August is here which means children are going back to school and many adults and entrepreneurs are gearing up to finish out their work year strong. One of the best ways to kick off August is with a goal setting exercise, most are fresh from vacation and ready for a strong new start.
This is a great family activity to do after the first week of school to allow children and families the chance to get back into the groove of their regularly scheduled routine. (It is also a great exercise for adults and entrepreneurs to evaluate work performance for the first quarter and to set goals for the last quarter of the year.)
Family Goal Setting:
First work together to create a goal for the family and then have everyone set one of their own.
Communicate that they this exercise is for everyone to work on accomplishing something that is personal to them. It can involve any aspect of their health – physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, or social.
Here are some of the key points to go over before you get started:
- Set a SMART goal.
For a goal to be effective, it must be: Specific, Measurable, Adjustable, Realistic, and Timely.
To explain this concept, present the kids with a vague goal, such as, “I want to make more friends at school.” By examining the goal through the lens of the SMART descriptors, families can change it to something like “I will greet a new classmate every day at least four days a week.” This new goal hits all of the key points, and is a tangible way to kick start key social skills like joining in with friends!
- Hold each other accountable.
Goals are difficult to accomplish without support, so helping each other is an important part of the process. Keep in mind that help can come in many different forms: a coach, teacher, friend, or even a helpful group of classmates to make sure that you’re sticking to your plan.
- Use positive language
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 every day.”
- Write it down.
Studies have found that when we write out our goals we become more likely to achieve them. You can create a vision board to depict your goals with pictures or just create a poster with the goals listed out. Be sure to hang these in a visible place to help keep you motivated!
- Share your progress!
Share your goal progress, whether they’re physical, like trying to master a yoga pose, social, like having more family play dates, or professional, like starting a new business. The family will see that goal setting is a skill they’ll need for life, plus they can help you celebrate your success!
As a bonus, there is a goal setting sheet to get you and your family started…. August brings so many beautiful things, now you can add goal setting to your list!
Until next time,
LeNaya Smith Crawford, MAMFT, CYT