Vigilints Heart Child Development - Skillful Goal Setting

kids with strong goalsetting skills are more self confident

Setting realistic goals and meeting them builds self confidence

Business and government leaders claim that we live in a merit-based society. Wise men like Victor Frankl explains that we are all in search for meaning. Popular self-help gurus like teach how to set and meet goals while staying focused on the current moment.

Now that the New Year started, many of us are setting goals that we hope to achieve this year. Children learn by modeling and copying our behaviors and attitudes. So how can we best support them to live up to their own expectations? Here are some tips of the process top-level athletes and successful business people use to set achievable goals:  

1. First develop a long-term vision
When setting a goal create a vision. Elaborate in describing the vision in fine detail. Psychologist and leadership consultants often quote studies that show that the more detailed the vision, the more it becomes part of the subconscious of the goal seeker. This will help the person overcome obstacles and challenges that invariably arise when developing a new habit. The more detailed the description of the benefits the stronger the vision will be.

2. Acquire the knowledge and understanding needed to accomplish to goal   
Understand what it takes to achieve the goal. Help your child research in detail what the goal requires. For instance, if your child’s goal is to be star athlete, don’t brush over the fact that they will need stamina, endurance, strength, agility, flexibility, balance, and dedication. Explain the 10000 hours rule to them. Commitment to all the micro steps assure the child has a realistic chance to achieve the goal.

3. Identify the resources you need.   
When the child has the knowledge to comprehend the goal have them outline all the tools, budgets, resources they may need to achieve the goal. Have them establish a full inventory of the “must haves” needed.

4. Establish a reasonable timeline
Allow them to realize their goals by setting realistic goals. Have them personally interview experts, watch online videos, read articles or books on the topic. No one achieves a major goal overnight without the needed effort.

5. Clear your calendar to allow you to focus on what’s important
Make sure the child makes room in their calendar. They may have to forego other hobbies, play times, or media screen times.

6. Break the process into small achievable micro steps
When the child has the prerequisite knowledge and understanding, time line, have them break their journey toward their goal into micro steps. A long-distance runner doesn’t start by running a marathon, they build up their strength over time. A scholar doesn’t start by acing a college test, they study and read books for many years. The micro steps allow the child not to get overwhelmed in the moment.

7. Create a daily do’s and don’ts list
Teach your kids to set realistic goals. If they want to perform on the soccer field have them get enough sleep, drink water and eat a light meal instead of overeating and staying up late. By establishing early what behaviors are detrimental toward their achievement they can learn early how to choose behaviors in support of meeting their goals.

8. Establish ways to measure progress
Create a positive feedback loop by measuring their progress. Each time they choose healthy behaviors, meet an interim step in their journey, measure their progress. This creates a positive feedback loop, improves self-esteem and fosters a sense of achievement that will energizes for the next micro steps.

9. Prioritize parallel tasks
There are only 24 hours each day and the child needs time to eat, sleep, study, and participate in family meals and activities. By prioritizing all the life tasks ahead of time, the child will have an easier time negotiating what they might eliminate from their task list, what they need to make time for, and this will reduce stress. Avoid allowing the child to become overwhelmed by too many demands. It is better to extend the timeline of the goal.

10. Establish a reward system with interim milestones to keep motivation high
We all enjoy successes when we are rewarded. Establish a solid reward system that is supportive of the goal early. Make sure the reward is meaningful to the child. They may enjoy receiving stars that they collect until they have enough for a new toy, a trip to the museum, tickets to a sports game, visiting a lecturer. Have the child think about what they might feel truly wonderful about.

Self-awareness is raised with this self-discovery and may be one of the most beneficial tools learned from skillful goal setting. Teaching the child to find ways to self-motivate itself is a life skill that all successful leaders, top-level athletes enjoy. Skillful goal setting improves the follow through required for success.