The Art of Setting Goals
By Donna Stark
I love it when the words “the art of …” are used in front of an action, such as the art of holding a conversation, the art of writing a letter, the art of boiling an egg. It brings a sense of beauty, precision, and thought to something that ordinarily would be considered quite common and (gasp) maybe a little boring. The same can be said for setting goals. Did you know that there is an art to it? Setting goals is something that when taught at a young age, will lead you to great success throughout your life, and teaching children this art is critical. But let’s be real, it can be quite difficult in this 24/7 instant gratification world we live in right now to teach a child how to be patient and how to work hard for something that might not be delivered the very next day.
Teaching the Art
If you want your children (or anyone else for that matter) to succeed and accomplish goals, they need to be taught how to set them. It can be hard to have focus and direction without a clear benchmark of what is trying to be achieved. They can’t simply say, “I want that” and expect it to happen. The process of setting goals begins with intentional thought and careful consideration, is filled with hard work and determination, and ends with success and smiles. But like I said, it’s a process, and there are steps to make it easier. Let’s take a look.
- Set goals that motivate - Are their goals important and of interest to them? If not, then the motivation to put in the hard work won’t be there. Teach them to be selective. A lot of time and effort will be needed so they will need to choose something that has meaning and value.
- Set clear goals - Their goal should be clear, specific, measurable, and well-defined. Having goals that provide focus, direction, and points of measure will help to keep your child on track.
- Set attainable goals - Every child has a goal of flying from tree to tree, but the reality is that most won’t achieve it, so keep your child’s spirits up by making sure that the goals they set are reasonable and possible.
- Set goals in writing - The physical act of writing things down benefits our lives in so many ways. It helps us to remember more, it makes things “real,” and it offers a physical reminder of what we are shooting for. Have your child write down their goals and post it where they can see it every day.
There is nothing more gratifying than successfully achieving a goal, and the smile on your child’s face will make all of the sweat and tears worth it. So teach them well because the art of setting goals will be carried with them throughout the rest of their lives.
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