Every New Year’s Eve my husband and I try to sit down and map out some family goals for the upcoming year. I like to call them goals rather than resolutions, but resolutions work too. We set personal goals as well, but our family goals are very important to us.
We set goals in several categories: Spiritual, Financial, Health, Relationships, etc. We try to be very specific, and realistic, but challenge ourselves. So, rather than say “Improve our marriage”, we say, “Never miss our weekly date night.” Or, instead of “Save $10,000 this year” we say, “Put $150 from each paycheck into a dedicated savings account.” You get the idea. This year we decided that it was time to have our children take a more active role in goal setting. It is never too young to start setting goals.
Goals are great for helping to direct focus, and identify what exactly you want to work toward, and how you intend to get there. Research shows that kids who set goals have increased motivation, feel better about themselves, and are more satisfied with their lives.
What parent could ask for more?
The best way to teach kids to set goals is by example. When helping kids set goals, make sure they are SMART.
Specific– They should be as specific as possible. For example, my son plays basketball, so he could set a goal to improve his shooting percentage by a certain amount.
Measurable– The goals should be measurable. Saying, “Get better at basketball” is not a good enough goal. Setting a goal such as “Improve my shooting percentage by 10%” is.
Active– The goal should have actionable steps. In order to achieve the goal specific actions should be taken, such as “Practice 30 minutes a day”. As an adult, when I say that I want to get healthier, the goals need to have actionable steps like drink 91 ounces of water, or do 10 pushups each day.
Reachable– The goals need to be realistic, and something that the child can achieve. A failure to meet a goal will impact them far more than a success, so you need to help your child set realistic goals.
Timed– We set goals on New Year’s not because it is the tradition, but because it is great to have a time frame, and most of our goals fit well in that year frame. Kids need timed goals too. They should have a clear date for when their goal should be accomplished by.
Kids should write their goals down, and be reminded of them regularly. But first, they have to think about what they really want, and set some goals. To accomplish this with my own kids, I asked a few basic questions:
- What new skill would you like to learn?
- Which of your dreams really inspire you?
- What characteristic would you like to develop?
- What would you like to accomplish this year?
- What areas do you need to work on in school? At home? With friends?
Find our free download for helping your kids set some great goals this New Year’s Eve. They can list their goals here.
And you can use one of these for each of their goals to help them get SPECIFIC. Free download here.
Do your kids set goals? Tell us how you help them make SMART goals in the comments or on Facebook.