Teaching our children about goals, surrounded by all the New Year hype, I can’t help thinking about my achievements, my failures, and even my hopes for dreams yet to be achieved. I’m reminded of all the NY resolutions of my past, you know… The ones that sadly didn’t make it. I guess we all have some of these, right? Resolutions that never made it past January 31st…
It got me thinking about how I set my goals. What I do (or don’t do) to help me achieve my goals. And what I do (or don’t do) that contributes to those times when I fail to follow through?
As a parent, this question takes on a new level of meaning for me… Obviously we want our children to succeed at everything they do. So, how do we channel their abilities and guide them towards setting realistic goals, that they will follow through on? According to Forbes.com 92% of people FAIL at achieving their New Year Resolutions. I wouldn’t want my children to fall into that category – if it can be helped, of course.
So let’s look at how we can help our children set realistic goals.
Acting as a guide
It’s important for us to realize that we are only there to help guide our children to set the goals that they themselves would like to achieve. It should be our child’s goal, not ours. We shouldn’t push/demand or nag the child. This is their goal to achieve. We should see ourselves as an assistant coach/cheerleader.
Determine the goal
Guiding our child to finding a goal that is both achievable and suitable to his/her personality/likes/dislikes/age/etc. will make achieving the goal more likely. Helping them figure out the different steps needed to reach their goal, and a suitable time frame to reach their goal, are all part of goal setting.
It’s vital that our children have realistic deadlines when setting goals. Breaking it all down to smaller goals (within the larger dream), with realistic expectations of when those smaller goals should be achieved will be more sustainable than simply having one deadline (looming intimidatingly large on the horizon). Creating a calendar that our child can follow, and mark off once these small deadlines have been reached, creates a visual “map” of achievement, which encourages overall achievement.
As adults, we know all too well how hard it can be to reach our goals. We need to offer praise when goals are reached, and encouragement to stay committed when our children become despondent.
Make it Fun
No one likes to participate in something that has no enjoyment. Children especially need fun-filled activities to keep them interested and engaged.
Review & Reflect
Once the goal has been reached it won’t hurt to sit down and reflect on the positive and negative aspects of the road to reaching it. One can even look at how to approach future goals as well.
Goal setting can be fun and easy for children of any age, whether it’s a three-year-old needing to clean their room, homework that needs to be completed, or an older child dealing with a school project or sports commitment.
Here’s hoping this year is filled with achievable goals for us and our children!