Helping kids learn to set goals can be a skill that serves them well in every area of life. However, it can also be a frustrating and discouraging experience for them! How can you help kids not only set goals but develop the patience and persistence to see them through to the end?
Here are some tips:
- Teach kids to examine their beliefs about themselves and goal setting. Here are some beliefs that may keep someone stuck:
- Does the child believe that they deserve to succeed? Or is their image of themselves that of someone who always fails? D
- Are they concerned that if they are successful they will lose something or someone? Perhaps family, friends or classmates would be unhappy, jealous, resentful, or disappointed? Are they afraid that they will no longer fit in?
- Teach kids to measure their progress toward their goal by the gap and the gain. When they measure the gap, they measure how far they have to go from where they are now to the goal. This is the obvious measurement that most use when talking about goal setting. Next teach them to measure the gain. This means measuring where they are now from where they started. Both measurements are helpful but just measuring the gap can make for a discouraged and unhappy student who feels they are not making progress.
- Celebrate both the gap and the gain. Recognize the effort that it takes to achieve milestones as well as the goal itself. The gap refers to how far a student has come from the point where they started. Often an individual can become so focused on the goal and how far away it is that they fail to give themselves credit for how far they have come. When this happens, there is a tendency to give up or become discouraged. Focusing on the gain as well as the goal can be motivating.
Mindset is Key
What we believe about ourselves shapes who we are. It shapes the goals we set, the path we take and the energy we put into accomplishing our dreams. If we believe ourselves to be inadequate to meet the challenge or incapable of pushing our limits then we will be stuck doing what we’ve always been doing and getting the same results we’ve always gotten. Take the time to not only teach kids how to set goals but also how to manage their mindset and measure their progress for success.
Need a ready made lesson on Mindset?
Wyatt the Wonder Dog didn’t make it on the All Star baseball team and he feels like a loser. All his friends will be playing baseball this summer, while he and his pesky sister, Callie, visit grandparents at the beach. How Wyatt learns to handle disappointment and failure will be an important lesson for the future. Will he give up trying new things? Will he have the confidence to try again? Are there some things that take more practice and persistence to learn than others?
This book is funny! Its dogs doing things that only people do! I learned to try new things. ~ ~Samuel Traub, Age 6