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New Year’s Resolutions: Teaching Goal Setting, Focus & Motivation

What Is A Goal?

A goal is the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. They are concrete statements of ambition with attainable outcomes, and they are important to leading an enriched life.

 

Why Is Goal Setting Important?

Goal setting is an opportunity to intentionally reflect on your past in order to create a path for a more efficient, healthier, and happier future. We make goals every day, even when we don’t realize we’re doing it.

 

Setting Goals Triggers Changes In Behavior

Practice makes perfect. Every time we strive past a roadblock in our goal setting, we are triggering behavior change. We are rewiring our brains to handle life differently.

 

Setting Goals Is Addictive & Builds Momentum

Progress is actually addictive, as your brain releases dopamine when you receive a reward. This goal-reaching addiction provides momentum for continuing on the path toward this goal, and for the next time you decide to set a goal.

 

Setting Goals Builds Character

When you set a goal, you reveal what is important to you. When you pursue that goal, you develop discipline and focus. When you reach a goal, you build confidence.

 

How Should You Set Your New Years Goals?

Work with your children to set goals that are specific and simple, slow and steady, and streamlined into baby steps.

 

Specific & Simple

Don’t be vague. A vague goal provides no true motivation. Kids need a target to hit. If your child says, “I will save enough money to buy more games,” that goal is likely to peter out. However, if your kid says, “I will save $50 to buy the Cities & Knights Catan Expansion Pack,” the goal has a much better chance of coming to fruition. The end goal is concrete, tangible.

 

Slow & Steady

Don’t let your kids set themselves up for failure. Setting an impossible goal, or setting a goal on an unlikely timeline, will only end in disappointment and, therefore, a lack of motivation next time. Set realistic goals on realistic timelines. Start small, build your focus and motivation, and strive for bigger goals as you gain momentum.

Change “Become fluent in Spanish by March,” to “Practice Spanish on Duolingo for 30 minutes every day.” Reaching that 30-minute mark every day will build a habit that could lead to fluency.

 

Baby Steps

Okay, so your children have set three goals. It’s not over! Now, it’s time to break each of those goals into smaller steps. In fact, studies show that it takes at least six weeks to create a habit. Try breaking each goal down into 6 steps– one per week. These steps should not switch out for the other, but build upon each other.

Is your family looking to get healthier? Baby steps could look something like this:

Week 1: Get eight hours of sleep every night

Week 2: Practice mindfulness once a day

Week 3: Go for a daily walk as a family

Week 4: Put the phones away one hour before bedtime

Week 5: Cut sugar from your diet

Week 6: Start the Whole 30 diet

 

The steps start small and easy, and then build up. Each step helps to support the one after it. By the end of the six weeks, you’re well on your way to reaching that goal of getting healthier as a family.

 

Be A Role Model With Follow Through

Don’t expect your children to reach their goals if you can’t do the same. Communicate your own goals with your children, and show them what a little follow-through can do.

 

5 Family-Oriented New Years Goals

Need Ideas? Here are five goals both you and your kids can share. Take these goals and make them specific, slow, and steady!

 

Unplug

Set an amount of time each day to unplug from the television, laptop, and smartphone. If need be, set a timer. Be each other’s referees. Encourage solo reflection time or family time in place of tuned-in time.

Eat Well & Together

Work together to create a new and healthy meal plan for the month, and set aside time each night to eat together.

Go Outside

Spend time outside every day, even if it’s for a short family walk. Walk the dog together, play a quick game of pick-up basketball, or choose to walk to the bus stop instead of driving your kid there.

Read

All that unplugging time you’ve scheduled in? Try reading! You can set a time for everyone to read, whether it’s alone in their rooms, or in the quiet company of each other.

Save Money

Come up with a family goal and work together on saving money for a trip, special experience, or a new item for the house. A team effort can help with focus and motivation.

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