You may be at a point in your life where you don’t know what you will do next. Especially when unexpected changes come up, which aren’t always easy to embrace when you’re autistic.
It is important we remember that each goal, no matter how great or seemingly insignificant, takes time and a decision each day to work towards what you want in life.
We can accomplish everything we want as long as we look at our goals as actionable realistic steps.
We are who we decide to be and setting goals is part of how we create the life we want.
Types of Goals to Set
We may have multiple aspects of our lives we want to grow, change, or simply enhance our happiness.
Our greater goals may look so far away as we work towards them each day, that we wish there was a movie montage allowing us to skip ahead and see what becomes of our hard work.
Every success story starts with someone waking up one day and deciding who they want to be and relentlessly pursuing it.
The people we admire also had to start from the very beginning, set their goals, and work towards those goals every day.
Let’s talk about what types of goals we can set as an autistic adult.
Short-term goals help us decide which direction we want our lives to go.
Setting goals for the short-term can range from one week to six months.
As autistic adults, we respond best when goals are direct and concrete, so it is important for us to make detailed plans and actionable steps.
Daily goals can include anything from taking some personal time, spending more time with friends and family, getting more exercise, eating healthier, and so forth.
We can also apply our daily goals towards our bigger long-term goals.
If we have a goal we’d like to accomplish, such as cultivating our special interest, our daily goals will be vital to making that happen.
Scheduling and routine can help those daily goals become a reality.
We can break our daily goals down even further into moment goals.
If we encounter a situation, we can choose how to respond in the moment. Our responses can be a small step towards our overall goal.
What do I mean by this, you might ask?
We may have a personal development goal to create peace in our lives, learn how to validate ourselves, or to stop dwelling on our past mistakes.
When we want to learn how to unmask, moment goals are how we create the ideal low-stress unmasked life we want.
Our decisions in each moment collectively add up, which is why moment goals are vital to creating the life we want.
We all know long-term goals are important for us to think about, however, since they are so far away, it’s easy to get discouraged.
There are many types of long-term goals we can set.
We can start by going over a few types, and how they apply to us as autistic adults.
Our personal goals can include self-improvement, health, special interests, and many others. These are just a few personal goal ideas.
One of our long-term goals might be to get a particular job as a specialist.
We might have always had an interest in carpentry, welding, crane operating, becoming a scientist, working as a doctor, finding a government job, graphic design, web design, being a musician - there are so many options.
Whether we want to work for ourselves or work for someone else, there are endless possibilities.
Special Interest Goals
Our special interest goals might be the most rewarding and fulfilling.
When you have an interest you are passionate about, cultivating a skill within your special interest might be a worthwhile goal.
Even if your special interest is more about enjoying life and things that bring you joy, instead of providing a skill, these are worthwhile goals as well.
If we don’t have a special interest, we might have a goal to explore different activities until we find something we are passionate about.
Many people may think realism means pessimism, but that is not always true.
Being realistic allows us to see opportunities from a more attainable perspective.
If we set ourselves up for impossible goals, we will only blame ourselves when we can’t reach those unattainable goals.
Certain goals may be unattainable through no fault of our own.
Being Realistic Can Be Positive
When we look at our goals from a realistic perspective, we can accept when things don’t turn out the way we planned.
One way to reach our goals is to learn when we need to readjust.
Every person you admire made mistakes on the way to their accomplishments, but they kept trying until they found something that worked.
Being realistic with our goals can be a wonderful positive thing for us.
Being Honest with Our Limits
Being honest about our limitations is not a negative thing either, and in fact, it can help us succeed.
We all have limits and things we aren’t good at. Even the people you view as the most brilliant have limitations and areas where they struggle.
If we are honest about what our strengths and struggles are, we can learn how to craft a life that works with what we are good at, instead of trying to force ourselves to be something we are not.
Embracing Our Strengths
Once we take an honest look at what our struggles are, we can focus our energy on what we are good at.
Embracing what we are good at can allow us to find a path in life we would enjoy and find fulfilling.
Creating Our Goals
When we create short-term, daily and moment goals, we lead ourselves down a better path each day.
Our long-term goals are the destination, but our daily and moment goals are how we get there.
Carefully crafting an authentic life may be our key to happiness.
How to Set Goals
Writing Our Goals
Sometimes the best place to start is to write our goals.
Whether we prefer typing our goals into a device or writing them by hand, either way will work.
Our goals don’t have to be listed in any specific order. Simply writing a stream of thought will work too.
Sorting Lists of Goals
Once you have a list of goals, go through them to find the common themes.
We may have a group of goals that are all related, and we can use those groups as the foundation for creating our short-term and long-term goals.
How to Set Goals Example
As an example, let’s say someone has an overall goal to write and publish their first novel, along with an idea for what they would like the book to be about.
There are many steps needed to get to this goal. Perhaps they need to improve their fiction writing skills by reading books about writing novels, taking a course, or writing several short stories for practice. This could be one of their short-term goals.
Once they’ve improved their skills, they can create a story outline for the book. They might not have every detail mapped out yet, but they have a general idea of what they would like to write about.
Over time, as they write their novel and are ready to publish it, they can do so. Publishing their book could be their long-term goal.