Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Kids, Goal-setting and Setting up a Success Loop

Thinking about goals for grownups often brings to mind big things - a goal of a new job or career, a big financial goal, a new house or car. And how much self-believe a person has can affect their chances of achieving these big goals.

How do SMALL experiences for SMALL people either build or undermine a child's levels of self-belief, which they will then carry into adulthood?

If you simplify achievement as a sequence like this:

I want xyz -> I'm motivated to take action -> I achieve my goal

... then giving children the opportunity to repeat this sequence, over and over, with SMALL goals when they are very young, will build neural pathways that will give them more and more self-belief, so that as they grow they can confidently set bigger and bigger goals.

So don't think your child necessarily needs to set big goals - instead you can focus on providing them with small, simple experiences that help them experience over and over: I WANT -> I TAKE ACTION -> I GET.

For instance: Child: "I want to go to the park," -> Parent: "Good goal! To be able to go to the park, we need to clear up the breakfast dishes, put on our coats and boots, and walk to the park." Later: "We made it to the park! This is fun isn't it? We had a good goal!"

Or... Child: "I want xyz cereal," Parent: "Good goal! Let's make sure and eat all our abc cereal up, then we'll be able to go to the shops tomorrow and get xyz cereal."

And so on.

Happy goal setting with your kids!


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