Happy New Year! Do you set New Year’s resolutions? I can’t remember exactly when, but I think I was in High School that I decided I was never setting a New Year’s resolution again. But some may argue, it was a brand new year! A new chance to get a blank slate and start fresh they say. Why would I give up the opportunity to set a New Year’s resolution? It was simple. New Year’s resolutions usually get broken. Really quickly. Instead, I started setting goals. I was significantly more successful in reaching a goal than trying to keep a New Year’s resolution. This year, I am passing on that tradition to my daughter.
The following is a step-by-step guide aimed at helping Tweens set goals. However, the principles are universal. You can use them for younger or older children, or even yourself.
Six Strategies for Goal Setting with your Tween
- Have a Preliminary Conversation to Plant the Seed
- Share Examples of a Goal and ask them to Think About what Goals they may want to set
- Help them Build their Goals into SMART goals
- Establish a Prominent Place to Display Goals
- Solicit Support to Encourage Progress
- Offer Non-Monetary Rewards to Celebrate Progress and Success
Have a Preliminary Conversation to Plant the Seed
Before you sit down for the actual goal planning session, help your tween understand why they would want to set goals in the first place. Help them think big and dream ahead to how it will feel when they achieve their goal. You want to encourage them to be excited.
Share Examples of a Goal and ask them to Think About what Goals they may want to set
Share a few examples of goals that they may benefit from and ask the to think about what they might want to achieve. Perhaps they want to improve their grades in school. Maybe they want to learn a new skill like cooking, painting or chess. If they participate in a sport, how would they like to get better at it?
Once you have sparked their imagination, let them take some time to brainstorm on their own about goals they may like to set for themselves. You can find the link to this fun printable to help your tween brainstorm ideas of goals that they would like to set at the bottom of the post.
Encourage them to think big and not get hung up on any specific details just yet.
Help them Build their Goals into SMART goals
Once they have completed their brainstorming, help them to prioritize their goals and select one at a time to transform into a SMART goal. By utilizing the SMART goal methodology, you will help your tween create goals that are easily understood, able to be followed within a specific timeframe and even include a clear incentive for achieving the goal.
The following guide will help them understand how to create their SMART goals:
S – Specific What exactly do you want to accomplish?
M – Measurable How will you know that you are making progress towards achieving this goal? How will you know when you’ve met your goal.
A – Achievable This is where you want to do a quick assessment to make sure that this is actually something that is realistic for you to achieve. While it is important to stretch yourself and strive for more than you are capable of now, it is very important that you don’t stretch so far that no matter what, you won’t be able to achieve your goal.
R – Rewarding Consider both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. For example, when you improve your grades, you will feel really good. If you learn how to bake, you will have fun and get to share your finished products with friends and family. These are examples of intrinsic value. While the intrinsic value of achieving a goal is the most important part, it is also important to celebrate milestones and achievements. Consider adding a reward like going out for ice cream if you reach that A for the quarter in math.
T – Timely What is the timeframe for achieving the goal? Is it something that should be accomplished in a month? A quarter? By next June? Set a specific timeframe to accomplish the goal.
Once you have outlined each of these areas, re-write your goal, incorporating each of the elements. Repeat this process for each of the goals you would like to work on. Consider choosing 2-4 to work on as a starting point. It is important to not get overwhelmed. As you accomplish one, you can continue to add additional goals.
Locate a Prominent Place to Display Goals
Share the My Goals printable with them to write down each of their SMART goals. Encourage them to post it somewhere where they will see it and interact with it every day. It is best if they read them out loud and think about what they can do each day to make progress towards achieving their goal.
They can post the entire page or cut out each box and post them on their wall, bathroom mirror, desk, etc. Encourage them to personalize it to make it something they are excited to look at each day.
Solicit Support to Encourage Progress
You will likely play a huge role in your tween’s progress towards reaching their goals. Your support and encouragement will be very important at every step along the way. In addition to your contributions, consider who else can play a part in the achievement of your tween’s goals. Perhaps a teacher would be a great partner in their goal of achieving an A for next quarter’s math grade. Consider reaching out to your daughter’s ballet teacher or your son’s hockey coach to provide guidance and encouragement on their path to improving their skills. Can a grandparent check in once a week to get an update on their progress? It truly takes a village to raise a child and this can be a fantastic opportunity to call upon the support of your village.
Offer Non-Monetary Rewards to Celebrate Progress and Success
The spotlight of attaining the goal should focus on the intrinsic value of reaching the goal. You want your tween to establish a history of being rewarded by completing the goal itself and the satisfaction it brings, rather than completing the goal simply to achieve the established reward. For this reason, it is always better to offer non-monetary rewards for reaching milestones or completing a goal. While monetary rewards can be extremely effective, you want your tween to have the ability to achieve results without a promise of cash at the end. It is, however, important to celebrate progress towards and the achievement of their goals. They have worked hard, and your recognition of their efforts can go a long way towards their future engagement. A special dinner with their favorites, a trip to get ice cream or an art project kit. Choose something that will be meaningful to them.
I hope you have found this guide and printables valuable. I would love to hear about how you have put them into action in your life! If you liked this post, I also hope you will sign up for my mailing list. Just for signing up, you will get a great family meeting guide and printable.