2020. A new year and a new decade. The New Year brings the opportunity to reflect on the past year and on the future. We have discussed in other blogs how reflecting on ourselves and our experiences, as well as being aware of our desires for the future will motivate us towards growth! But what to do with that knowledge can be where things can become tricky… enter the infamous New Year’s Resolution. So many people make them, so few can stick to them. Why is it that we find it so difficult?
Goal Setting is another foundational tool for growth that Citywise uses to help children unlock their passion and purpose and grow. Using the SMART approach to goal setting we help children bring their desires into focus by challenging them to express their goal in a way that is: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. We then use the WOOP approach to help them commit to and achieve their goal.
So what does this mean for parents? Practising goal setting techniques in our own lives will not only help us but also model them to our children. And once we have the hang of it, we can teach them too.
Below are a few tips learnt from these techniques that could help you supercharge your parenting goals and make your wishes come true. Imagine what you could achieve, and what you could help your child to achieve by using these techniques and sticking to your goals.
Our values and priorities will tell us what we should spend our time doing. Our goal should be something that is important to us but also challenging. 2020 marks the year my oldest child will start school, that means we as a family will need to prioritise preparing for that. But ‘preparing to start school’ would not be a helpful goal to set, it is too big and vague. Goals need to be specific. “By September we will have shopped for the essential items they need to start school.” This has a time and a focus, it is only linked to one activity- shopping for the essentials. It isn’t too broad, but can still be broken down into smaller actions.
If a goal is too big, we may feel like we can never achieve it. Making a goal actionable means breaking it down into smaller actions that aid the fulfilment of the final goal.
“Each month we will shop for the essential items they need to start school.” That way you have a clear plan for what you are going to do and how you will take steps to achieve the goal. Taking it in smaller actions means we can measure how we are progressing toward our goal too.
Sometimes we set goals because we want to take drastic action. We might expect too much of ourselves or of someone else. A certain amount of weight loss may be unrealistic, or a certain grade to be achieved by a child may not be within their current ability in such a short space of time. Our goals need to be realistic. Self-reflection can help us gain a clearer picture of what is within our capability with the resources we have. If we find it is out of our current reach, it may be that our goal needs to take a few steps back to give us more space and time to grow.
For example, right now I’m not fully aware of everything a child might need for school and I know it will be expensive. How can my goal reflect that? “We will research and make a list of the essential items needed to start school. Each month we will shop for a certain number of the essential items they need to start school and tick them off the list.”
The WOOP approach encourages us to be aware of the obstacles that we will face. Not circumstances or external things that get in the way, but instead obstacles inside of us that mean we may avoid, give up or get distracted from our goal. For example, I imagine the obstacles to getting the essentials needed for my oldest to start school. I realise that your first child going to school is an emotional transition for us as parents and it’s hard to let go and let them grow up. This emotion could mean we avoid going out to do the shopping for this.
The awareness of the things that might prevent us from achieving our wish can help us to make a contingency plan of how to overcome it. Our plan is a “when… then I will…” plan. So “When I feel like I’m not ready for them to go to school, then I will think about my child and write down 3 reasons I think they are ready for this change.” Hopefully, this action will counter the obstacle within me and encourage me to keep on track.
Now I have made a plan for my obstacle when I face it I will know how to overcome it!
Equally important is imagining how it will feel to accomplish your goal. Or encourage your child to imagine it. Visualising the goal achieved and how that might feel can motivate you to stick to your goal.
With tips and techniques like these Citywise equips children to unlock their potential and discover their passion and purpose. We cover more topics like this in our Purposeful Parents Discussion Groups. Click here if you would like to find out more!