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How To Teach Your Kids Goal Setting

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​One afternoon, my 9-year-old son Jake and I were driving home from the football field. He turned to me and said,


“Dad, I want to be able to throw a football 50 yards by the time I turn 10.” 

I said, “That is awesome Jake. I know you can do it. Why don’t you make it a goal?"

He then asked, “How do I do that?”

This conversation presented me with a perfect opportunity to share with him the essential habit of setting goals and how to achieve them. You can use the same steps with your kids.

  1. Let your kids choose their own big goals.  Ask them what they want to achieve. Let them dream big and never tell them they can’t do it. If it’s their goal and they are excited about it, they will stay motivated to achieve it. It must be their goal, not yours!

  2. Ask them why they want to achieve the goal. The why or purpose is what will drive them to achieve it. Let them know that the true purpose of a goal is not just to get, but to grow. It’s about the person you become in the process.

  3. Have them write it down on a goal card.  It needs to be short, specific, measurable and written in the present tense. It also needs to have a date the goal will be accomplished by. Remember, this is just an estimate. It is important to remind ourselves what our goal is by reading it every morning and night and even throughout the day.

  4. Have them make an action plan.  What actions can they take every day to get closer to their goal? Who can they ask for help? This will serve as the roadmap to achieving their goal.

  5. Teach them to be persistent. It won’t be easy. There will be times when they want to give up. You need to remind them often of why (step #2) they wanted to achieve the goal in the first place.

  6. Celebrate their wins.  It’s important to point out the progress they're making. Give them encouragement and praise them for their effort. Celebrate wins along the way, not just when they achieve the goal.

Teaching your kids how to set and achieve goals will set the foundation for a successful and happy life. 

By the way, you might be wondering if Jake accomplished his big goal... 

Well, he still has six months until his 10th birthday. But judging by this video clip of him a few months ago, I wouldn’t bet against him!

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