How to Follow Through on Your Goals When You Have Mental Illness

This post may contain affiliate links. This means, if you make a purchase from a link on this page, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can find our entire disclaimer here. 

Tell someone else!

Struggling to follow through on your goals is something I am well versed and could likely write a book about. 

“How to not finish anything…ever.”

could be the title and it could walk you through how I’ve started and stopped at least half a dozen projects in my seeming short life. 

But in learning why I gave up so many, I figured out I have an underlying mental illness. Plus, I’ve learned all the things you need NOT do to follow through on your goals. 

Mothering the storm Facebook group

Click Here to Join the Mothering the Storm Facebook Group! An Encouragement Group For Parents who have ADHD and are also caring for an ADHD Child!

And since list-writing is one of them, I made you a list of things you should do to improve your ability to follow through on your goals. Especially if you have a mental illness.  

how to follow through on your goals, despite ADHD. Meet your goals even with mental illness. Follow through. Lacy Estelle, Mothering the Storm

1. When it comes time to set your goals, stick to things you already know or are eager to learn about. 

For instance, if you barely wear makeup and hate doing your hair don’t decide to go to school for cosmetology. Reasoning that it’s a quick degree and you believe you can make steady money. 

That, for lack of better word, is dumb. It is daunting to think about pursuing something that could take years to create, accomplish or master. But it will be that much more rewarding if it’s something you love or are eager to learn about. 

2. Understand your weaknesses; It will be helpful in using your strengths. 

When you are trying to follow through on your goals, knowing where you can easily veer off course is critical. It’s also vital to understand how you can use your strengths to stay on the path. 

For instance, if you know that you are really good at designing things, and making things look pretty. But you’re not so good at completing paperwork that needs to be filed; use your strength to reward your weakness. Give yourself a reward system for finishing what you need to do, rather than focusing only on what you enjoy. In other words, design after all your paperwork is completed.

When it comes to goals, there are always things you wish you didn’t have to do to complete what you want.

When a person signs up to run a 5k they likely just want the medal and job well done at the end. But they will have to train, get a physical and fill out paperwork that allows them to attain their actual goal. All things they may not have anticipated doing. Luckily for them, if they accomplish those, finishing the 5k will be a breeze. The medal and job well done will come with so much more pride. 

3. Create a Vision Board 

The first year that I created a vision board, one that I looked at often and on a regular basis, was the year I finally followed through on my goals. 

It was detailed and had visual markers for not only what I wanted to do but also see. One included a printed report of my credit. I had taken a red pen and crossed off every debt and written 0.00 over the balance. By the end of that year, I had done that. I knew that the vision board had done its job. It’s job was the inspire me every time I looked at it to stay on task toward my goal. 

4. Treat your Mental Illness (if you have one.)

I imagine if you are reading my blog you are like me and have ADHD. Or perhaps you are similar to ADHD people who struggle to follow through with goals.

Regardless, understand that staying in denial about your mental illness doesn’t help you, it hinders you. It inhibits your progress. It’s like not wearing glasses when it’s clear you have a vision problem. While you may be able to compensate and still accomplish what you set out too, it will be much more difficult if you are battling something internal. Especially if you don’t recognize it contributing to your struggle. 

Acknowledge your mental illness and then get proper treatment. This way it no longer stands in the way of your goals.

Signs you may have an untreated mental illness include: Struggle to control your temper or often feeling like your failing. A deep sense that you just can’t do things others find easy to do. You might be physically overweight, fatigued or in pain. You may get overwhelmed easily or have thoughts of suicide. All of which are reasons to seek outside help. 

5. Follow through on your goals is more natural with passion fueling your purpose. 

When I said in the beginning that it’s critical to choose goals based on your interests, it’s also easier to follow through on your goals that fulfill your moral purpose. 

If your passion is teaching others or talking to other people about something you love then base your yearly goals around that. 

If you find yourself in love with taking pictures but also want to lose weight, try this: Creatively allow yourself to go running down a scenic path. Stopping to take photos along the way. By doing this you could trick your brain into enjoying the exercise. 

I write because I love writing. My purpose is educating people about ADHD and mental illness. It’s also my purpose to empower women who are in toxic relationships due to mental illness. So I write, and sometimes writing feels like a chore but because I get to write about things I love, it doesn’t. 

6. Start using a Bullet Journal

Ryder Carroll created an amazing and straightforward analog system for scheduling yourself, your year, and your goals. I’ve recently taken a considerable interest in this system. So many people in the mental health advocacy market are raving about it. 

You could even take my Free ADHD Goal Planner pages, cut out the shapes and graphics and glue them into it. You can check out more Bullet Journaling tips and tricks on YouTube. But in the meantime, it’s a great way to help you follow through on your goals. 

Don’t throw in the towel from one small (or large) failure.

It’s easy to screw it up and decide that it’s not the right time, your not the right person or that you simply can’t do it, yet. 

What’s much harder is to keep pursuing your goal despite setbacks. 

No journey is straight. Especially not the journey to success. Keep going even when you mess up. Give yourself rebound time. Time for your self-esteem to recover from the hit, and get back on track.

I have a saying in our household: Everything takes longer than we think it does. It’s true for people with ADHD, but it’s also true when it comes to attaining your goals. Keep going. 

LacyEstelle with Empowered Mom Life and Blogger Lacy estelle naturally combatting ADHD

Share this with all your friends that you know are Goal Getters! Together, we can do amazing things!

Products You Might Like: 

Read Next

Join The Facebook Group!

2500+ Parents
& Adults living with ADHD