Are Things Happening To You, Or Are You Making Things Happen?

Setting Goals in Life As An Autistic/Aspergian

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much." ~ Jim Rohn

goals for life

Blink, blink, blink.

That’s you and me, staring at the wall, wondering why we have no motivation.

Are things happening to you, or are you making things happen?

I didn’t start setting goals for life until well after college.

I never thought much about goals.

I never expected much out of life.

Then I started listening to Brian Tracy’s Psychology of Achievement, and I changed my mindset and practice.

I now set goals every year, and you can, too.

We all have a desire to live life to the fullest: to make a difference.

But either you’ve tried to set goals, or you’ve set goals and not been able to achieve them.

Goals For Life: Are Goal Setters A Dying Breed?

Maybe I should ask whether Aspergians and autistics are a dying breed.

Here’s what one Aspergian wrote in this Wrong Planet thread:

I was right for not wanting to go to college since I had no real career goals or choices. I have no interest in getting married or having children. I’m just waiting for the clock to run out on my life because I don’t have any real goals or passions or ambitions. I fear to even consider any new possible career choices as I am afraid that it will take me another 4 years to realize I only pursued such a career halfass and never had the real passion for it that I should’ve.

Here’s what someone else in the same thread said:

Everything of any import that i ever wanted, was blocked from my access by insurmountable barriers. in the banquet of life, all i could manage to rate was the leftover crumbs on the floor. i have found therefore, that one should systematically lower one’s expectations of life until they match one’s mundane reality, if only to avoid the suffering that comes from constantly thwarted goals.

Benefits That Lie Hidden in Setting Life Goals

Charles Stanley, author of Success God’s Way, points out both the benefits of setting goals and the disadvantages of failing to set goals.

A person with goals:

  • Sense of direction
  • Excitement about life
  • Pursues excellence
  • Appreciates others who are successful
  • Strong sense of purpose, value, and worth
  • Seeks a creative, active life
  • Seeks a balanced life marked by emotional and physical health

A person without goals is:

  • Adrift
  • No excitement in living
  • Accepts mediocrity
  • Critical of others who are successful
  • Disappointed with existence
  • Settles for living in a rut
  • Misses out on harnessing Gods gifts of time, resources, and energy

Some Obstacles To Setting Goals For Life

Reasons both autistics and non-autistics may struggle with setting goals:

We may have disqualified ourselves. We’ve tried setting goals before, but they’ve only ended in failure.

Maybe we just don’t know how to set effective goals, and they’ve been unrealistic, or not framed effectively.

Maybe we fear success. Maybe we fear failure. Or maybe we don’t have a big enough Why for working toward goals.

Why autistics/Aspergians may sometimes despair:

In an article titled Neurodiversity, Quality of Life, and Autistic Adults: Shifting Research and Professional Focuses onto Real-Life, Scott Michael Robertson, autistic researcher, pointed out that society often discriminates and poses barriers to those on the spectrum.

He recommends that future research borrow insights from the autistic community.

In a similar way, I recommend that both non-autistics/Aspergians and autistics/Aspergians crowdsource insights to accomplish personal life goals.

It’s Never Too Late

You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight."

~ Jim Rohn

  1. Set one goal. What is one thing you’d like to accomplish that would make a big difference in your life? Put it in writing. Here’s a goal setting worksheet to help you. Check out any of these articles from my other blog, Personal Success Factors. I wrote all of them on the topic of goal setting.
  2. Crowdsource your obstacles.
    1. Join the Thrive with Aspergers community.
    2. Post your goal there.
    3. When obstacles come up, ask for feedback! Many minds are better than one.
  3. Let me know once you’ve joined, and let me know what your goal is (post it in the community). The Thrivers community is safe and helpful. Let’s help each other succeed. We may not have all the answers, but perhaps we can problem-solve together! If you post one of your goals, I’ll post one of mine!
  4. I’ve written Change Your Life The Smart Way to summarize the system I use to examine my past year and to set balanced life goals for the next year. Check it out! Change Your Life The Smart Way

Get Ready, Get Set, Let’s Go

Let’s get ready to have a great year ahead. Connect with the Thrivers Community, or WrongPlanet, or some other online community that you trust. Set your goal and put it in writing. Then connect with others who also want to accomplish their goals and support you as well.

I look forward to hearing from you!


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I'm Steve Borgman. I'm a licensed clinical professional counselor and blogger committed to bringing you hope, understanding, and solutions that you can apply to your life immediately.

Are you tired of feeling alone, like you're the only one in this world? Please join the Thrive with Aspergers Community to connect with others just like you!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Vishal Kataria

    Great post Stephen. I think people, regardless of whether they are autistic or neuro-typical (non-autistic) will find it easier to set goals and stick to them if they surround themselves with supportive people. A supportive family and encouraging friends are generally the prerequisites to us developing confidence and pursuing our true passions in life.

    I want to share a story with you about how a family that I know here in India has encouraged their autistic son to find out what he wants to do in real life. I would love to know what you think of it, Stephen.