What is a goal?
A goal is an object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. Statistics say 92% of people never achieve their goals. This could be because they have not effectively planed their goals, and when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
It is very important to teach your children how to plan and achieve their goals so they can get what they truly want in life.
What goal-setting teaches them:
- How to Stay Motivated
- Healthy habits
A simple way to start planning a goal is to fill out a SMART sheet. Fun fact! By writing your goals down you are 42% more likely to achieve them.
Is Your Goal SMART?
Do you know exactly what you want to achieve?
Can you track your progress? Being able to see progress is a great way to say motivated and stick to your goal.
Is the goal reasonable? Not something too hard such as climbing Mount Everest next Saturday or something to easy like
Is it important to you? Will it help you in the future? Something you are proud of?
When do you want this goal to be completed by?
For example, your child wants to read the Harry Potter books (Specific). How many books are in a series? (Measurable). Will they be able to read the books on their own or with some help? (Attainable). Are they interest in reading and the stories of Harry Potter? (Relevant) They want to read them before they get to a certain grade or perhaps the end of summer (Time).
Great goal setting activities for children would be; reading a chapter book, planting a garden or something as simple as organizing their toys.
How to Teach Goal-Setting
Determine the goal: Ask your child what they would like to do with questions like. What would you like to achieve this summer? What would you like to learn?
Discuss the purpose: Why would you like to do this? Will this help others? How will completing this goal make you feel?
Break the goal down into smaller steps. Write down the steps they need to take to achieve their goal. A flow chart is a great visual way they can track their progress.
Say they want to read a 14-chapter book on their own. Try reading a chapter a week, maybe an hour before bed. Ask them questions about what they are reading, what they like and dislike about the characters or stories. This is a simple way to encourage them to stay motivated.
Plan for obstacles. Things can and will happen, we can brainstorm what could possibly happen. What if they don’t have time to read some nights? Can they read for an extra half hour another night or twice as long on weekend? What if they lose the book? We can look for it for a week, find it or borrow another copy from a library.
Talk about it! Telling others about your goals helps keep you on track. Others will ask you how your goal is going, what’s next and help keep you focused.
Monkey see monkey do: Children are great imitators and learn so much from their parents. If you verbalize your goals to your children try your best to follow through with them. If you told your child you are going to start walking more. Make a plan and follow through with it. They learn from seeing your plan and achieve your goals too!
Create group goals for the family and set out to achieve them as a family. For instance, you would like to do a 5k walk for a charity. You will need to find out when the event is, how much you would like to raise for the charity, how you will raise the money, what kind of training you will do and when you will do it. By planning out your 5k charity walk with your children they will see how much effort and reward there is in completing a goal. Completing goals as a family encourages teamwork, family bonding and creates beautiful memories.
I Want to Give Up!
Sometimes goals take time and children often want to see results now. They could feel discouraged because they are not progressing at the rate they want. If your child feels like giving up talk to them ask them why they feel this way. Remind them why they started, how important it was to them. Show them how far they have come and encourage them to keep going. If it is an obstacle in their way help them to overcome it, show them the how they can improvise and problem solves to get over this hurdle. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of cheerleading to help reassure them that they are on the right path and can do it!
We Did It!
When they have completed a goal celebrate with them. If they finished the book have a movie night and watch the film version. Maybe have pizza, cake or a trip to the beach. Ask them how they feel, what challenges they faced and what they would have done differently. Hindsight is 20/20! It is a good learning exercise to reflect on what they have done, where they can improve and what they have learned.
Sometimes we aim for goals and we don’t quite achieve them. Say they wanted an “A+” on their science test but only reached a “B”. This is the time to teach them it is okay to fail and how they can learn from this and achieve their goals next time. A good trait to instill in a child is to be resilience. Yes, they will be upset they failed and that is okay! Talk to them about why they think they failed, where they can improve and what they plan on doing next time.