Setting Goals, Creating Habits, and Achieving Results as a Family!
Posted: January 02, 2020
It's common knowledge that most New Year's Resolutions are given up on by the end of January. While many might find this tradition of making and breaking their yearly promises harmless or cute- I believe that it is incredibly damaging; not for just you, but for our children! Whether you think your resolution is a pipe dream or a far-off hope, in the eyes of a child, a resolution is a commitment. A promise to yourself. Think about the message that it sends a child when they see someone they look up to commit to bettering themselves, and then give up on that goal in less than 30 days because... It's hard/you got busy/you got distracted. What do you think will happen the next time you ask them to resolve to do better at school, be more in-tune with the family, or practice their martial arts? Of course, they will follow the example they have been given, and as said by one of my favorite authors, Rachel Cruz, "More is caught, than taught." (Learn more about Rachel Cruz and her book Smart Money, Smart Kids, in our upcoming class on kids & finance)
So, what can you do? At STAR Martial Arts, we recommend taking the time this Christmas Break to have a family Goal-Setting party...
1) This isn't a talk, it's a party! The more fun your kids have, the more they will want to do this process again, and we all know that learning how to set and achieve goals are a critical step in becoming successful adults. Set aside an afternoon or a large block of time so that you are not rushed. Order take-out or bake cookies. Turn on the music. Tell your kids to pretend that a whole year has gone by, and that you are having a big celebration at the end of 2020. What are the things they accomplished that year? It may be drawing, earning $100, spending time with family, achieving their next belt, or even beating a level a video game. Remember, you are teaching your children the HABIT of setting goals, so let it be something that motivates THEM (versus something that makes you proud).
2) Set 3 goals. Setting a small number of helps your child focus on a few things that are important to them. Setting too many can be overwhelming, and putting all your hopes on a singular goal can create too much pressure. Encourage your child to have each of the three goals in different areas of their life: School, Family, Sports, Financial, or Personal are some examples of areas that you can use. (This will also make sure that all three of their goals are not wasted in that video game category we talked about earlier!)
3) Ink it, don't think it. Most kids are visual or kinesthetic learners. Simply saying their goals out loud may not be the best way to imprint them on your child's mindset. Instead, consider writing your goals down, and posting them somewhere that your kids look daily. You can even create "Dream boards" by cutting out pictures from magazines that represent the goals, and creating a collage. ProTip: While the mirror is a common place to post, if you have teenagers, have them post their goals as the background to their cell phone!
4) Plan steps as a family. Goals don't happen because we wish for them, they happen because we work for them. Work together as a family to make sure that you are creating time in your schedules to meet the goals that you set together. If your child has an unrealistic goal, or one that you think is detrimental to their health that you wouldn't support- tell them! This allows them to learn how to renegotiate and set expectations to be successful, rather than fail and/or feel unsupported.
5) Sign it as a family. Whether your child can read or not, they will understand the power of something being written and signed. It is permanent. It is proof that we all agreed to work together and support each other. That means when your child needs a friendly reminder that they won't get honor roll without studying, you are now SUPPORTING them, rather than NAGGING them.
Again, the goal is to teach them the habit of setting and achieving goals. The goal is NOT to turn your child into a genius, millionaire, sports prodigy in 2020. This will not only create confidence and self-esteem, but also teach them lifeskills such as perseverance, work ethic, and delayed gratification. So make it fun, let them know that you are proud of them, and enjoy a better version of your family in 2020.