Setting goals is an essential aspect of personal growth and achievement. However, for Autistic people, goal-setting can present unique challenges. That's where our autism life coaches come in. In this blog post, we will explore how our coaches can help you work on setting goals that reflect your unique needs and aspirations.
Understanding your needs and aspirations
Our autism life coaches understand that everyone has different needs, priorities, and aspirations. Before setting goals, we take the time to get to know you and understand your perspective. This includes:
Discovery: Your coach will talk to you and get to know you. They will help you identify your strengths and interests. By applying this knowledge to the more challenging areas of your life, your coach will be able to help you come up with goals.
Collaboration: Your coach will connect with you, your family, and anyone else in your support network who you'd like to include. Maybe you don't know what to work on next, but your friend can remember something that helped when you were younger. Your coach can help turn this idea into a fresh, updated goal that fits your life the way it is now!
Customization: Your coach will tailor their approach and tools to your specific needs and preferences. There are so many different ways to get where we want to be in life. If one idea doesn't feel right for you, your coach will help you come up with a new one.
The Benefits of setting goals with an autism life coach
Setting goals with an autism life coach offers many benefits. Here are some of the ways we can help you:
Clarity: Our coaches help you clarify your goals by breaking them down into specific and achievable steps.
Focus: Our coaches help you stay focused on your goals, providing support and guidance along the way.
Flexibility: Life is full of unexpected challenges that drain our energy and make it hard to stay on track. Our coaches work with you to adapt goals when necessary without losing sight of the big picture.
Setting SMART Goals
One of the key principles our autism life coaches use for setting goals is the SMART framework. SMART goals are:
Specific: Goals should be clear and concise, focusing on what you want to achieve. If your goal isn't specific, it can make it harder to focus on the goal or cause you anxiety over unclear expectations.
Measurable: Goals should be quantifiable, enabling you to track your progress. You can use these measurements to make a cool spreadsheet or graph if you want! If you're into that kind of thing, a good old-fashioned sticker chart could even be fun!
Achievable: Goals should be feasible and manageable, considering your strengths and limitations. It's important to remember that determining whether something is achievable is mostly subjective. If something seems "probably doable," that's good enough. If you would have to harm yourself to accomplish a goal, it is not achievable. The goal "read a whole book every night" is not achievable because that's when you need to sleep!
Relevant: Goals should be meaningful and aligned with your values and aspirations. The more you can connect a goal with your special interests, the better.
Time-bound or Timeframe: If having a deadline like "by the end of summer" helps you feel motivated and focused, then it's a good idea to include it in your goals. But if it just causes you anxiety, you can think of your goal as a habit and aim to do it regularly within a given timeframe. So if "finish painting by April" feels too stressful, you could set the goal "work on painting one hour each day."
Using this framework, let's imagine that someone wants to get more exercise. This goal is a good intention, but it doesn't meet the SMART criteria, so it will be unnecessarily difficult to achieve. Assuming that the person has the time and physical ability to do so, here's how they can make this desire into a SMART goal:
Specific: Get more exercise by doing what? Walking
Measurable: What amount of walking? 30 minutes
Achievable: Is this "probably doable"? Yes, enough time and energy
Relevant: How does this connect to my interests? Listen to my favorite podcast
Timeframe: By when or how often?
By asking these questions, the goal "get more exercise" becomes the SMART goal "Walk for 30 minutes each day while listening to my favorite podcast."