By Beverly K. Bachel, adapted
Most of us think about what we want to accomplish and set goals for our
lives. But are our kids doing the same? It’s fun for kids to imagine the
amazing things they might achieve someday—but are they doing anything
right now to make their dreams come true? There’s no better time than
the present to help our kids become real goal-getters. Anyone can learn
to set goals, and research shows that kids who set goals feel better about
themselves; have increased motivation; get better grades; and are more
satisfied with their lives.
Here are 10 tips to help kids get on the goal-setting track and into the fast lane to
reaching their dreams:
1. Make them SMART. Make sure kids’ goals are:
Not-so-SMART Goal: “Get an A+ in math.”
SMART Goal: “Boost my math grade by at least one letter by the end of the semester.”
Not-so-SMART Goal: “Get a new bike.”
SMART Goal: “Save up for a new bike by the end of the year.”
2. Write them down. Have kids write their goals and the date by which they want to
achieve them on a piece of paper. Have them post it on their wall, on the computer, on the refrigerator, or somewhere else where they’ll see it often.
3. Think positively. Attitude is everything when it comes to kids’ future success. Help
them make a list of their good qualities, remember compliments, and appreciate what
they have. Also remember that if kids see a good example of a can-do attitude, they’ll be more likely to think positively.
4. Find time. Help kids cut down on time wasters, like watching TV, surfing the
Internet, or talking on the phone, so they can free up time to focus on their goal.
5. Take 10. Set a kitchen timer or stopwatch for 10 minutes and encourage kids to use that time to work on their goals. They may find themselves motivated to keep working on their goal even after the 10 minutes are up.
6. Give a reward. When kids take a step toward their goal, reward them with a movie,
their favorite meal, a weekend off from their chores, or another affordable incentive that will keep them motivated.
7. Visualize success. Minds produce what they dwell on. If kids see themselves
reaching their goals with ease, they’ll be far more likely to succeed. Ask questions at
dinner or while driving them to school to get them talking about their goals.
8. Set “anti-deadlines.” These are the opposite of rewards. Have kids tell
themselves, “If I don’t do it by 5 p.m. I can’t go out with my friends tonight.”
9. Ask for help. Let kids know they don’t have to do it alone and that people in their
lives (family, friends, teachers, coaches) will want to help in whatever ways they can.
Offer to introduce them to a role model or take them on a field trip to learn more about a career they’re interested in.
10. Be a role model. If we talk to kids about our goals and the steps we take to
accomplish them, and they see us following through on our commitments, they’ll be
more likely to do the same.
Article courtesy of Motivated magazine. Used with permission.