Get Your Goals: Setting Achievable Goals and Teaching Kids to Do It, too
January 31, 2023
by Kelly McCandless
As January fades into February many of us are feeling a bit defeated. New Year's Resolutions are already out the door, and we are not yet the new person we thought we would be. Again. What gives?!
Well, I’m calling for a reset. And for this one, let’s include our kids… We’re going to sit down together, share our goals, our “why’s” and make plans to achieve them together. Help your kids set their own goals as well. Hold each other accountable and inspire each other to stretch a bit. Embracing our goals as a family can be so impactful. You’ll avoid being stagnant, you’ll work together toward dreams both big and small, and you’ll model for your children that you can work toward the things you want. Let’s break it all down and remember that something is almost always better than nothing.
Set monthly goals or even weekly or daily goals. You may have a long-term goal, and that’s awesome. But break it down. Simplify it. So, if you want to begin journaling, start simple. In February, you may say you’re going to journal three times each week. Be realistic – you can always exceed your own expectations! If you’re successful, you’ll feel ready to take on something more in March. And, if you’re not, you’re learning you need to find a realistic way to achieve your goals.
As you set your goals, identify the WHY for each one. This helps connect your action to the purpose or reason why you’re doing it, which will make it much easier to work toward the goal. So, if you want to drink more water, ask yourself why first. If you remember that your body feels loads better when you’re hydrated, it becomes easier to grab an extra glass or two of water each day.
If only our WHY was enough for each of us to stay accountable. But, typically, we are willing to disappoint ourselves before we disappoint others. Right or wrong, the behavior is common. This is one of the many places connecting with your children comes into play. Share with your kids your why and empower them to hold you accountable. And do the same for their goals. Encourage each other and strive not to disappoint each other… or yourselves.
Goals for Kids
What kinds of goals should kids be setting? First, it should be meaningful to them. They must want to work on the goal, and talking about the things that are important to them will help them with the buy in. Next, they should understand their own WHY as well as the reward. Finally, they should be clear on how to work toward their goal and what kind of support they will need.
While totally individualized, some common goals might include:
- Reading more often
- Bringing up a grade
- Less screentime
- More activity
- Being more helpful around the house
- Treating siblings with kindness and respect
- Getting to bed on time
- Independently solve problems
- Brush teeth without fighting (or perhaps a million other things without fighting!)
- Save allowance or other money toward an important purchase
Bring it all Together
There are a zillion catchphrases for goal setting: SMART Goals, the 5 R’s, the 3 P’s, 7 keys… you can find a ton of information out there on how to be successful. But the bottom line is this: the goal must matter to you, it must feel achievable, and you need to have a clear path forward for reaching it. Embracing a thoughtful approach to goal setting will not only help us as parents or caregivers, but it will also model excellent behavior for our kids and encourage them to work toward goals of their own.
Kelly McCandless is a Billings native who loves a well-planned adventure, being outdoors when the weather is nice, historic fiction and hot coffee. She’s passionate about writing, cooking, education, travel and doing all of these things with her husband Ryan and their two incredible daughters
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