Get S.M.A.R.T about helping your kids achieve their goals, borrowed from corporate America
By Lilly Cadoch
The New Year is filled with the desire to achieve new goals. As busy caregivers, how do we know what goals for our children are worth pursuing? In today’s day and age, we want to expose our kids to as much as possible in the hopes that they find their niche and excel. By doing this we overschedule them and, as a result, ourselves. A lot of the time, your child may not even like what you signed them up for and just going through the motions.
So how do you know what a worthy activity, project or endeavor is to put your time, energy and resources into? It should align with the end-goals you or your child ultimately want to achieve. Whether that is scoring a goal in next week’s soccer match, saving up money to buy a video game or getting a good grade in this year’s science project.
It’s important to have goals and to state them out loud and on paper so that the energy is put out there in the universe to help achieve them. When helping my kids figure out their goals, I use what I learned in the corporate world and get S.M.A.R.T. The first step is to define SMART goals. A “SMART” goal is defined as a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound.”
S – It should be clearly written and defined so you know exactly what you want to do.
M – It should be measurable so you know when you have achieved the goal.
A – It should be achievable and challenge you slightly, but never be out of reach.
R – It should measure results and outcomes, not activities.
T – It should have a clear timeframe for achieving the desired goal.
It’s not realistic in our very busy hectic lives to do this very often. To take again from the corporate world, I try to do this once a year, usually at the beginning of the calendar year or the beginning of the school year when the kids are all jazzed up to start anew. I then try to look at those goals again with them mid-point into the year, to see how they are tracking and then follow the process again before the end of the year. And just like in where corporate America achieving goals are tied to raises and promotions, I tie my kids achieving their goals to compensation in terms of increased allowance, surprise memorable experiences and more opportunities for increased independence.
Below is a sample of one of my son’s goals for this school year. The bullets on the first column in the table below are the goals he provided. You may notice that they are broad and a bit vague which can make it hard to measure and therefore hard to achieve. We took those broad goals as a starting point and drilled down together to make sure they hit the SMART goal criteria, as reflected in the second column in the table below.
I recommend making this goal setting experience special. Take your child to a café or park with notepad and pen. Grab a drink and a snack and start talking to them about the benefits of goal setting and come up with 3-5 SMART goals for the year. Try to have a mix of academic, athletic and personal growth goals. Once you feel good about those goals, spend quality time with your child making your alone time out special and memorable.
To raising happy healthy kids one goal at a time!
These tips were inspired by my book, “Busy Mom’s Cheat Sheet: Raising Happy Healthy Kids.” For more tips, inspiration and 45 delicious recipes that are quick, easy and healthy, check out my book on Amazon.