Goal Setting – Part 2

The first step in setting goals is simply to identify what they are. Sounds simple but many of us do not even get started because we have not sat down to think of what it is that we really want to accomplish. I simply ask kids all the time, “What’s your goal, or What are your goals?” Any guess what the answer the majority of the time is? How do you accomplish something you haven’t identified?
jimmer-fredette-goalsTalking about setting and accomplishing goals is a great way to have a personal conversation and/ or some valuable one on one time with your kids. They like to think about what they want, and they like to talk about the things they want to accomplish. Our kids are dreamers, as they should be. Unfortunately many dreams die as kids transform into adults and they’ve let themselves be clouded by all the crap around us like;  politics, the news, fast paced living, poor habits, etc. I recommend taking the time to dream with them. But also, let them know what your dreams and your aspirations are too. Then you each can hold each other accountable, and have fun pursuing your goals together.

This is another topic, but recently I had a parent tell me at an event that “most of these kids will never make it in sports!” Nice (sic). My response (to myself) was, “yours sure won’t.” Pretty harsh of me right? Well how are those kids ever going to make it in sports when their own parent has already written them off. Even worse, what in the world and why in the world is “making it in sports” the goal? Does that mean playing professionally? That is an unrealistic, and completely inappropriate goal or expectation at this time in these kids life. If that is the objective to begin with, we might as well pull most of the kids off the field right now. I wonder if this person would say most of these kids will never make it to college, since currently they’re only reading at a 2nd or 3rd grade level. My point for this rant, other than it just annoys me when people are negative involving kids, is that this parent obviously has not set goals, or expectations, of what these kids should accomplish for playing team sports at this stage in their life. Perhaps, and most likely, this parent has not set goals or expectations of himself in his personal life. Rant over & out.

How to identify our goals, or how to set them

One way to set goals is to use the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. method. Yes, it does take a little time and a little work to sit down and think about them. But they are important in our development as adults, and kids. Remember the study from the Harvard MBA program?

SmartER-SmallSpecific – our goals need to be specific so we know without a doubt what it is we are trying to accomplish. They should be precise and clear.

Measurable – set specific goals that are measurable, that you know at the end of the day that either you did it or you didn’t – that are not in vague terms.

Actionable – goals need to be actionable; something that you can move towards. What kind of action steps can you take to reach that goal?

Realistic – whatever goals we set out need to be realistic, something we can achieve within a year’s time. Have some wins – getting wins along the way is really important as it keeps us motivated and indicates we are on the right track. That’s why it’s important to set realistic goals. Set lofty goals, but also realistic.

Time specific – Bottom line, deadlines are effective, therefore we need to attach deadlines to things. Time frames tied to your goals provide a sense of urgency to help motivate you.

Evaluated – Are you evaluating your progress toward achieving those goals?  You need to address at the end of every month and ask yourself, are you on schedule, ahead of schedule, or behind. Are you on pace? What do you have to do get back on pace, or maybe you have to set higher goals? Bottom line is you do need to reflect and evaluate often to make sure you’re going in the right direction. Address whether or not your goals are still realistic, or too conservative.

Rewarded – we want to reward our success. Set a small reward for achieving your desired goal. Maybe that just involves giving yourself a pat on the back, but take a moment to enjoy that success. What breeds the desire to have more success? Success.

I know this is a little advanced for our kids. I certainly do not expect them to sit down and weigh all these factors and set their personal goals according to the acronym. But I will say this: setting goals work.

Yogi BerraThere are also effective tactics to achieving goals. Writing them down has proven to be effective as it personalizes it and manifests in the brain. Writing it down and putting it where you can see it every day, like in the bathroom mirror, reminds us daily of what our purpose is. Meditating or relaxing, and visualizing you accomplishing your goals puts that achievement in your brain. Another key to achieving goals is to set them, then work backwards towards them. That is for another discussion at a later time.

Should kids set goals?
In my opinion, without a doubt yes. Kids are never too young to identify what they want, then come up with a plan to stick to in order to get that. The sooner a young person realizes and understands that everything they want can come as a result of planning and working, the better. I think it is important to talk to our kids about what they want, but then it’s our job to hone them in and keep things in perspective. But that does not mean we tell them they cannot do something.

It’s probably no secret what my son’s goals are. They haven’t changed since he was 3. My response remains the same, “That’s an excellent goal and I know you can do it. But, you have to work really hard and as long as you put the work in, you will achieve it.” Then I remind him that ‘puttin in that work’ is a never-ending job. It has to be a part of his lifestyle. He has to take care of his body and his mind, has to focus, and has to repeatedly set and attain new goals along the way.

Izig ziglar want my son to succeed. But more important is the path and the journey he travels in pursuit of his goals. I know there are going to be bumpy roads and tough times along the journey, but that is what will build him. I also know the path is long and arduous, and because of that his goals may (and probably will) change along the way.

Regardless of what happens to the end goal for my son, my goal is for him to learn among many things;  work ethic, organization and pursuit, aspiration, and a desire for challenge. Because we all know life will present a multitude of unexpected challenges ahead. We can’t control the challenges that come forth, but we can hope to control how our kids handle those challenges. At the least, ask your kids what they want to accomplish. Get them thinking and dreaming of who and how they vision themselves later in life. Life is sneaky and comes and goes fast. As proven by the Harvard study, it matters when it comes to setting goals.

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