Future planning: Goals and milestones.


Setting goals can help you take charge of the future. They can also give you and the person you care for a sense of purpose as you work towards those goals together.

For example, moving into a shared house with help from a Supported Independent Living package from the NDIS. For more information, check out the Leap in! ebook Supported Independent Living: Achieving your goal to live independently.

We tend to think of life in stages, with milestones that mark certain events or achievements, like starting school or getting your first job.

Milestones are different for everyone and so are the paths that we tread to achieve them. This is where goals can come in handy. A goal is something a person wants to learn, develop or achieve. A milestone is a goal that has been reached or achieved.


Father and daughter smile as they lean together on a couch


Goals and the NDIS.

Setting goals not only offers a roadmap for achieving a particular milestone, it can assist a person with a disability to obtain NDIS funding to help achieve that goal.

The NDIS splits goals into two categories:

1. Short-term goals.

  • Can be achieved in less than one year
  • May only require one step or a small number of steps to achieve
  • Are based on more immediate needs or plans that can be achieved in less than 12 months – such as learning how to cook a meal.

2. Medium or long-term goals (or milestones).

  • Take several years or longer
  • Usually take more steps or a series of short-term goals to achieve
  • Are an important aspect of meeting future needs and aspirations.


3 steps to goal setting.

Step 1: What is important?

Think about what is important to you and how you might be able to explain that to others. For example “I want to improve how I communicate.”

Step 2: Define your goals.

Once you decide what is important, think about where you might like to improve in relation to that. For example, for someone who wants to improve how they communicate, a goal might be: “To improve my ability to speak clearly.”

Step 3: Outline the steps.

What is needed to reach those goals? This may include support from other people or learning new skills. If we use the same example, the steps might be: “To work with a speech pathologist to improve the way I speak and practise with family and friends every day.”


Goals and NDIS Plans.

The NDIS is designed to support a person with a disability throughout their lifetime. That includes providing the supports and services needed to help them achieve their goals and lead a fulfilling life.

Participants can request NDIS Plan durations of up to three years. Longer NDIS Plans are suitable for participants with stable and consistent support needs who are confident in using their funding to achieve their goals. They’re also ideal for people who are focused on achieving long-term goals.

Where major life changes or milestones are likely to be achieved over the next three years, a shorter NDIS Plan is recommended. Such changes include:

  • Leaving school
  • Starting work
  • Changes in a living situation.

The Plan Review process happens at the end of each NDIS Plan and means supports can be added or removed as the person’s needs and goals change over time, providing the support is considered “reasonable and necessary” for their individual needs.

Check out How to set and achieve your goals to find out more about setting, tracking and managing goals and why these are an important part of getting an NDIS Plan approved.


The Leap in! app can help.

There’s a special section in the Leap in! app designed to assist with preparing for an NDIS Plan meeting including goal setting. If you don’t know where to start with setting goals, it has hundreds of suggestions!

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