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In this on-demand masterclass, Eric will guide you through:

1. How to pick a single, impactful goal

2. Create an actionable plan

3. Build the habits and skills you need to succeed

With real-life examples, practical tools, and guaranteed progress for committed individuals, this session is your first step towards a more organized life.

How to achieve your goals without neglecting the small stuff (evidence-based practices)

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

Are you continually pursuing a single major goal while sidelining the smaller, yet equally significant aspects of your life?


Are you wrestling with the challenge of maintaining healthy habits while striving for success?


Is it feasible to achieve your major life objectives without neglecting your daily responsibilities and smaller tasks?


A few weeks ago, during a webinar I hosted, an attendee asked a thought-provoking question:


One of my issues is that I tend to have a one-track mind and focus on one major goal at a time, neglecting other things. How would you help with that?

Great question, right? I can relate.


When I am hyper-focused on reaching a long-term goal, I neglect the important relationships in my life that make me feel whole.


For many adults with busy lives, physical and mental health take a back seat while other goals and prioritized. A recent study found,


95% of [adults] say mental health is important, yet only 26% prioritize it.

It is possible to maintain healthy habits and reach small goals while striving for larger ones. However, it is not easy and you cannot go it alone.


Let's delve into how to break free from the 'one-track mind' pattern by collaborating with an adult executive function coach.


What is Adult Executive Function Coaching?

Picture having a personal guide who not only comprehends the intricacies of your daily challenges but also possesses the expertise to help you overcome them. That's precisely what adult executive function coaching offers.


At its core, this coaching style concentrates on enhancing cognitive processes known as executive functions, responsible for skills like planning, organization, time management, and impulse control.


Engaging in adult executive function coaching involves a personalized journey customized to your unique needs and goals.


If you're eager to explore adult executive function coaching further, take a look at our comprehensive guide:



How Can an Executive Function Coach Help You Achieve Goals without Neglecting the Details?

It begins with guiding you through a goal-setting process, a crucial initial step, commonly employed by most adult executive function coaches. During this step, will determine and write down your main goal.


Research by psychologist Gail Matthews at Dominican University found


people are 42% more likely to achieve their goals if they write them down.

Once you have a clear understanding of your significant goal and write it, we shift focus to the finer details. If you've been neglecting smaller objectives or essential daily tasks, we will lead you through a life audit.


By posing impactful questions, we unearth your genuine obstacles. Subsequently, we create an action plan to develop the executive function skills that will help you become more organized and efficient in managing your time.


Moreover, an adult executive function coach offers unwavering support and accountability. Building skills, establishing routines, and solidifying habits is challenging work that demands both time and a support system. Your coach is there to provide reminders, positive affirmations, and guidance throughout your week.



Why do I struggle with a one-track mind?

Many adults, particularly those with ADHD, lack the executive function skill of metacognition. Metacognition is the ability to reflect on one's own thinking and learning—a deep level of self-awareness enabling us to learn from our mistakes and leverage our strengths.


Weak metacognitive skills can hinder your ability to manage smaller goals. The good news is that metacognition is a learnable skill. During our sessions, we guide clients through a life audit, helping them develop metacognition.


Additionally, one of the most common symptoms of ADHD is hyperfocus. Hyperfocus, as defined by ADDitude Mag is...


"the ability to zero in intensely on an interesting project or activity for hours at a time."

Adults with ADHD might find it very easy to lose track of time while engaging in a passion project, an incredible book, or while working towards reaching a personal goal.


While hyperfocus can be a strength, as it allows people with ADHD to lock in and be very productive, it can also cause neglect in other important areas of life.


How can I identify the neglected areas of my life?

The initial step is gaining clarity about the areas of your life you may be neglecting through a life audit. This process, which we do with many clients, provides a fresh perspective on your routines, habits, and physical and emotional well-being.


This practice fosters robust self-awareness, revealing areas where you may fall short, as well as recognizing where you're living up to your potential.


The key to a life audit is approaching it with a positive mindset. Rather than viewing yourself negatively, maintain compassion and positivity during this process.


To maintain positivity during your life audit, consider conducting it in a constructive environment, such as a local café with pleasant music. As author Nir Eyal writes,


Viewing ourselves with unconditional positive regard can spark self-improvement, and emotional fitness, and foster self-actualization, self-confidence, and motivation.

The purpose of a life audit is to cultivate wisdom and enhance metacognition, and this necessitates honesty about your mistakes. Remember, everyone makes mistakes. Viewing these areas of neglect as growth opportunities is essential.


How do I conduct a life audit?

This process provides an opportunity to practice the executive function skill of planning.


Set aside 15-30 minutes of uninterrupted time and schedule it on your calendar.


To begin, you'll need:

  1. A journal for note-taking

  2. A list of questions to ask yourself

  3. A quiet, undisturbed space to be honest with yourself

When you're ready to start, write our answers to "what" questions than "why" questions. For example, focus on questions like "What habit am I most proud of?" and "What habit is missing from my life?"


"What" questions help pinpoint specific changes you can make and areas where you excel, promoting a solution-oriented approach. Identifying your strengths is crucial, as you can bolster weak points by leveraging your strong suits.


For instance, if you have a strong habit of brushing your teeth each morning, you can build on that habit rather than attempting to establish an entirely new one.



What if I am unsure how to begin a life audit?


Step 1

If you're uncertain about where to start, grab a piece of paper and divide it into five sections:

  • health

  • relationships

  • work

  • finances

  • recreation

Feel free to add more sections that fit your life.


Step 2

Next, rate your satisfaction in each area on a scale of 1-10. Then, ask yourself questions about each section beginning with broad questions like:


Health:

  • Do I prioritize my health and take action to maintain physical and mental well-being?

  • What healthy habits do I possess?

  • What healthy habits am I lacking?

  • What unrealistic health-related goals have I set in the past?

  • What changes do I wish to make concerning my physical and mental health?


Relationships:

  • What are the top five words I believe others would use to describe me?

  • What are the top five words I would use to describe myself?

  • How can I enhance my relationship with ______?

  • Who do I wish to grow closer to over the next 12 weeks?

  • Who saps my energy or impedes me from becoming the person I aspire to be?


Work:

  • How do I intend to grow and improve in my current role?

  • How do I feel about my work: energized, neutral, or let down?

  • What aspects of my work do I enjoy?

  • What drains my energy at work?

  • In what ways have I positively impacted the lives of others through my work?


Finance:

  • What is my financial standard of living, and have I reached it

  • How much money do I aim to save or invest in the next 12 weeks?

  • What do I need or want to save up for in the next 12 weeks

  • What is one action I can take to progress toward my financial goals in the next 12 weeks?

  • What beliefs about money might be holding me back from earning more, seeking a promotion, or taking calculated risks?


Recreation:

  • What skills or knowledge would I like to acquire, and how can I do so?

  • What consistently excites me

  • How do I want to spend my leisure time?

  • Who do I want to spend my free time with?

  • What recreational activities will bring me joy over the next 12 weeks?


How often should I conduct a life audit?

Although there isn't a definitive answer, I recommend performing a life audit every 12 weeks. At a minimum, you should conduct one annually.


If you're working with an adult executive function coach, they will guide you through the process, pose thought-provoking questions, and enable you to delve deeper.

How often do you conduct a life audit or set specific goals?

  • Regularly, about every 3 months.

  • Occasionally, maybe once per year.

  • I've never done a life audit, but I'm interested in trying.

  • I rarely set goals or do life audits.


I've completed a life audit—what's next?

Now that you've pinpointed the areas of your life you've been neglecting, it's time to incorporate them into your weekly routine. Start by selecting one or two areas from the life audit and ask yourself, "How can I make these elements routine?"


If you're pursuing a major goal but neglecting smaller tasks, the key is to automate the smaller tasks through the executive function skills of planning and task initiation.


Open your calendar and allocate dedicated time for the neglected areas of your life:

  • For greater financial control, dedicate 30 minutes to review and update your budget every Sunday.

  • To establish a consistent exercise routine, identify available time slots throughout the week and schedule "exercise" as an event.

  • For strengthening relationships with friends, family, or your significant other, reserve Friday evenings for those connections.

Building new habits is challenging and requires patience. Remember that missing one day doesn't mean you should skip the second. Consistency is vital.


To aid in building these new habits, set reminders on your phone or calendar, complete with audible notifications.


Moreover, having an accountability partner can be immensely beneficial. Identify someone in your life who can offer support and help keep you on track. Establish an agreement outlining how they can provide support.


What if I lack a specific major goal?

If you feel you lack a clear goal, allocate 30 minutes to undergo a goal-setting process. If you're unsure where to start, explore our goal-setting toolkit, offering a free downloadable PDF for independent use.



Additionally, you can schedule a complimentary strategy session with us! During this session, we will identify your primary goal and establish immediate actionable steps.



Conclusion

Breaking free from the one-track mind syndrome is attainable. By embracing adult executive function coaching and practicing regular life audits, you can pave the way to a more balanced, fulfilling life where no goal is too small to matter. The time to embark on this journey is now. Your life will undergo a transformative shift as you master the art of setting and achieving goals while tending to the details that genuinely matter.


Stay Engaged


About the author

Eric Kaufmann, M.Ed is a Professional Educational Therapist and Certified Executive Function Coach. He is the Co-founder of UpSkill Specialists, an online adult executive function coaching company designed to guide adults in overcoming disorganization, procrastination, and productivity roadblocks so they can unlock their potential. Eric is also the founder of Elevate Learning Solutions, an Educational Therapy practice located in San Clemente, CA, that guides students with neurological differences toward becoming independent and confident students and self-leaders.


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Upskill Specialists was founded when two former special education teachers turned executive function coaches decided that adults need tools and coaching to improve their workplace skills and feel confident and empowered. Our mission is to ensure every adult with EF challenges has access to high-quality coaching services. 

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