Keeping kids committed to their goals
We all want to be good at something, be it a sport, academics, art, music, fitness, anything. Goal setting is a great way to build your confidence and improve in whatever you hope to achieve. It takes a bit of thought, a good amount of planning, and a lot of determination. Accomplishing a goal feels great! Here’s how to help kids set goals and keep them committed.
Write it down. Goals need to be attainable and accountable in order to be achievable. When writing a goal, be specific. Does your child want to become healthier? Be a better athlete? Earn a part in the school play? All of these goals are great, but they are vague. Rather than become a better athlete, the goal may be to shave a minute off their mile running time or beat a school record. Talk through the goal with your child. Ask questions that help your child narrow their focus. Then, be sure to have them write it down. Writing down a goal gives it life and makes it ‘real’.
Create a plan. How will your child measure their progress? How long will it take to meet the goal? Create a checklist or a calendar with specific tasks that will lead them toward their goal. For example, to run a faster mile, record your child’s current time. Research running schedules designed to increase speed. Then make a calendar that is attainable and realistic.
Share it with a friend. Encourage your child to share their goal and solicit support from friends and family. Kids appreciate recognition and support for their actions. Sharing that goal gives your child more ownership and accountability for their efforts and results.
Keep it present every day. Goals cannot be reached overnight. It takes consistency, dedication, and time. Each day, do something that supports the end result. To reduce running time, it’s not just about time on the track, but it may also include eating healthier, getting 8 hours of sleep, or drinking eight glasses of water daily. Make these items a part of the daily checklist.
Reward milestones. Many times the reward is in the journey. It’s true! Celebrate the small accomplishments. If your runner reduced their time by 5 seconds, that’s an accomplishment. Achieving a goal is hard work. Be their cheerleader!
Stay positive. Working toward a goal can be motivating and also, at times, be discouraging. All of us falter at one time or another. It’s normal to hit a plateau or have a setback. When this happens, stay positive and don’t give up. Help your child work through the frustration. Break the goal down further. Suggest a change in strategy. Regardless, be there for them to listen and guide good choices.
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