Friday, January 11, 2008

Setting Goals

Setting Goals

Teach your child to turn dreams into reality with the practical magic of goal setting.

Goal setting is the process of making a dream come true step-by-step. The desire to meet a challenge and succeed has been a part of many cultures throughout history. The ancient Peruvians used to draw out their goals in symbols and paint them in primitive colors on the walls of caves. The Egyptians used to create elaborate rituals to move from the state of desire to actualization. They believed that writing out a dream in advance would assure a positive outcome.

Here are a few simple steps to follow to help your child set goals successfully.

Seven Principles for Setting Goals

1. Listen First: Encourage your child to become quiet and listen to the wisdom within before setting a goal. Many goals are born out of competition or excessive striving rather than from one's own integrity. A healthy and solid goal follows listening to one's inner wisdom, rather than the reverse. Go over these vital questions before setting goals:

* Is this goal something i really want?
* Does this goal serve me in my life right now?
* What will I need to bring this dream into reality?

Once these questions have been answered to your child's satisfaction, you can begin to create a game plan.

2. Create Smart Goals: Getting clear and specific about goals will help your child to create a personal map to success. The more realistic the goal, the more likely it is to take place, as long as the goal is something that your child truly wants rather than something force-fed by a well-intentioned adult. Consider these five key questions when helping your child to set "smart" goals:

Sensible - Does it make sense to do this?
Measurable - How will I measure when I've arrived?
Attainable - Can I actually attain the now?
Realistic - Is it possible and realistic at this time?
Time line - How much time will it take me?

3. See It and Believe It: Once the goal has been set, encourage your child to begin to see it as though it had already occurred. Drawing out goals in pictures, writing the down in vivid detail, or describing the desired end result on tape are great ways to keep the energy flowing in a positive direction. Once your child has set the goals, this will be the most important step to focus on each day.

4. Set Monthly Goals: Setting one or two monthly goals is a good way to practice the principles and see results quickly. A family of four selects one main goal per month each, along with a chart for marking down their progress on the refrigerator. Each person places a start on a winning day. They don't believe in failure, and they claim that they only have two kinds of days-- "I did it" days and "Give it all you've got tomorrow" days. At the end of the month, they have a Excellence Dinner to celebrate their successes. (Usually all four of them succeed, since they enjoy keeping one another motivated.)

5. Set Yearly Goals: Make yearly goal setting a family affair. Consider creating goals for the ear in the following categories:

* Business or school
* Family and friends
* Money
* Vacation
* Learning
* Spirituality
* Physical health

Break these down into bite-sized pieces by creating goals for the month, and read over the yearly goals at least once a week.

6. Reward Your Progress: Rewards can provide a fun lift along the way. Create small weekly or monthly rewards to stay motivated, since every step along the way is a step toward success and worthy of acknowledgment! Give one another hugs, pats on the back, cheers, and encouragement. If someone slips, support that person in getting back on track.

7. Be Wiling to Let It All Go: Sometimes something unexpected appears, and sings indicated that a change is needed. Being willing to drop a goal in favor of something more timely is a mark of courage and wisdom. Encourage your child to remain open to changes, and practice the art of detachment. There is a Zen saying that offers wise counsel during times of unexpected change:

"Face change by resisting the current and perish. Move with change, resilient to the flow, and flourish."

(100 Ways to Build Self-Esteem and Teach Values by Diana Loomans with Julia Loomans)