How to set good NDIS goals
One of the most important parts of any NDIS plan is the My Goals section. They are the foundation that all your supports are built upon and the reason everyone’s NDIS journey is so unique – so, as you can imagine, it’s important to understand how they work so you can get the supports that fit your lifestyle.
What are NDIS goals?
Your NDIS goals are essentially the things that you want to achieve with the support of the NDIS.
These goals are included in your NDIS plan and are based on what you tell your Local Area Coordinator during your planning meeting or plan review.
In order to use your NDIS funding to access a support, it must in some way help you to achieve one of your NDIS goals.
NDIS goals can be physical (“I want to be able to walk unassisted”), social (“I want to make new friends”), or independence based (“I want to build my confidence travelling alone”).
They can also be short-term (what you want to achieve over the next 12 months) or medium to long-term (what you want to achieve over the next two to three years – or sometimes even longer).
Your goals will change with time, as you move between key stages of your life, such as moving out of home, gaining employment, graduating school etc.
What makes a good NDIS goal?
While your personal NDIS goals will depend on your situation, there are several basic characteristics that make a good NDIS goal…
- Outcome focussed: A good NDIS goal is one that is focussed on the outcome rather than how it will be achieved. Instead of thinking about the supports you need, think about what you want to achieve in your life with the support of the NDIS. For example, “to communicate more confidently” is a more outcome focussed goal than “to have speech therapy”.
Flexibility: While many people say your goals should be specific, our experience is that the more general a goal is, the more flexible you can be with how you use your funding. By keeping your goals broad and focussed on a theme rather than a very specific thing, you can allocate several supports to that goal. For example, “to learn how to express myself through creativity” allows for more flexibility than “to learn pottery”.
Areas for improvement: Have a think about what area of your life you want to improve and how it relates to your disability, for example “I want to improve my health & fitness", "I would like to get out and socialise more” or “I want to be able to use both hands”.
Capacity building: Good goals can also be ones that aim to build your capacity so you’re less reliant on other people. They will allow you to participate more in community, social and recreational activities, which is a cornerstone of the NDIS. For example, “I would like to gain more independence."
- Personal: Most importantly, the best NDIS goals are those that enable you to achieve the things you want! Some very good personal goals our team has heard over the years include, “I want to train my pet to become an assistive dog”, ‘I wish to be able to visit my brother who lives interstate from time to time”, or “I want to connect with my cultural heritage”.
How do I come up with my NDIS goals?
The first step in coming up with your NDIS goals is to think about your life. Think about what you enjoy, what you’d like to improve, and what you want to achieve – both over the short- and long-term. While goals are very personal, it can be helpful to have a friend or family member with you as you brainstorm these.
Make a list of all of these things and then see which goals can be grouped together under themes. Try to narrow your list of goals down to 2 goals you’d like to achieve over the next 12 months, and 2-3 goals you’d like to achieve in the future.
Want to learn more?
- Your goals are the most important part of your NDIS journey, as they are the starting point for all your supports.
- A support can only be paid for using your NDIS funding if it aligns with one of your goals.
- Goals can be short-term or long-term, and you should try to have a mix of both in your NDIS plan.
- Rather than making your goals too specific or focussed on supports, instead think about what you’d like to achieve more broadly. This will allow you to use your funding to access a wider range of supports.
- Make a list of what you enjoy, what you want to change about your life, and what you’d like to achieve. These should be the foundation of your goals.
- If you’re stuck, chat with a friend, family member or Support Coordinator about it – sometimes talking to others can reveal things you might not have thought of initially.