Every new year brings a fresh start and a chance to look ahead and envision what you'd like to accomplish in the next 12 months. Setting New Year's goals can be a powerful way to focus your energy and bring what you want into fruition. But it's not just adults that benefit from setting New Year's goals, kids can benefit too. These tips will help.
Talk to Your Kids About Goal Setting
The practice of goal setting is a powerful tool to teach your child. Setting goals helps adults and kids alike have a clearer idea of where they'd like to go and how to get there. Goals also promote a positive attitude and help the goal-setter feel more in control of their own path. Before you and your child sit down to work on your goals, have a conversation about why you're setting goals in the first place. If your child understands the power of setting goals, they'll be more likely to dive into the practice with an open mind.
Create Family Goals
To help your child get the hang of goal setting, gather together as a family and first create a set of family goals. These goals can focus on bonding (run a 5K together as a family, have a family game night each month) or on action (all household chores accomplished on time, homework done before dinner each night)—the point is to help your child understand the process of envisioning what they'd like to accomplish and then putting it down on paper. After you've created goals as a family, set your kids loose to create their own personal goals.
Post Goals in a Communal Area
Goals should not be created and forgotten. Once the family has drafted their individual and family goals, post the goals in a communal area where they will be seen frequently, such as hanging from the refrigerator or on a bulletin board in the hallway. Seeing your individual and family goals daily will help everyone keep them in the forefront of their minds.
Break Big Goals Down Into Smaller Steps
It's likely your child will set some big hairy audacious goals—that's great and should be encouraged! But to succeed, your child will need to learn to break those big goals down into smaller, accomplishable steps.
For example, let's say your teen decides she'd like to travel to Europe over the summer. That's a huge goal to accomplish without some guidance. Help her see the smaller steps she'll need to take to reach her big goal—like researching the cost of travel and setting a budget, earning money by taking a part-time job and applying for a passport.
Check in With Your Kids About Their Goals
Your kids may be energized by their goals when they first set them, but that enthusiasm may fizzle over time. To help your kids keep their eyes on the prize, schedule monthly or bi-monthly check-ins where each member of your family can share what they're doing to reach their goals. These check-ins are also a great time to revise goals that may have changed or to add new goals to the list.
If you've been at goal setting long enough you know that not every goal is met every time. Kids who are new to goal setting may feel like they are failing if they aren't reaching the goals they created for themselves. Set expectation by explaining that the point of goal setting is to create an end-point to strive for. The effort they put toward reaching the goal, not accomplishing the goal itself, is where the real payoff lies.
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