Creating Realistic Goals

Today on the show we’re talking all about building realistic goals into your life. After a quick review of SMART goals, we’re diving deep into what it means to approach attainable behavior change that sticks!

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We’re not big fans of “resolutions” around these parts. Living with ADHD, the stereotypical resolution is a recipe for frustration that doesn’t address the heart of the New Year energy: driving a change in your behavior over the long term to change something meaningful in your life.

This week on the show we’re talking all about building realistic and attainable goals for the new year. After a quick review of SMART goal setting, we dive in deep on crafting goals that lead to sustainable change, rewarding transformation rather than one-off success. Join us… and bring a pencil: It’s time to create some change in your life!

Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete Wright: Happy New Year, everybody, and welcome to Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast on trustory.fm. I’m Pete Wright, and right over there is Nikki Kinzer. Hello, Nikki.

Nikki Kinzer: Hello, everyone. Hi, Pete. Happy New Year.

Pete Wright: Oh, did you have a good one? Did you do all right?

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: Did you make it through your vacation? Did you miss me too much?

Nikki Kinzer: I did. That’s why I’m here right now.

Pete Wright: That’s why we’re here right now. It’s hard. We were talking before, we started about how hard it is, I think, to take a vacation. Well, that there is this whole… It takes practice. It takes time to get into it and figure out how to do it and really start to reap the rewards of it such that when you come back, if you finally find you’re getting good at it and you are feeling yourself getting back into the mode of capturing, recapturing energy, that there is sorrow. There is a different kind of sorrow-

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: … coming back to work. It’s not like, “I missed work.”

Nikki Kinzer: [crosstalk] Right. It’s not the work.

Pete Wright: Like, “I missed hanging out with you and podcasting and hanging out with our community.” Totally. Yeah. But, the idea like, “I was just getting good at this other thing.” Right? I was just getting good at being a part of a different kind of universe, which is hard.

Nikki Kinzer: There’s something about just being able to know that, “Well, I have tomorrow. I have the next day.” I have a few days and in front of me where I’m not scheduled to do anything where I could get some of this stuff done or do nothing or whatever. And so yeah, it was a great break and I do highly recommend that people [deplug] too, because I did go off of social media-

Pete Wright: I noticed that.

Nikki Kinzer: … and really try not to-

Pete Wright: You were a ghost.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes and I really tried not to look at my email too because that would stir up a little bit of stress. Like, “Oh, I need to get back to this person.” I’m like, “No, my out of office is on. They know when I’m returning. It’s okay.” You have to have those conversations with yourself, but-

Pete Wright: Every day. That’s part of the mindfulness practice. It’s just actually telling yourself, "Okay, I know how to do this. I have put the pieces in place to manage my life without me in it.-

Nikki Kinzer: Right. I can take a step back.

Pete Wright: … I can afford to do this emotionally, intellectually, cognitively. I can decrease my load here because I’ve done the right things." I have to remind myself that’s my constant anxiety is what is going on when I’m away. Like, something is falling apart.

Nikki Kinzer: I know. Yes.

Pete Wright: It’s always falling.

Nikki Kinzer: Someone’s going to be mad or I don’t know something.

Pete Wright: That’s right.

Nikki Kinzer: But, we are here.

Pete Wright: Yes.

Nikki Kinzer: We are back and it’s 2020.

Pete Wright: That’s right. Do you want to talk just a little bit about what we’re going to do for the first six weeks or so this year?

Nikki Kinzer: Well, it doesn’t start today. It is something that we’re going to end up doing after today. Because today, we had to do a little bit of pre-planning.

Pete Wright: Yes.

Nikki Kinzer: I wanted to talk about goals and setting up realistic goals. Today, we’re going to be talking about that because I think the realistic piece is the part that we’re really going to emphasize on today. But going forward in the next few weeks, we are going to do a workplace type of theme, series, right?

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: Of the workplace. We’re going to talk about different subjects, different topics that people in our discord have been asking questions about. We’re hoping to get a few guests to come on and join us, to join the conversation with us. We’re still working on what those topics are going to be and what the outline is, but it is definitely going to be all around the workplace. We want people to stay tuned and know that’s what our focus is going to be.

Pete Wright: Right. And so much of that was part of, was an outcome from our Q&A episode at the end of last year.

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely.

Pete Wright: Which so many questions came in related to ADHD at work. We have some folks lined up or just working on scheduling right now.

Nikki Kinzer: Exactly.

Pete Wright: Scheduling is hard because everybody’s back to work and the New Year’s-

Nikki Kinzer: Well, I took vacation and I didn’t do any scheduling while I was on vacation.

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: I had to do it all this week. Here we go.

Pete Wright: We are back at it. We’re very excited to be back at it. Before we get started today in our conversation about goal setting, setting great goals, head over to takecontroladhd.com, you can get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to the show right there on the website or subscribe to the mailing list and we’ll send you an email each time a new episode is released. You can connect with us on Twitter or Facebook, @takecontroladhd, and we have this Patreon thing. We love Patreon so much. We love Patreon for a few reasons.

Pete Wright: The first is it is an incredible community of people who are coming together to learn more about their ADHD, about how they live with ADHD and about developing the tools and resources and accommodations with the support of one another. We also love Patreon because if the show has ever touched you, it is a way for you to touch us. That sounds weird. You don’t have to actually touch us, but you can reach out to us via Patreon and for a few bucks a month, you can join this community and you can, if this is the sort of thing that matters to you, you can actually give us a few bucks a month and know that you’re supporting the ongoing development and the ongoing time that Nikki and I put into this show every single week.

Pete Wright: We just realized sometimes numbers actually hit us and this morning we hit episode 415. That’s 415 episodes of ADHD and very early in our careers, organizing podcasting that is all available to you. So, patreon.com/theadhdpodcast, join the community support, the ongoing development of this show. We deeply appreciate your participation there.

Pete Wright: We’ve talked about this topic. I was looking through our history and we have talked about goal setting before. Goal setting is an important part of, it’s an important part of accommodations that lead to living with ADHD. Can you start by reflecting just a little bit about why you’re coming back to goal setting here and how you’re thinking about goals has changed over the years or if it has?

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. Well, it definitely has because I am certainly one of those people and I’m sure there are lots of them listening too, where you set goals and you said all the goals at one time and you hope that they’re all going to come to you at one time and they don’t and it’s very disappointing. You kind of feel like you’re on this hamster wheel over and over and over again each year or each time you set new goals. The reason I really wanted to talk about it right now is because it is the New Year, but this is not a show about New Year’s resolution.

Pete Wright: No.

Nikki Kinzer: I want to make that very clear. You can listen to this show at any time during the year and I hope you find it beneficial because it’s not about New Year’s resolutions pre se.

Pete Wright: Can I interject there? Because I have a question about that.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: I have a question. I’m raising my hand. Nikki Kinzer, why is this not a show about resolutions?

Nikki Kinzer: Well, because I think that the expectation is so high when you think, “Okay, it’s a new you, it’s a New Year, it’s a time to transform, I’m going to do again, I’m going to do all these great things that I’ve been wanting to do.” You end up doing them for a day or two or a week and then they go away because they’re not habits at this point. It’s a very frustrating situation. What I want to do is I’m making it not a New Year’s resolution show because I don’t want that expectation there. I don’t want that pressure there that, “Oh, it’s already January 10th and I haven’t done anything. I might as well just not try anymore because I’ve already missed 10 days of the New Year or whatever.”

Nikki Kinzer: Again, I think that it doesn’t matter what time of year it is. We all want to set goals for ourselves. That’s a good thing. Whether you have ADHD or you don’t have ADHD, the issue with ADHD is that we tend to want more quicker, right? We want it now. We don’t want to wait. We want to go big or go home. The waiting piece is difficult.

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: The breaking it down is difficult to do. It does, when you have ADHD, it adds a different layer where goals can become very unrealistic even though in your heart you think they are.

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s I want to show some light or put some light on is that let’s set these goals but set them in a realistic manner.

Pete Wright: Can I tell you a story? I heard… With your permission, it’s a side story.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: It’s about gyms, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Oh, yeah.

Pete Wright: New Years, it’s one of the biggest resolutions that people set for themselves is I want to go to the gym. I’m going to get fit this year. I’m going to do my thing. I was listening to the story on Planet Money that came up and it was on the economics of today’s gyms, modern gyms, that the subscription price has fallen through the floor. Like, you want to join whatever, one of the corner store, big box gyms, it’s, what is it, 10 bucks a month, 15 bucks a month, 20 bucks a month, whatever. Their economics are such that they need you to one, sign up, and two, never show up.

Pete Wright: Here’s why, because they asked the manager of this gym, “How many people could feasibly come in here when you’re at max capacity with all of your equipment and everything?” Everybody’s using everything. He said, “300 about.” And they said, “How many subscriptions do you have?” 6,000.

Nikki Kinzer: Oh, my.

Pete Wright: Yes. In order to keep the thing profitable based on the economy of gyms right now, they need you to feel like you are setting your resolutions. You’re signing up for your yearly program and then you don’t actually show up. The economy is incenting you to fail, right? They need you not to show up. That’s why when you walk into these, the brand new modern gyms, right, they come out, they used to be so proud of all of their equipment. Right? That you’d have the barbells right up front and the ellipticals right up front. Now, when you walk in, they did a tour of one of the newest of these gym facilities and there was like a smoothie bar right in the front. Right?

Nikki Kinzer: Of course.

Pete Wright: There’s a place, a social place. Because really what they want you to do is come in, buy yourself a gym smoothie, feel like you’ve gotten the satisfaction, the dopamine hit of satisfying your goal of going to the gym. You did go to the gym, you drink your smoothie and then get out because they can’t afford you to stay there very long. I think that is fascinating. I’ve been noodling on that about when I think about my theme for this New Year and the goals that I want to set up within that overarching theme. Are the goals that I am moving toward, are they smoothie goals, right?

Nikki Kinzer: That’s good. Yeah.

Pete Wright: Are they goals that just give me the dopamine push or are they goals that actually encouraged me to go through the second set of doors and find accomplishment?

Nikki Kinzer: That’s right.

Pete Wright: I don’t know how that’s going to manifest, but I find it fascinating.

Nikki Kinzer: I like the whole thought of is this a smoothie goal?

Pete Wright: Yeah. Right?

Nikki Kinzer: That’s good. I like that. Yeah, it’s very good. Well, one of the things that I want to do is review smart goals.

Pete Wright: That’s a favorite.

Nikki Kinzer: It is a favorite and it’s one of those things that I know for me personally I get sick of looking at because I’m like, “Yeah, I know. I know what smart goals are.”

Pete Wright: Yeah, right.

Nikki Kinzer: But, they really are smart. I do want to review what they mean because it does help when you are setting up realistic goals is to go through this process and make sure that your goal is a smart goal. I’m going to do that very quickly.

Nikki Kinzer: The first one is the S from smart. S is specific. Whatever your goal is, you need it to be very direct, detailed and meaningful. It has to be specific. You got to know what you’re doing.

Nikki Kinzer: Measurable is the M. You want to track your progress, you want to know when you succeeded, you want to know what those milestones look like, what progress looks like, right? We want to know how are you going to measure this?

Nikki Kinzer: A, it has to be attainable. This is where we’re going to talk about today is how realistic is this? Do you have the tools that you need? Are you starting with the right amount of goals? Are you starting small? Which is a big thing that we’re going to be talking about. Are you starting with one thing at a time? All of these things we need to think about, is it attainable for me to actually get this goal?

Nikki Kinzer: The R is relevant and I think this is really important to ADHD is you have to connect your values and your motivation to your goal. We’ve talked about this a little bit at one of our last shows in 2019 with motivation, is that you’ve got to connect those values. You’ve got to look at what is important to you, to your goal. That’s going to help with your motivation so it has to be relevant.

Nikki Kinzer: And then, time-based. It needs to have a deadline. I think that there is a saying somewhere that a goal is just a dream if it doesn’t have a deadline, it goes on the shelf or some. I can’t remember what the thing is, but it’s basically saying that if you don’t have a deadline, it’s just going to sit on the shelf.

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: It is important that we pay attention to our goals. I think that’s the biggest thing with ADHD is remembering them, paying attention to them, having them in front of us and focusing on one thing at a time. This attainable piece, where do you fall? I’ve already shared that I fall into I want everything to happen at once.

Pete Wright: Yeah, I really do. That is a huge challenge for me because, and I think generally with ADHD, the attainability part is the thing where I will go one of two directions. One, I’ll want the whole thing and I want it now. If I can’t have it now, in the back of my lizard brain, I will go back to bed or binge something else or whatever. Or, I will fall into an unhealthy hyper-focus where I will find myself so attentive to breaking down the attainability into a sprint goal. I will achieve it and then I will never do the thing again. Right?

Nikki Kinzer: Right, yeah.

Pete Wright: I’ve use my example of pull ups, like I did the pull up challenge years ago and I could do 20 pull ups in a row without touching the floor. Years go by and now, once I achieved that, I was done. I achieved that. I met my goal, but I never actually got to the integrative part, which is the next step. I think for me, that’s a huge challenge.

Nikki Kinzer: Well, that’s a really good point because when we look at smart goals, we’re looking at measures. Right? We want some day to be able to track your progress. I think that there are different kinds of goals out there. There’s the goals that really do have a start and an end, right? Like, “Okay, I want to organize my garage.” Which I have to tell everybody we started doing during this my vacation.

Pete Wright: Can I?

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: Can I ask though, did you repair the ceiling?

Nikki Kinzer: Not yet.

Pete Wright: I love that still exists there.

Nikki Kinzer: That still exists.

Pete Wright: Prior episode, go back and listen to Nikki’s attic story.

Nikki Kinzer: I’ve cleaned up everything underneath.

Pete Wright: Good, the debris.

Nikki Kinzer: Like the parts of the ceiling that fell.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. That’s all cleaned up. Yeah.

Pete Wright: Okay, good.

Nikki Kinzer: Anyway, sidetrack. Right. That does have sort of a beginning and an end, but then there’s a maintenance piece to it. Right? Even though we may get to a point where, “Okay, we’re good with this. We can park our cars, whatever.” There’s still a maintenance that we have to talk about so it goes further. If you’re trying to do pull ups, you had a very, like when you do a challenge, you had an end result or an end goal. Right? Which resulted into a hundred pull-ups a day.

Pete Wright: No, sorry. I don’t want to be. 20 in a row and that’s I’m shot for a couple of days. So, yeah. Anyway.

Nikki Kinzer: Well, pretend. 20 to 100-

Pete Wright: Yeah, let’s pretend that I can do 100.

Nikki Kinzer: … wherever you fall. But, I think you do make a really good point. It’s like, “Okay, so am I done with this or do I want to make this more of a lifestyle? Do I want to make this into something that’s more of a habit into a daily thing that I’m going to do pull ups every day?”

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: I think that when you are thinking about your goals, that is probably a very important thing to be thinking about is what happens after you feel like you’ve accomplished it. Do you ever get to a point where you’re fully accomplished or is it just always progress? Because I know like with me living a healthy lifestyle, there is no end result. It’s just a matter of me feeling better. Am I doing the things that are important to me that are going to take care of me? That’s an ongoing thing, but it is a goal.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: We do have to break that down. I think that’s part of where I want you to start is to think about what it is that you really want. When you sign up to do a challenge, what is that you really want from the challenge?

Pete Wright: Right. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Is it just saying?

Pete Wright: Is it a behavior change or is it a one-time accomplishment? I think the behavior change is the thing that’s so hard for ADHD, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Oh, terribly right.

Pete Wright: It’s knowing I have to integrate this into my life. Like, I can find… At some point, this is the infinite typewriter’s, infinite monkey’s conundrum. Right? Eventually, they’re going to type everything in the world. Eventually, living in my house long enough, I will find a hyper-focus groove to accomplish all the one-time chores, all the one-time attainable goals.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: Eventually, it’ll all get done, right? In the infinite times game. But, changing the way I live so that I am better attuned to do things when I want them and how I want them to be done and not relying on just luck and happenstance to get them done, that’s the hard part.

Nikki Kinzer: It is. That’s where the work has to come in. That’s where the planning has to come in. The focus, all of that.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Breaking these things down. I think that one of the biggest issues that I see with clients, especially when I first meet with clients at the very beginning and they feel like they have a lot they want to work on, they don’t know where to start because they want to do everything. Right? They want everything. What we have to do too is really zero in on what’s bugging you. What are the areas in your life that’s keeping you up at night? Maybe you need to talk to somebody about this, talk with a partner about, “I really want to work on this part of my life. Let’s break that down together and see what that looks like.”

Nikki Kinzer: What would have the biggest impact on you right now? We want to be very specific. If you’re looking at ADHD characteristics, symptoms of ADHD, things that you would like to work on. For example, it’s not being late to work anymore. Okay. That’s a specific thing. You want to make sure you’re not late to work anymore. That has an impact on you. It has an impact on the people that you work with. It’s keeping you up at night because now you’re worried that you’re going to miss your alarm, right? I mean all of these things could be happening. That’s what we want to look at is just getting you out the door on time. We don’t need to look at time management as a whole. We don’t need to look at everything that has to do with time and productivity and everything. We’re just looking at that one piece.

Nikki Kinzer: We want to break these things down. If you’re looking to lose weight, if you’re looking to train for a marathon, organizing your home, whatever it is, we want to break these things down. And then, what is the one area that you can work on? If you’re losing weight, can you just focus on your diet right now, your nutrition, and not worry about exercise? I will tell people exercise, and I care this because it’s something that I care about, so that’s why I’m sharing it. If you are looking to lose weight, look at your nutrition first because the process is 80% your food, 20% exercise.

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: You got to get your food right first. Don’t try to do both.

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: Especially if it’s overwhelming, but get the food right and then bring in the exercise. That’s how you can bring that, break that down. Does that make sense?

Pete Wright: That’s a really important thing to say and using the exercise. It’s a great example and it’s a thing that I think a lot of people misunderstand. If they’ve never tried and failed enough times to actually ask this question, “Why am I not losing weight? I go to the gym every day.” Right?

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: It is because they haven’t gotten to the point of asking the question, “Is there something else going on inside me with this process and chemistry that if I don’t change what I eat, I’m not going to lose weight. In fact, I can lose weight and a lot of weight by changing what I eat and not going to the gym at all.” Right?

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: That’s a really important thing to be aware of that the exercise is great for your heart and your lungs and your brain and all of those things. But, the food is what really predominantly defines you’re living with the weight that you live with on your body. Right?

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely,

Pete Wright: Those two things. You can do those things separately and you should do them both.

Nikki Kinzer: Well, that’s it. You don’t have to do them both at the same time.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Look at what is going to have the bigger impact? Your nutrition. Absolutely. Which is what you just said. Also, I’ve been doing intermittent fasting now for seven months and that’s been really helpful for me, but I’ll tell you, intermittent fasting is also not going to make you lose weight if all you’re eating and the time that you’re allowed to eat is a bunch of junk food.

Pete Wright: Exactly.

Nikki Kinzer: So again, you have to really think about your nutrition and what you’re fueling your body in that way.

Pete Wright: Well, that begs the next question, which is if you’re not thinking about, if you think about an any goal you’re trying to set, right? Anything to make it attainable, are you looking at the issue from every single angle, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: If you’re not looking at your weight loss goals from every single angle, if you’re only attributing your perception of going to the gym as the thing that’s going to solve this problem, then you’re not looking at it completely and you probably won’t have the success that you’re looking to achieve. What are you trying to achieve and are you looking at it from every possible perspective so that you understand it completely before you start the work, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely.

Pete Wright: That’s the thing that I think we sometimes fail to do. From the ADHD perspective, we failed to do it because in our minds, it’s too easy to finish before we even start. Right?

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: It’s too easy for me to paint a picture in my head that satisfies that dopamine push that I’ve already lost the weight. I’m doing fine. I better go buy some skinny jeans because I’m already skinny in my head and I want to be ready for Wednesday when I’m actually skinny in my bod.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: It’s just everything moves way too fast.

Nikki Kinzer: It does.

Pete Wright: I think taking the time to slow down and practice mindful goal setting is really helpful.

Nikki Kinzer: Well, even with nutrition too, you can break that down to what’s a good lunch?

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: What are some good healthy snacks? Okay, I’m just going to focus on the snacks. I’m just going to focus on drinking more water. You can break these things down really quite small and make a huge impact and difference in your life. Once you’re getting the water down, okay, then I’m going to add some healthy snacks. Okay, well now instead of reaching for potato chips, I’m reaching for some almonds. Okay, this is working. It’s those small steps.

Nikki Kinzer: I think that, I watched this video recently on Facebook and it was really good. It was talking about how, again, our goals seem to have this end point when they really don’t and we’re not recognizing the progress. We’re just assuming that if we don’t get five healthy dinners that week that somehow we have not succeeded. But if we got one or two healthy dinners that week, we don’t look at that. We’re not seeing that as progress. It’s all or nothing. We know that this is a huge thing for ADHD is all or nothing.

Nikki Kinzer: Something I want to really remind folks out there that are listening is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It’s progress. It’s one day at a time, whatever your goal is, you take it one day at a time and you look at that progress. It could be just one more glass of water that day. It could be that you didn’t drink any water, but you know what? You get to do it tomorrow. Now, I’m going to look at tomorrow and I’m going to see some progress by focusing in on that. So it’s breaking it down, paying attention to it and looking at that progress and not looking at it as just an end result or all or nothing.

Pete Wright: I want to take a question because I think it’s a really good time for this that Melissa’s just posted. The question is this, what is a good way to see all of the angles of a goal with ADHD without getting overwhelmed at all of the steps necessary to reach a goal? I think that this is a really timely question for the podcast because it’s easy for us to talk about exercise in this context that this is a thing that that you and I have both dealt with and we both failed enough times at it that we’ve asked that question and we’ve done that research and we know how it works with our own bodies. But, let’s take one that’s not an exercise related goal. Can we can break down a different goal and put some steps in place? What would a practice be to actually see all those angles?

Nikki Kinzer: What I would say, this is where you’re creating your vision of what it is that you want. Right? You’re going back to that question of what is it that I really want? What I want you to do is imagine that there’s a bridge and you’re on one side of the bridge and you’re looking at the other side, right? You haven’t crossed it yet. You’re just looking at the other side. What does the other side look like? You’re not going to worry about how you’re going to get there and we’re also not going to worry about what traffic we’re going to get into when we get over there or when we’re trying to get over there or if there’s an accident that happens and now we’re stalled. We’re not thinking about that yet. We’re just thinking about what is the vision, what is it that you want? What is it that you really want?

Nikki Kinzer: I’m going to go back to the example of I don’t want to be late to work anymore.

Pete Wright: Okay.

Nikki Kinzer: We know that right now, I’m late to work all the time. It’s not a lot. It’s maybe five or 10 minutes, but it’s just enough to bug people. It’s just enough for people to notice. I have to ask myself some questions. What do I see around me? How am I feeling? I want to paint a picture around what my life would look like if I was not late to work anymore. It may be that I’m more calm, right? I have a morning routine. Again, I say that though and I want to be careful that we’re not getting to the how yet. I just want you to look at what you want.

Pete Wright: Well, what does it look like when I get to work, right? When I get to work, I’m sitting at my desk and I have coffee and my resources are ready in front of me. I’m able to start answering my phone and I have a schedule for when I’m looking at my email and all of those things are a state.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: A state of practice.

Nikki Kinzer: You can see that people around you are responding to you well.

Pete Wright: Yes, that’s really great.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. So instead of your boss giving you a glare, they’re actually saying, “Good morning, how are you? How was your weekend? How was your evening?”

Pete Wright: Yeah, right.

Nikki Kinzer: “We have this meeting that’s really important, make sure you know what you need for it or whatever.” Right?

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: So yeah, let’s pay attention to what people, how people are responding around you and how you feel.

Pete Wright: Yeah, absolutely. Write all of it down, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Oh, yes.

Pete Wright: There is something about the process of writing it all down in bullets, right? Because I think that is what allows you to transition to a practice and a checklist, right? Starting to look at the things that you have done that you have achieved in this final vision and then back into what it would take to actually get there. In the exercise example, which I already said I didn’t want to talk about again but I’m going to do it anyway. One of the questions that would come down that I would be writing down is why am I not losing weight in spite of my rigorous exercise routine that I am meticulously hyper-focusing on, right? That question is what eventually led me to come to a better understanding of the chemistry of my body. That comes off of that process of turning an end state into a set of goals.

Nikki Kinzer: Without that vision too, where does that leave you? You don’t really know what you want.

Pete Wright: Exactly.

Nikki Kinzer: So then, what does that lead? That leads to a very unspecific, too broad of goal that we can’t reach because we really don’t know what it is.

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: That vision is really putting all of that together and then you can start, I think what you’re saying and what I would say is now you’re going to figure out how do I get to the other side of the bridge.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: What are the things that I need to do? What kind of action needs to be taken? If you do the same things, this is… Oh, who’s the famous person who said this? If you do the same things, you’re going to get the same results.

Pete Wright: Yeah, expecting different results. Right. It’s the definition of insanity, right? I think it’s attributed to Einstein.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: I’m not sure anymore. I think it’s one of those.

Nikki Kinzer: It’s so true though, right?

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: We can think and plan and do the same things over and over again, but we’re going to continue to get the same results if we don’t get out of our comfort zone.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s the biggest thing and it is uncomfortable to want to go for that vision. Right? Because it is something that we’re not used to, it’s something that is scary and there’s a lot of limiting beliefs that can come forward.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: I’ve tried it before. Why is now going to be any different? There’s so much that could be going on. This is work. This is not an easy thing to do, but we got to start breaking that down and look at what is the action that is required. If you don’t know about nutrition, you got to start doing some research.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: You got to start learning about what sugar does to your body. You have to start learning about what carbs do to your body. You have to start thinking about what happens when you’re dehydrated, when you don’t have the right nutrition. If you are trying to get to work on time, what do you need to do that’s different in the morning? Because something’s not happening.

Pete Wright: That allows you to go through and look at every part of your morning process.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: Part of it may be that your energy is too low. Maybe now you have to look at your breakfast. How do you solve your breakfast? Maybe you have to go get a NutriBullet so you can make an easy smoothie and just walk out the door with a travel mug and have a great breakfast in five minutes. Also, now you need to know where your keys are and now you need to know where your phone is charged. All of those pieces, we’re going to use every part of the Buffalo here, as we start.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: It doesn’t start until you actually document that end state and build your way back into it. That I think is the lesson for me around setting attainable goals is having a clear understanding of what I want to achieve and going through the process of documenting how I’m going to get there backwards. It’s very helpful.

Nikki Kinzer: We have to go back to connecting our values to our motivation. What is driving you to do this? Internally, externally, how is your life going to be different if you have this in your life? What is the cost if you’re not working on your goal? If you’re going to continue doing the same things all the time, the way that you’ve been doing them, what’s the cost to that? We need to put all of those together, the vision, document it and why it’s important. And then, we also need to start documenting the action steps too, right? Because those are the things that get really lost, because if they’re not in front of us, we don’t do them. It’s important.

Nikki Kinzer: Something that I’ve done with a coach that I worked with earlier in 2019 is I write these goals down and as I continue to work on them, because their progress goals, then I’m able to continue to think of ways of how am I going to remember to do this. Do I need to put a glass of water next to my sink so I remember to take my vitamins in the morning? Whatever it might be, you have to have these little tools and triggers and reminders to remind you what those small steps are. That’s part of the work.

Nikki Kinzer: Again, we talked a long time ago about building mini habits. Stephen Guise has a great book about mini habits and how you can start with one pushup. You can start with one healthy meal. That’s really what I believe in, is that you’ve got to start small, build it up and keep recognizing the progress that you’re making. And then when you get to the other side and you feel really good about it, I think you also have to be okay with relapsing. Right? But knowing that you can get back on, that even if you have a couple of weeks when you were on vacation and you didn’t pay attention to this, or you had a couple of emergencies that happened in the morning and you were late, that doesn’t have to determine the future. You can get back into your routines. You can get back into focusing on what’s important and review these things, review the documentation, which is why it’s so important you document.

Pete Wright: Keep it present in front of you. That’s one of those things that goes, I know with ADHD, nothing goes without saying. It also doesn’t go without writing it down.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. You got to remember.

Pete Wright: I have a whiteboard right by my desk here and it’s just something that I keep these goals and themes and checklist that I’m in process. Always just write them down, keep a note open-

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely.

Pete Wright: … so that you can practice this stuff. This is good stuff. What a great way to start our year.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: Hopefully, the conversation inspires some of you to take on something new. Hopefully, in a new way, looking at every part of the Buffalo, every part of the Buffalo.

Nikki Kinzer: Every part of it.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: There you go. In the next few weeks, we’ll be talking more about the workplace.

Pete Wright: That’s right.

Nikki Kinzer: Don’t forget to come back and listen to us-

Pete Wright: Write it down.

Nikki Kinzer: … about the workplace.

Pete Wright: Go listen to Pete and Nikki. That’s it.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: All right. Thanks, everybody. Thanks for downloading. Listen to this show. We appreciate your time and your attention to this fine 2020. Happy New Year and on behalf of Nikki Kinzer, I’m Pete Wright. We’ll see you next time. Right here on Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast.

Through Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright strive to help listeners with support, life management strategies, and time and technology tips, dedicated to anyone looking to take control of their lives in the face ADHD.