Did you know that humans are hard-wired to set and reach goals? Do you set goals for yourself? You may remember setting some goals about starting a family. When you were expecting your child, you may have set goals to eat a certain way or eliminate certain things from your diet. I know I did.
I remember deciding that I wanted to stop drinking caffeinated coffee before I became pregnant. I had read that it was not good for the developing fetus and I wanted to do everything I could from the very beginning to ensure a healthy development. I set the goal and made a plan. I gradually mixed in decaf every couple of days until one day my coffee was all decaf. I set the goal, made the plan and followed it through.
It was not easy – those first couple of days I was a little spacey. I went to work and forgot to lock the front door. So I wrote myself notes and taped them in places I could not miss seeing them – they said "Do not forget to lock the front door." The next day I remembered to lock the front door, but I left the back door wide open! (Lucky for me it was a friendly neighborhood!)
So what does this have to with kids setting goals?
There are many benefits to having your kids set and attain goals. But it is important to remember that the road to reaching goals can have lots of obstacles. That's the point of my story. I did not set the goal and reach it instantly. I had to go through a process to reach it, adjusting my course along the way, and not let the little bumps that occurred take me away from attainment.
When children set goals, it helps them learn to take responsibility for their own actions. This is further encouraged when we help them determine the steps that they must take to achieve their goals. Doing so helps them to realize that if they fail to do the things that are necessary, they will not attain their goals. They must also learn to be accepting of the things that can go wrong in pursuit of their goals, and make corrections along the way.
Goals are also good for self-esteem. It's a wonderful feeling when we achieve our goals, and kids feel especially good about themselves when they accomplish something they have been working toward. If they do not reach their goals on the first try, letting them try again will help them develop discipline.
Goal setting is an important skill through life. It helps to put our desires into words, and it motivates us to work toward attaining the things we want. Getting kids started setting goals at a young age gets them in the habit of continuing to do so as they get older.
When my fourth grader's report card arrived and she saw that she had received four "above expectations" she was thrilled. She recalled that my husband had promised her that she would get $ 5.00 for each "above expectations" grade. She could not wait until he came home to let him know that he "owed" her $ 20.00. He said it was the best $ 20.00 he ever cave anyone!
She is now much more conscientious about doing her school work and is working on her new goal of getting ten "above expectations" grades. I think she is also setting her goal of how she will spend the money!