Successful Goal Setting For Kids

What does success mean to you?

…Is it being happy, rich, healthy, or maybe peaceful?

…Is it having a family, running a business, or being able to manage your own work schedule?

…Or maybe a combination of some of these things?

Success is a subjective term as we all value different achievements in different ways.

In the article “Nine Things Successful People Do Differently”, Heidi Halvorson focuses on reaching personal goals as a means to measure success.

Which got me wondering…

Is our perception of success related to having and achieving goals?

Research has shown that goal-setting can be extremely useful to maintain focus, motivation, and ultimately achieving what we are trying to accomplish (i.e. achieving our goals).

When we can see progress, we feel more capable, which motivates us to set more challenging goals.

On the other hand, if we don’t perceive progress and it takes too long to achieve our goals, we quickly lose motivation, we feel frustrated, and eventually, we give up. But in most cases the problem is not the ultimate goal itself; the problem is how we set our goals.

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
– Confucius

So…how can you set goals that will help you to perceive more success in your life?

In the 1980s George T. Doran introduced the concept of S.M.A.RT. goals.  S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for the five steps of specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-targeted goals. The concept was originally introduced to be used by businesses to promote simple and effective goal-setting process to plan and achieve results. But the S.M.A.R.T. goal approach can of course be used by schools, families, and individuals to help them achieve success:

SPECIFIC – when defining a goal don’t be vague. Goals need to be well-defined and focused.

MEASURABLE – in order to be able to assess progress and goal achievement, you need to be able to measure it. You should be able to ask questions, such as “How much?”, “How long?”, and/or “How many?”.

ACHIEVABLE – don’t set yourself for failure. Goals need to be challenging, but not beyond reach.

RELEVANT – are you motivated to achieve this goal? Who are you setting this goal for? Relevant goals are goals you truly want to achieve. You may need to explore if you have accomplished similar goals in the past and what you need and what steps need to be taken in order to accomplish this goal.

TIME-TARGETED – you also need to be specific about the time-frame you have to achieve a goal. If a target date is not set to accomplish a specific goal, then there is no urgency to start taking action towards accomplishing that goal.

Now that kids are back in school for the last term of the year, it is a great time to revise their goals. At school, of course children will have academic goals, but they may also have goals relating to other skills, such as social and organisational.

You can also help your children to set home goals. Use the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting approach to help them set achievable goals and boost their self-confidence.

Following the S.M.A.R.T. approach, goals have to be relevant, so brainstorm with your child, and help them come up with their own goals. They may also need help with setting realistic time-frames to achieve their goals. And it may be necessary to break their ultimate goal into smaller steps to get there.

To boost their confidence, make sure the goal is challenging, but not unattainable. Most of all, remember to guide your children to set specific goals.

For example, if your child’s goal is to learn to read, you may want to guide them to set their goal this way: By the end of the term, I will be able to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar on my own.

Do you need help with goal-setting for your kids and family? Please get in touch, we would be happy to help!

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