It’s the start of a new year, which means many of us are thinking about achieving goals for the coming months.

While some people might make a New Year’s resolution light-heartedly with little concern about the follow-through, others look at it as an opportunity to set out a plan for the year.

Setting goals is actually a great practice, not only at the beginning of each year but throughout the year as well.

Research has shown that people are more likely to meet their goals when they put them in writing, tell someone else about those goals, and come up with specific steps to take to reach those goals.

This is a great time to talk to your child about setting goals and achieving those goals.

What are some things you can do to help?

  • Identify goals, both academic and personal.

    • Talk to your child about the difference between long-term and short-term goals. Also, help your child focus on goals that are realistic and achievable. Certainly, this is the perfect time to talk about dreams for the future and career interests. Is your child interested in a career in robotics, programming or video game design? It’s a perfect opportunity to help your child understand the importance of recognising what they can do right now.
  • Come up with action steps. A goal is great. A plan to reach that goal is better.

    • Help your child break goals down into small, specific daily actions. Does your child need to spend extra time on homework? Would your child benefit from a Bricks 4 Kidz® program? If your child dreams of being a video game designer someday, then you can emphasise the importance of doing well in math. And sign them up for our new video game design program!
  • Write goals down and keep a daily journal of progress.

    • In a study at the Dominican University in California, Dr Gail Matthews found that people who spelled out their goals in writing were 42% more likely to achieve those goals. Sharing those goals with someone else adds in accountability. We’re all more likely to stick to a plan of action if someone else knows what we intend to do. At the end of each day, have your child take a few minutes to set down their progress in a journal.
  • Recognise and reward small achievements toward goals.

    • This can be a simple reward (like a favourite snack). What’s most important is those small steps are recognised by them and by you.
  • Reassure your child that it is okay to have a misstep.

    • Help them redirect and get back on track. Very few people ever achieve their goals without encountering some obstacles along the way. Make sure your child understands that it is okay. They may need to revise their plan – but the end goal doesn’t change.

Teaching your child about the importance of setting goals now is a lesson that will put them on the right path for a lifetime of success.