Thursday, 16 May 2013

Goal Setting for Middle Schoolers

Goal Setting for Middle Schoolers—
Goal setting is a great habit for kids to learn and master.  But, goal setting and following through on established goals are two different things! This is where journaling comes in handy.

There is simply no better tool out there to help remind a person how far they’ve come and how much they’ve achieved
toward their chosen goals than a written record in the form of a journal. By maintaining a special journal dedicated to goals, children will be able to see their progress, and seeing progress is what will encourage and motivate them to keep working toward the achievement of their chosen goals.
Meaningful, insightful and useful goal setting occurs when the focus of the goal is on self-awareness, personal development and growth. In other words, goal setting is about the child’s interests, wants, desires… not on what others want the child to do or be.
Goal setting is simple, really, and can be broken down in to three parts.
Simple Goal Setting Steps
1. Identify a Goal
2. Record the Goal (write it down!)
3. Monitor Progress toward the Achievement of a Goal
Unfortunately, part three of the goal setting steps is often forgotten or set aside, and as we’ve already explored, it is journaling that can help motivate kids to follow through on their goals.  The key is to engage the child in their goal journal. To do this let’s discuss how to help kids identify meaningful goals that will capture their interest through all three goal setting steps outline above.

How to Help Kids Create Goals

When it comes to goal setting for middles schoolers, it is essential to help them set goals that excite passion, interest, and enthusiasm. It is also essential that children learn to write goals from a personal development perspective.  The single easiest way to get a child to identify a meaningful goal is to ask this key question:

“What talent, gift or capacity gives you joy and
how can you grow it?”

Help a child dig a little deeper by exploring the question in greater detail.  Here are some suggestions on how to do so:
What unique talents do you possess that bring you joy? Are there hidden talents just waiting to emerge? If so, what are they and how can you grow them?
What gift (usually a skill) do you already possess that you can offer to this world?  How can you use this gift in new, fun and exiting ways?
Are you able to be patient with others? Do you find yourself motivating others or encouraging them to do better?  These are special capacities that you possess. How can you grow your special capacities and benefit from them?
By helping a student set goals based on their talents, gifts and capacities they will be more engaged and motivated to follow their stated goal through to achievement.  Basically, this is about identifying strengths and building upon them, not trying to overcome one’s weaknesses. This is an important distinction!
Journal keeping is a great tool to help children not only set goals but also monitor and, ultimately, achieve their goals. Journaling in a notebook, a printed book or an online journal is a great way to help a child track, monitor and see the progress s/he is making toward their goals.
Journaling and goal setting (and keeping) is a perfect partnership.  Have your middle schoolers try it. They’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. I guarantee it!
“There is no single effort more radical
in its potential for saving the world
than a transformation of the way we raise our children.”
~ Marianne Williamson

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