Christmas is over, and a new year has begun. Now what?
For some, it’s back to the grind of work, school and whatever season of extracurricular your child’s activity demands of everyone’s time and commitment.
For kids in school, January represents a new calendar year and marks the halfway point of the school year. As a parent, how can you keep your child motivated to finish the school year strong and continue to grow to reach their full potential?
First, it’s essential to help your kids set some goals and understand why having goals is the key to staying motivated to finish the school year strong and succeed in life. Here are five reasons why your kids should have goals.
1. Goals Are Our Responsibility.
If your kids don’t have goals, someone or something else will run their lives for them. Their lives will either be lived by design or by default. Sadly, too many kids make bad choices and never fulfill their true potential because they’ve spent so much time reacting to everything life throws at them. Too many kids start as an original and become copies, trying to conform to what everyone else “thinks” they should be. Encourage your kids to be non-conformists and live out their dreams and goals for their own lives.
2. Goals Are Statements of Belief.
The greatest risk in life is not taking one. Encourage your kids to dream BIG dreams. What do your kids dream about for their future? Kids often overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in 10. Have them write down their dreams and goals. The reason why most people never reach their goals is that they can’t define them. I love this quote by Dawson Trotman: “Thoughts disentangle themselves, passing over the lips and through pencil tips.” The difference between a dream and a goal is that a goal is written down and has a timeline to it. Encourage your kids to use their imagination, think big, and have fun dreaming about who they want to become and what they want to do with their lives. Help them write or type them down, and encourage them to review them weekly.
3. Goals Focus Your Energy.
Having goals will keep your kids from the “default” mode of life, constantly reacting to the endless possibilities and distractions life throws at them. Goals keep them from wasting time, money, reputation, energy, missed opportunities and a wasted life. Like a focused light, it can start a fire. Focus light even longer; it can become a laser that cuts through steel and kills cancer.
4. Goals Keep Us Motivated.
Our goals give us hope to keep moving forward when life gets hard. Having long-term goals keeps us from being discouraged and defeated by short-term setbacks. Goals don’t have to be big to be important. Getting from point A to point B is a win. However, between A and B are little steps; each step is important and deserves to be celebrated after each victory. Momentum is the result of one success at a time. My dad used to say, “Big shots are small shots who keep on shooting.”
5. Goals Build Our Character.
Remind your kids that achieving their goals is not nearly as important as who they are becoming. Becoming bigger on the inside is more important than what they accomplish on the outside. They will never become what they intend to be without being intentional. Goals help build character and give us a greater purpose worth living for.
To help visualize goal-setting for your family this year, imagine a tree with five branches representing five growth areas: spiritual, relational, financial, intellectual and physical. The Family Goals Tree is a perfect metaphor for a life of growth and strength. Our values are the roots that sink deep in fertile soil to nourish our dreams. Our mission and vision for our family create the ground, the foundation, and the soil your tree will use to grow. Each limb of the tree clarifies and solidifies the choices we make. And as these limbs grow, the whole tree becomes fortified. Set aside a family meeting to share these benefits and set goals to help your kids stay motivated to finish strong this school year and stay motivated throughout the calendar year. To help each other set new goals in the five growth areas, below is an easy framework to help guide your goals.
F – Focused: They must be specific.
A – Attainable: They must be realistic and practical.
I – Individual: They must your goals, not someone else’s.
T – Trackable: You must be able to measure progress.
H – Heartfelt: Your goals should motivate you and ignite your passion.
Remember, kids and rubber bands have one thing in common: They must be stretched to be effective and reach their full potential.
Rodney Gage is a family coach, author, speaker, and the founding pastor of ReThink Life Church, which meets at Lake Nona High School. His passion is to help families win at home and in life. To learn more about how you can get a copy of his new book called Why Your Kids Do What They Do, go to www.thewinningfamily.com or ReThinkLife.com.