Need some help setting goals for you and your kids? Here are 4 easy steps to help you set and achieve your goals!
Whether its a new year, new month, new week, or new day, effective goal setting is a sure fire way to get things done and feel accomplished in life! Goal setting doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking, but maybe it seems like a huge task if everyone around you is talking about something huge like a New Year’s resolution! I want to help you discover an easy framework to setting goals to help you get those goals out of your mind and into your life effectively and efficiently!
I wrote a post awhile back on creating a Live List. A live list is basically like a bucket list, but you make it yearly. It’s a way to get all of your wildest dreams out on paper so that you can see them and make plans for how to accomplish them!
We started doing these Live Lists with our kids each year on their birthday. They would write out these dreams of theirs and we would see what we could do to help accomplish them. It got a little hard to keep track of all of these big huge dreams over the time with so many little kids, and quite frankly, some of them were so far-fetched and I am just not creative enough to make their wildest dreams come true.
After talking it over, my husband and I thought that it would be more practical in the long run to teach the kids how to set goals and write down actionable steps to achieve those. That way, we were basically taking the responsibility off of us as parents to make sure their huge dreams were coming true, and putting the task to them: “What can YOU do to achieve that goal?” As we talked it over, my husband and I also decided that we wanted some substance and direction behind these goals so we chose the scripture in Luke 2:52 “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” We figured that using this scripture as our base we could have our kids set goals in the areas of mental, physical, spiritual, and social.
Wouldn’t you know it, but a few months after we rolled out this plan with our family, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a brand new Children and Youth program all about goal setting and used the EXACT same scripture as the basis of the program! Never have I been so excited for a new plan knowing that I had been moving forward in the right direction with my own family. I LOVE when you get those very real confirmations that you are doing the right thing!
The Church came out with a great guidebook that helps you to learn step-by-step how to set a goal. The whole reason that you want to set a goal is to help you to achieve what you want out of life. As a kid especially, the whole world of opportunities is open to you! It can be hard to narrow down what you want to do with your life. I have recently realized though, that this is not limited just to children. If you are currently a stay at home mom, there will come a time where your kids will all be grown and gone, what will you do with your time then? Even now as a stay at home mom, there are many ways that I can improve myself personally as a mom, a wife, a friend, and an individual!
Since I have not been sent a guidebook with each child outlining their strengths, weaknesses, future careers, etc. (although that would be SO nice!), by teaching my children to set goals at a young age, I can help them to see what their talents and strengths are, and set goals to improve in those areas. I can also help them see areas that they need to improve on to succeed in life and help them take actionable steps to achieve success there too!
Also, just note that even though this is directed at children and youth, my husband and I set goals this way now too! It helps our family to be more streamlined in our goals setting, but it also helps to have four different areas in which to focus on when setting goals.
Like I said before, you have a world of opportunities before you. You are the one that gets to determine the outcome of your life! That is so exciting, and yet overwhelming to me! Having the four areas of Spiritual, Physical, Mental, and Social helps me narrow the goals down into four clear categories. If that is still too overwhelming, choose one category that you are most excited to focus on, or that you feel needs the most improvement.
The children and youth pamphlet also has a whole variety of ideas in each category if you are running into trouble trying to come up with ideas! These ideas range from large to small, simple or complex so you can cater it to your specific needs. The most important thing that we have found in going over this process with our kids is that their goals are not my goals. Even if I think a goal is lame, it is their goal, and so I need to do what I can to support it! This is one of the best ays that they can discover their talents and interests!
If you feel you have a talent or interest in playing the piano or learning a new song, this would be a great area to focus on in setting a goal!
After you have decided what your goals are going to be, you need to come up with a plan or actionable steps to achieve that goal. These steps can be simple steps that will take awhile to achieve. If you are someone that likes to make a checklist, go for it! Do you want a checklist to make sure you complete your goal daily? Do it!
Goal: learn to play the piano. Some actionable steps could be: find a piano teacher, purchase piano books, choose a favorite song to learn, etc. You could also then set a goal for how often to practice and make a practice chart to check off your practice to visually see your progress!
This is the fun part where you actually see you starting to achieve your dreams! If you set your goal as something to do daily, put a checklist or reminder someplace where you will see it daily to remind you. For a more long-term or harder goal, it might be good to build in a sort of reward system to keep you going. If putting a checkmark or sticker in a box is not enough motivation, think of what will motivate you!
Goal: learn to play the piano. Make a chart to practice piano everyday. Check off the box and perform for a family member or friend!
At the end of your goal period, whether you set your goal for a week or a month, reflect back on your goal. Did you achieve what you hoped you would? Is this a goal you would like to continue working on? How does your goal need to be changed so you can continue to grow in this area? What other help might you need to better achieve your goal?
Or…maybe you realized this was an area that you just weren’t interested in! That is totally okay! Aren’t you glad that you realized that rather than wishing for the rest of your life that you could have learned or done this one thing?
What if you totally failed at your goal? Again, totally fine! This is where you re-evaluate and decide if this is an area that you still want to work on. If your goal needs to be broken down into smaller pieces, or maybe you need to find a mentor to help you in this area. As long as you worked even a little bit at your goal it is not a total failure. We grow by learning and trying new things. That’s what is important to focus on here!
Goal: learn to play the piano. Evaluate if this is something you are still interested in learning. If so, make a new chart to keep practicing, choose a new song you want to learn. If not, set a new goal to help you discover new talents or interests!
This is one of the most important areas if you ask me. We have set up a system in our family where we all report our goals to the family. Each week two people will review their goals from the past month with the family. They will tell us how they did and anything special or exciting about their goals. They will also present their new goals for the next month to the family. We ask them what help they will need to achieve these goals and we all work together to help each other feel and be successful!
Two other really important tools that help us best succeed in our goal setting are a family goal chart and individual goal reminders. These help us visually see our goals in the places we spend the most time.
Family Goal Chart
We have a large family goal chart in our kitchen. We spend most of our time in the kitchen, so it only made sense to have it here so that we can see our goals and be reminded of what we are working toward. I just bought a large square frame and separated it into 4 squares each labeled with the various categories, and put wrote the scripture in the middle. I did all of this with a wet erase marker, including writing the names of each family member. Then, when we meet together to talk about goals, we will write each person’s individual goals on the board with a dry erase marker. Our “template” in wet erase marker stays there forever, but the dry erase goals are able to be quickly and easily changed out!
Individual Goal Reminders
In addition to the Family Goal Chart, we have small picture frames in each kid’s room. They slip our goal sheet inside and are easily able to change out their goals either by writing them on their goal sheet, or with a dry erase marker on the frame itself.
Here is a free copy of the printable that we use! It is simple, colorful, and helps keep the focus on the goals we are setting!