Working toward a goal can be fun! Simplifying a goal (or goals!) into basic steps can help adults and kids understand exactly how to achieve it one step at a time and keeps everyone from getting too overwhelmed. Let’s start breaking down goals! 

Achieving any goal requires 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 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. 

But since motivation is an abstract concept, it can be challenging for kids to grasp. To further kids’ understanding of motivation, try using language like:

Using language like this can help kids develop a healthy mindset which is useful for boosting motivation. Another 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.

What’s the next step after getting motivated? 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:

Breaking goals down with the SMART acronym is a great method, but it can be difficult for younger kids to grasp. If kids are struggling with the SMART goal system, another option is to use the acronym GOALS* with them.

Adults and kids can also put goals on dream boards and place them in spots that are visible during the day, journal about goals, and practice positive self-talk to stay on track. Regardless of the method you and your kids choose, make sure to revisit your goal often and be ready to revise it as necessary. Keeping goals flexible can help everyone stay positive and give grace when deadlines get pushed back or something comes up. 

After achieving the goal, be sure to offer rewards to grow motivation. A reward doesn’t have to be something big or monetary, but could be as simple as a high five, acknowledgment of hard work, or positive words of affirmation like “I’m so proud of you” or “You worked so hard to accomplish your goal.” No matter what the reward is, it’s important to remember that the purpose of a reward is to help grow a child’s motivation rather than replace it. 

For more tips and resources for setting healthy goals, check out these 6 must-have resources for goal setting here. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish this year!

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*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