Goal-setting is the common theme of January as New Year’s resolutions are made. Things start out well at the beginning of the month, but by the end of the month, many of our grand plans have fallen in a heap and we give up on the idea of achieving our goals. 

So, what are some ways that you can make goals and keep them? How can you help your child to achieve some sustainable goals when it comes to life skills and learning?

Why is goal-setting important? 

Researchers believe that most people who set goals fail to achieve them for a few simple reasons. This includes a fear of failure, a lack of commitment, and not clearly identifying the “why” of a goal. For others, it’s poor or non-existent planning for reaching the goal, a lack of belief that they can do it, or limited motivation to do what it takes. 

However, it’s still important to set goals, because failure is certain if you never try! Goals must be: 

  • Achievable

If a goal seems too hard to achieve or you don’t have the time or resources it will take, you will likely lose the motivation to persist. Instead of focusing on a huge goal, try breaking it into smaller goals and focus on those. 

  • Specific

You must know exactly what the result of your goal-setting will be. When your goal is crystal-clear, your mind paints a picture of the thing that you want, and it will subconsciously help you to bring it into reality. 

  • Measurable

How will you measure your progress? Is your goal something tangible that you can put into a chart with numbers? Or is it something you need to measure another way? Decide how you will measure your progress before you start. 

  • Realistic

Having big dreams is a wonderful thing and no one should be discouraged from following their bright ideas. 

That said, it’s also important to ensure that your goals can be achieved, or you will lose motivation or become frustrated and give up. 

  • Timed

Goals need a timeframe to come to fruition, otherwise, they become an open-ended dream that never gets accomplished. Is the timeframe for your goals achievable? Do you have the time it will take to make them happen?

Kids and goals: It’s important for them, too!

Kids need goals as much as adults do. They need to experience the satisfaction that goes with accomplishing a new skill or mastering a tricky problem. Even family life will benefit from some goals to make it work better. 

Working with your therapist can help you identify some family goals or things for your child to aim for. Just for fun, I thought I would share my favourites (because lots of families experience challenges in these areas, so if this is you, you’re not alone!).

 

Top 5 goals for families and kids

Here are some of the ideas that might work for your family:

1. Help your child dress faster

Lots of kids dawdle with dressing in the morning, which can be extremely frustrating for a parent when everyone needs to get out the door on time. 

Try turning it into a game instead. Set a timer and get your kids to race the timer. If they do, they can put a sticker on a reward chart, and at the end of the month, if they have consistently raced the timer, they get a small reward. The same idea can be applied to other areas your child struggles with. 

The goal is to be consistent for a month and establish a new habit. 

2. Get everyone in bed earlier

Bedtimes are something many families struggle with, but it’s worth setting a goal to establish a regular bedtime. The whole family will benefit as everything runs more smoothly. 

Set a goal for bedtime to be at a certain time, then put a timeframe on the things that must happen first, such as dinner, baths, storytime etc. Be consistent, and you’ll eventually establish a new habit. It’s worth persisting past the initial resistance you might encounter because in the end, everyone will accept the new routine and family life will flow more smoothly. 

3. Set goals for downtime

Most of us are too busy and too stressed to spend quality family time together. We’re always on the go, heading to one event or another. 

But downtime as a family is so important to the health and wellbeing of each individual and the family unit as a whole. The best way to set goals for family togetherness is to treat your time as you would a financial budget. Make sure there’s room in your “time budget” to spend at least one evening a week together, or a day together on the weekend, or whatever works best for your family. 

4. Re-evaluate screen time

Do you feel as if everyone in the family is constantly looking at a screen? Are you concerned about the effect of too much screen time on the kids? It’s a well-researched fact that too much screen time can interfere with sleep, focus, and the quality of family life. 

Try cutting back on screen time by allocating times and places for use. For example, make family night a screen-free zone. Set a timer for younger children to have a set amount of screen time, or make a rule that there are no devices in bedrooms so you can keep an eye on what your kids are doing online. 

5. Plan some stress relief

The world we live in is stressful, and a good way to deal with it is to plan some activities that are restful or relaxing. If you are a parent, it’s so important to care for yourself, because the rest of the family needs you in good shape to function well. 

It’s a good idea to put aside half an hour each day to do something that feeds your own soul. Write a list of things you’d like to do, then make it a goal to tick them off your list. Want to get fit, lose some weight, write a novel, or learn a new skill? Put it on your list, then work out the steps you need to accomplish your goal. 

Be flexible, patient, and persistent

Goals require persistence, patience, and flexibility. Don’t give up if you don’t get there right away or circumstances seem stacked against you. Keep going one step at a time, and explore other ways of reaching your goal if you hit roadblocks. Be patient with yourself and your kids, and remember that no one is good at something new right away. 

As always, if you’d like to know more handy hints and tips to help your kids learn new skills or make family life run smoother, head over to my website. You’ve got this!

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