The new year is quickly approaching and we are offered once again, at least in part, a fresh start. Many people love this time of year as it provides an excuse and incentive to intentionally reflect on the past and become excited for the future. As you plan for 2016 and all that the year holds for yourself and your family, perhaps consider using this time as an opportunity to teach your children the value of setting goals and taking advantage of the new beginning. Setting goals and new year’s resolutions with your children can be a fun opportunity for growth and change as well as a unique bonding experience for the family.
Read 5 tips on goal setting with your children.
1. Explain what goal setting is and why it’s helpful to successful living
Take some time to explain to your children what goals are. Goals or resolutions are statements of ambition that are concrete and attainable. Goals are the checkpoints on a roadmap towards achieving dreams and living a more enriched life. Give children examples of goals that you have set for yourself or goals that the family has collectively reached. Explain that goals should help a person go beyond themselves and get outside of their comfort zone, but should not be too large as to feel daunting or impossible.
2. Take time to celebrate last year’s accomplishments and ponder the possibilities of what more could be done.
When teaching children about goal setting, it’s often best to build off of past accomplishments and already achieved milestones. Ask your kids to reflect on the past year and determine what their best moments and biggest victories were. Help kids to remember the hard work and persistence that it took to obtain the things they are proud of and then think about what more can be done in the new year to become even better and achieve more in those areas.
3. Write goals down, make them attainable, and create a plan of accountability.
Once the possibilities of resolutions have been narrowed down to two or three, help your kids write them down and set a plan. The purpose of writing down goals is to be able to look back on them, be reminded of intentions and to stay on track. Writing down goals can seem daunting and scary for some children though, so be sure to keep it light and tap into your child’s learning style and preferences. Some children may want to draw pictures for example, while others may want to keep an extensive journal.
4. Take baby steps while keeping goals at the front of thought and conversation.
While determining goals and writing them down, help your child think about and determine some practical ways that goals can be met. Break the goal into baby steps and then work on them throughout the year, celebrating each milestone along the way. For example, if the child’s resolution was to eat more nutritious food, a practical discipline would be to eat one fruit at breakfast and one vegetable at dinner. Or if the goal was to become a better baseball player, committing to 20 minutes a day of throwing in the backyard can go a long way. Continue checking in with children regarding progress, not to nag or shame a lack of progress, but to instead encourage discipline and champion each other as you work towards goals as a team.
5. Be an active role model in achieving goals and keeping resolutions.
Speaking of being a team, children will learn best when guided by a role model. Let your children know what your goals are and talk about why you set those goals, what some of your challenges may be in achieving them, and also what you’re excited about most. Set an example by following through on your own goals and make it a practice to encourage each other throughout the process.