Working toward a goal as a family can be fun! Breaking your goal (or goals!) down into basic steps can help you and your kids understand exactly how to achieve it one step at a time, and keeps everyone from getting too overwhelmed. Let’s talk goals.
To achieve any goal, you need motivation. Motivation is in everyone, and it’s the energy that drives us to accomplish our goals. Motivation keeps us actively achieving things in our daily lives, but it’s different for everyone. It helps us succeed at large and small goals, and it encourages us to do our best and be our best selves. Motivation can be found in many different places—from yourself, from others, or even from experiences. One key element to staying motivated is practicing positive self-talk. Check out this article to learn more about using your positive self-talk to be successful in your everyday life.
You’re motivated, but now what? After you’re motivated to accomplish a goal, set yourself up for success. You can break your goal down into a SMART goal—which means to make sure that your goal is:
- Specific – Answer the 5 W’s to make sure your goal is specific. What do you want to accomplish? Why is it important? Who is involved? Where is the location? When is your deadline?
- Measurable – Having a measurable goal means that your goal is able to be tracked. You’ll need to ask yourself questions like ‘How will I know when it’s accomplished?’ to set up a system for tracking. Systems can include timelines or breaking your goal down into steps to completion.
- Achievable – Set yourself up for success by making sure your goals are stretching your abilities but still possible for your limits. Ask yourself how realistic your goal is within the other constraints that you’ve set up to make sure you’ll succeed. Make sure your goals don’t give someone else power to influence the end you desire.
- Relevant – A relevant goal is a goal that matters to you personally, that will align well with the other goals you’ve set. Does it seem worthwhile? Does it match your needs?
- Time-based – Every goal needs a deadline that you can work toward, as well as keep you focused on your long-term goal. Do you have things that can be done today to push you toward your long-term goal?
Goals always start with a plan. Without a plan, a goal is just a wish. If your kids are struggling with the SMART goal system, another option is to use the acronym GOALS!*
- Get a plan – Create a plan for your child’s goal that they can follow easily.
- One step at a time – Don’t get overwhelmed! Carry out their plan one step at a time.
- Act on the goal – Keep consistent with your plan and goal to watch it become complete!
- Learn – What did you notice during this time? What worked well? What needs to improve?
- Start again – Watching your child accomplish their goals can boost their confidence, so what’s a new goal they can achieve?
You can also put your goals on dream boards and place them in spots that you’ll see during the day, journal about your goals, and practice positive self-talk to help you stay on track. Regardless of the method you choose, make sure to revisit your goal often and be ready to revise it as necessary. Keeping goals flexible can help you to stay positive and give yourself grace when deadlines get pushed back or something comes up. Good luck! We can’t wait to see what you accomplish this year!
*Goals acronym cited from: Benes, S., & Alperin, H. (2016). Chapter 8 Goal Setting. In The essentials of teaching health education (p. 135). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics