the Past Year: Reflecting on the past is crucial. Answering thoughtful questions helps gauge alignment with values, identify neglected areas, and celebrate achievements. This self-exploration sets the stage for intentional growth in the upcoming year.

Here are some questions to help guide you through this process - pick and choose which are helpful for you. These are options, not requirements.

  1. How did I move towards my values this past year? How did this make you feel?

  2. Which values, if any, were neglected? How did this make you feel?

  3. What steps did you take to align your actions with your values, and how can you continue to do so in the future?

  4. What were the positive experiences or accomplishments that brought you joy in the past year?

  5. In what areas did you show resilience and strength when facing challenges?

  6. How did you demonstrate self-compassion and understanding during difficult moments?

  7. What new things did you learn about yourself, and how did this knowledge contribute to your growth?

  8. What are some moments where you felt proud of yourself, regardless of the scale of the achievement?

  9. When did you step outside of your comfort zone? What was the outcome?

  10. How did you prioritize self-care and well-being, and what positive habits did you cultivate?

  11. What were instances where you effectively communicated your needs and boundaries to others?

  12. In what ways did you contribute positively to your relationships and the well-being of those around you?

  13. How did you handle mistakes or setbacks, and what did you learn from these experiences?

  14. What do you want to do more of in the new year compared to last year?

  15. What do you want to do less of in the new year compared to last year?

3. Vision Boarding: For those with ADHD, visual reminders are invaluable. Create a vision board using tools like Google Images, Pinterest, and an app like GoodNotes or Canva, or go the old school paper, magazines, and glue route if that works better for you. Place these reminders where you'll see them frequently—on your devices, mirror, office, or fridge—to keep your priorities in focus.

4. Brain Dump - Short Term: Translate your vision into short-term goals. Utilize brain dumping to outline where you want to be in the next three months. This step serves as a bridge between your vision and the actionable steps required for success.

For example, I want to create a mini-course on “How to support ADHD kids” by March 2024. This is helpful, but there are so many steps that go into this, which brings us to the final step. If i leave it at this stage, it won't get done, which takes us to the next essential step.

5. Breaking Things Down: Avoid procrastination and overwhelm by breaking down goals into manageable monthly tasks. Visualize your progress on a whiteboard, turning your larger objectives into smaller, achievable steps.

For example, my goal of creating a mini-course is broken down into the following months. January - outline & braindump course content; ask a friend to give feedback on outline. February - create PowerPoint for the course March - record the course & launch.

In embracing this values-focused approach, you free yourself from the pressure of rigid goals, allowing for adaptability and growth. Now is the time to embark on a journey that aligns with your core values and propels you toward a more fulfilling year.

If you're ready to transform your aspirations into reality, I invite you to book a discovery call. Together, we can unlock your potential, define your vision, and set the stage for a year filled with purpose and accomplishment. Take the first step—your future self will thank you.

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