I’ve always set goals. This has happened, generally, in two ways. First it’s happened naturally, as I’ve decided what I want, or where I want to be, and then thought out the process to get there. The process was in my head and I set out and got to where I wanted to be. The second way is a bit more mechanical. This form of goal setting consists of thinking about my goals, writing them down, breaking them down to the small achievable elements, and then being very disciplined about going through those steps to achieve the goal.
When I was younger, the natural goal selection and attainment came, well, a lot more naturally. I guess it was because there was so much less clutter in my life. Perhaps it was because, at that age, I didn’t have to convince myself so much that the goal was a good one, or achievable, or worth the work. When you’re younger, you haven’t met with defeats and failures at those things you’ve set out to achieve, so that initial resistance to hold back just isn’t there.
When I was young, I was a go getter, and no one had to convince me to go out and get things that I wanted. Wanting to achieve came naturally.
These days, some of my goals still happen naturally, but increasingly I find myself taking the more mechanical route. It doesn’t bother me though, because when I know what I want, I just have to work a bit more consciously to get there.
I’m battling with this at the moment when it comes to my children. As an adult, I can see the value of setting goals. I can see the worth of setting out and achieving the things that you want. I can see that the mechanical way works for me (now). As an adult, I want to help my kids be better, and live a happy life. My adult brain wants to introduce them to setting goals.
I’m a dad and sometimes I make the mistake of trying interfere too much!
(As a side note, I am not saying that I want to tell my kids what their goals should be. Their dreams and what they want to achieve are their own domain. I’m not pushing anyone to become a pro football player – unless that is their dream. The actual goal doesn’t concern me, it’s how they go about achieving the goals that I’m talking about.)
At the moment here’s what I am doing. When my kids start to talk about things they want to do, I get excited about it for them – I get interested, I ask questions, and I let them tell me all about it. Kids like to talk and be listened to (don’t we all)! There’s value in talking things out loud and telling others what you want to do. Responding to your children in a positive way when they talk about their dreams must help them believe they are achievable.
Does anyone out there have experiences around goal setting with children? Are there resources you’ve seen, or research that shows the importance of helping your children set goals? More importantly, does the research or resources show the best way to approach goal-setting with children?
I’m really interested in how other parents feel about this topic.