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  • Writer's pictureMegan

Wishful Thinking VS Goal Setting

My family sat around a large wooden table this past Thanksgiving as my dad shared the characteristics of successful goal setting. He quoted Antoine de Saint-Exupéry saying, "A goal without a plan is just a wish." Discussing goal setting with my parents, siblings, and their families is not a new thing, but this year, it struck me the intention, forward thinking, and detail needed to develop tangible and realistic goals. It is easy to make a list of wishful thoughts and another thing to create and achieve goals of intention. Goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic.

Defining the ambiguous

Instead of listing, "be healthier or get to know more people," ask yourself, "How can I make this goal specific?" How do you define that? Is being healthier working out more or eating more vegetables? Is knowing more people making more friends or networking with like-minded professionals?

Making it measurable

How will you know you achieved a goal if you do not include a form of measurement? Determine an end date for your goal or frequency of task remembering to be specific. Instead of saying "I'll workout more," determine how many times a week you will workout and how you will measure progress - by increasing how much you bench press? By running a mile in a certain amount of time? Who will hold you accountable to assist you in measuring your progress?

Attainable and realistic

Attainable meaning accessible, obtainable, achievable. Realistic meaning practical, sensible.

If you have never run a day in your life and you are recovering from a broken ankle, saying you will run a marathon this year may not be attainable and realistic. Instead, maybe you set a goal to run a 10k or half marathon this year with the intention to run a marathon the next year.

Helping children define their dreams

What is it that your children desire to do? Maybe they want to build a treehouse or make the dance team. Whatever your child's dream, take some time to discuss and practice goal setting with them. Be their biggest fan and greatest encourager. By helping them make their goals specific, measurable, and attainable, they will be able to look back at the end of the year and celebrate their success!

The Big Life Journal is a great resource for encouraging children and their parents to have a growth mindset and achieve goals. Below is a picture of one of their helpful resources on goal setting.

Handout from their weekly free printables email

Happy New Year and happy goal setting!

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