Teaching Kids Life Skills: Goal Setting
One topic that should be a part of your life skills for teens lesson plans is teaching the skill of goal setting for kids.
Are you a goal setter? Did you know that the most successful people regularly set goals for themselves? Not only do they set goals, they work hard to achieve those goals. This is important. How many of us routinely set goals, only to drop the ball on follow through?
I want to teach my kids the life skill of setting goals for themselves and how to reach them.
Sometimes our goals are big and take years to accomplish and sometimes they are small and can be achieved quickly. Many of us even work toward multiple goals at once.
When I started teaching my kids about goal setting, I started small. I did this for a few reasons.
- It was easier for them to see themselves achieving a smaller goal.
- Realistically it took less time to reach, which made it simpler to keep them focused.
- If they failed, it was on a much smaller scale.
When you begin working with your children on goal setting, help them choose a goal that is interesting to them and will add value to their lives. If their goal is in an area that they already love, it will be easier to help them see it through to the end. Also, when they reach their goal, if they see a positive change, they will be more excited about setting future goals.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” ~Tony Robbins
Three Important Things to Teach Kids about Setting Goals
Break large goals down into smaller goals.
For every goal your child sets, teach them how to break it down into smaller, more manageable ones. Each smaller step should support the main goal.
For example, after my daughter started taking Taekwondo, she set a goal of becoming a 1st Degree Black Belt, which would take almost three years. Had that been the only thing she focused on, she would have quickly lost interest and never reached it.
Instead, she worked toward one belt at a time. She always kept that Black Belt in her mind, but as each testing approached, 100% of her focus was on whatever rank she was currently working toward.
Make sure goals are measurable.
If your child doesn’t know what his completed goal looks like, how will he know when he reaches it?
When one of my girls shares about a goal they’re trying to reach, I ask them, “what will it look like when you reach it?”
A couple of years ago, when my oldest decided to exhibit a display at a coin show, we worked together to set many little goals, each with its own definition of success and completion.
One milestone was collecting all of the coins she was going to need. Another was learning how to cut professional corners on her display boards.
By making each goal measurable, she felt encouraged as she checked off each step.
Goals can change.
Children need to learn that sometimes goals change and that’s okay.
This isn’t the same as giving up on a goal because you don’t want to work hard. It’s understanding that people and interests are always changing, so you might have to change the path you’re on, or even the goal itself.
When necessary, I take the time to help my kids rethink their plan and make necessary changes.
Many experts encourage you to write down your goals. Sometimes we do, but other times what works for us is just holding each other accountable. It really just depends on the goal.
All this week we’re talking about the importance of teaching life skills to kids, so make sure to join us!
What goals have your kids have been working toward?
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