Are you struggling to figure out how to help your kids set effective goals they can actually achieve? Read on for the 5 steps to goal setting for kids to help them set goals they can actually achieve.
FUN FACT: Research has shown that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you WRITE them down. This rate increases to a whopping 72% if you tell a friend, or perhaps a parent.
Those are amazing statistics and a great reason why we should teach our kids how to set goals! Because face it, dreams don’t just come true. They can only become reality when we give them a deadline and we plan out the steps we need to take to reach them.
Do you set goals?
Most people get exposed to goal setting in a work environment, but do you set personal goals? Health goals? Financial goals? Even family goals? And I’m not talking about fleeting new years resolutions where you scribble a couple of things on a scrap piece of paper that land in the bin on Monday and get forgotten about on Tuesday. I’m talking about goals you think about, dream about, write down and make a plan to accomplish them.
WHY should I teach my kid to set goals?
Goal setting is so important for kids because it gives them purpose. Something tangible to work towards. Realistic and meaningful goals can help kids improve the self confidence, it grows their independence and it teaches perseverance along the way.
So HOW do you help your child set their own goals? Here are the 5 easy steps to Goal setting for kids:
STEP 1: Let your child choose his or her big goal
Try not to be too critical of the suggestions your child comes up with. Rather encourage and direct them to the realistic goals. It doesn’t help we encourage them to take on impossible tasks, that will only hurt their self esteem.
STEP 2: Discuss the purpose of the goal
Help your child find the WHY behind their goal. Do they want to save up to buy brand name sneakers? Do they want those sneakers because they have been in love with them for months, or is it maybe because they want to be popular and make a statement at school? Help your child find a strong why and they will stay motivated when it gets tough to stick to the plan.
STEP 3: Help them to visualise what it will feel like to accomplish that goal
Visualisation is basically a way for us to see ourselves when we’ve accomplished the goal. Helps your child to paint the picture in their mind. Make it a vivid experience. Let them explain what they will feel, hear, see and experience in detail. this is also a way to help yourself stay motivated when obstacles arise on the way to your goal.
STEP 4: Break the big goal into smaller steps
Here we get to the practical side of things. Do you want to read 20 books in a year, then you need to read 1 book every 2 weeks. If every book is on average 200 pages, you need to read 15 pages per day. Help your child think about all the steps they need to take in between where they are now and where they are going to be when they achieve their goal.
STEP 5: Brainstorm potential obstacles and come up with plans on how to overcome them (Use if, then statements)
One of the problems with achieving goals, is the fact that there are so many obstacles between where you are currently at, and where you want to end up. When we hit obstacles on the road to our goals, we either: trip and fall and give up, or we get up and grow stronger because of it. But getting up is difficult. When we brainstorm all the obstacles we might hit on the road to our goals, we empower ourselves with solutions for problems before they even occur. It makes it a lot more likely that you will overcome the obstacle and keep going.
Lets look at the example of reading 20 books again. One of the obstacles she might face is the fact that she falls behind on her planned schedule. She realises that she doesn’t actually read that much over the weekends because the family stays up late together. Either she can have a pity party and give up because she’ll never read fast enough, OR she could adjust her plan and take into account that she only reads in the week. On the new plan she will need to read 20 pages every day instead of 15.
BONUS STEP 6: Take action
This is a crucial step and might seem absurd to even mention, but the fact is, it’s way easier to plan that it is to execute. So my advice is to take action immediately. Don’t wait for Monday! Start today. Go pick out that first book for the year and get reading. The quicker we can help our kids get into the new habit or schedule, the quicker they will feel their first win like finishing their first book for the year on time.
Here are some great examples of goals for kids:
Learn to ride my bike
Read 20 books this year
Get into the habit of journaling
Learn to play a new instrument
Advancing a reading level
Memorising the multiplication table
Trying one new food every week
Learn to tie own shoes
Memorize family phone number and address
Improve free throw shots
If you’re child struggles to think of goals, use the following prompts:
- Something you want to get better at.
- Something new you want to try.
- Any skill you want to master.
- Characteristics you want to grow in and become better at.
- What is one habit I want to implement in 2022?
- Something I want to do less of.
- 2 New things I want to learn.
Remember, our kids stand a much better chance at achieving their goals if they have us in their corner, so be their cheerleader, NOT their general.