Overview: You probably set all sorts of goals for yourself. But do you help your kids set and achieve goals as well? Here are 5 important steps for helping them learn how to set and achieve goals successfully!
We naturally set lots of resolutions and goals for ourselves in January. We notice those extra pounds that we packed on over the holidays and make resolutions to lose weight. As we get our lesson plans ready for the coming year, we evaluate things that haven’t been going very well in our homeschools and make goals to do things differently. But are we helping our kids set and achieve goals?
We’ve all heard that the definition of insanity is continuing to do things exactly the same way and expecting different results. The best way to make changes in our lives is to set goals. This is an important concept to teach to our kids as well.
We can teach even young children to set goals for themselves. As our kids enter their middle school and high school years, goal setting is an extremely important skill for them to exercise. Sadly, only 8% of people who set goals for themselves will actually achieve those goals. How sad! These are people who actually want to make positive changes in their lives but who are unsuccessful.
We can do better than that!
Here are 5 Important Steps for Helping Our Kids Set and Achieve Goals:
1 – Make your goals compelling
Changing our lives can be hard! It takes a lot of discipline to form new habits. It’s important to teach our kids to give themselves a substantial reason to spend all of the time and effort it will take to make these positive changes long-lasting.
For example, “Do my devotions every day” doesn’t seem very exciting. “Do my devotions every day so that I will have a close relationship with God that feels vibrant and real” is much more irresistible. Just reading this goal will make them WANT to do their devotions, study the Bible, and pray regularly.
2 – Make goals specific and measurable
Teach kids to make detailed goals that can help hold them accountable.
For example, “Watch less TV” is way too general. “Watch only 5 hours of TV per week” is much more measurable. Another good example is to say, “Finish reading all The Chronicles of Narnia by March 1st.” Setting a deadline is a great way to make sure you actually achieve your goal.
3 – Set big goals with many little steps
Compelling goals are likely to be huge. They are also likely to stretch us. This can be a good thing. But if we make goals that are too challenging, we tend not to achieve them. It’s important to set our sights on things which are actually do-able. Things that we believe we can make happen.
The key here is to teach kids to break their large, compelling goals down into small, manageable steps. If your child sets a life goal of becoming a doctor, show him how to break that huge goal down into yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily steps so that he can make regular progress toward achieving his dreams.
For example, I have one son who would love to play professional basketball. Some of his yearly goals to achieve this huge dream are to make it onto a college basketball team and to play high school basketball in our homeschool league. Monthly, weekly, and daily steps would be things such as eating healthy foods, specific fitness goals, practicing for X number of hours per week, etc. Remember, when eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.
4 – Look at your goals often
It doesn’t do any good to make goals if you let yourself forget them. We need to teach our kids various ways to keep their goals fresh in their mind. Show them how to make vision boards. Have them post their goal lists somewhere that they will see them often. Be intentional about discussing our children’s goals and dreams with them and checking in on their progress often. We all benefit from having accountability!
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5 – Make weekly To Do lists
The best way to achieve our goals is to take steps toward achieving them regularly. Teach your kids to make weekly To Do lists and to always include one or two things that they can do to move them closer to achieving their goals.
This is a natural time of year for helping our kids set and achieve goals. As you’re coming up with resolutions and goals of your own, be sure to set aside some time to pass on these valuable skills to your kids as well. The more we help our kids learn how to make positive changes in their lives, the most likely they will go on to achieve all of the dreams that God has placed in their hearts.
Question: Have you found goal setting to be a beneficial skill for yourself? Have you taught your kids how to set and achieve goals? Please leave a comment below.