Quick-Step: The #1 Practice To Help Your Kids Reach Their Full Potential.
What It Is: Teaching our children how to make and write down goals.
Why we need this: Most of us parents go to great lengths to give our kids the best education, loving support, and every opportunity possible to succeed in life. But how many of us are teaching them even at an early years the critical importance of writing down their goals?
In his book, What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School, Mark McCormack shares how Harvard researchers conducted a study where they asked Harvard’s graduate students in the MBA program if they had set clear, written goals for their futures, as well as if they have made specific plans to transform their hopes into realities.
Researchers discovered that only 3 percent of the students had written out their goals, with plans for achieving them; 13 percent had goals in their head but had not taken the time to write their goals down; and surprisingly 84% did not have any future goals at all.
Ten years later, researchers interviewed these same students. And guess what? The 3 percent of students who had actually written down their goals were making 10 TIMES as much as the other 97% of students.
Lesson learned. We, and our children, need to be regularly making and writing down our our goals to reach our full potential.
Estimated time: Monthly
How to do it: Middle School Teacher and Writer Amy Lauren Smith shares 5 simple steps she has her students take to achieve their goals:
1. Set a SMART goal.
Many different versions of the acronym SMART have been used in relation to goal setting, but the following is what I have found to work best with middle school students. For a goal to be effective, it must be: Specific, Measurable, Adjustable, Realistic, and Timely.
To explain this concept, I present the kids with a vague goal of mine, such as, “I want to make more friends at work.” By examining the goal through the lens of the SMART descriptors, the kids were able to change it to, “I will eat lunch in the cafeteria with the other teachers at least four days a week.” This new goal hits all of the key points, and is much healthier than eating at my desk.
2. Find someone who can help.
Goals are difficult to accomplish without support, so finding help is an important part of the process. Keep in mind that help can come in many different forms: a parent, coach, teacher, friend, or even a helpful group of seventh graders who check the cafeteria every day to make sure that you’re sticking to your plan.
3. Set goals that are based on action, not circumstance.
For example, “I will not get angry at my little brother” isn’t really a measurable goal, and it likely depends on your brother doing something to provoke an emotional reaction. If you want to get along better with your brother, put a positive spin on it, and change the goal to, “I will play with my little brother for 30 minutes after school everyday.”
4. Write it down.
This one’s backed by science. Recent studies have found that when student write out their goals (and thus, become more likely to achieve them), they’re helping to erase gender and ethnic minority gaps in education. As my mother used to say, “You’ve got to see it to achieve it!” I’m sure I found that highly annoying as a teenager, but now that I'm all grown up, I totally get it. Thanks, mom!
5. Model good goal-setting behavior.
It’s fun for the kids to see me sitting down at the cafeteria socializing with my coworkers. They’ve witnessed how a goal can become a habit, and they feel like they’ve helped me make new friends. Share your goals with your students, whether they're physical, like trying to master a yoga handstand, social, like cutting down on screen time in your family, or professional, like working on an advanced degree. The kids will see that goal setting is a skill they’ll need for life, plus they can help you celebrate your success.
Click here for full article.