Set aside time today for a planning session. This doesn’t have to be too long. 30 minutes to 1 hour will do the trick. Make sure that block of time is uninterrupted though. Your child’s attention needs to be focused on the task at hand and not be divided between smartphone, TV, laptop, or any of the myriad devices in today’s home.
During the planning session, ask your child what they would like to achieve right now, in a month, in a year. Pick the one they feel most strongly about and sharpen that pencil! Ask them to visualize their goal and how it will make them feel when they achieve it. This is very important as the image of successfully meeting their goals is critical to the grit necessary to overcome obstacles on the way to that goal.
After writing down the benefit statement work with your child in breaking down the benefit into bite size chunks (goals). Each goal should be SMART; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. What does that mean? I thought you’d never ask.
For example, your child glows when visualizing playing soccer for their school. A good goal would be to ‘make the school soccer team in 6 months by attending soccer practice and practicing at home’. This goal is specific (make the team), measurable (the child either makes the team or not), achievable and realistic (practice), and time-bound (6 months).
An example of a goal that falls short is ‘I want to be better at soccer’. This goal is too vague, doesn’t set a yardstick for success or failure, and doesn’t put a timeframe for achieving of the goal.
After your child defines the goal, have them break it down into achievable steps. Using the soccer goal, for instance, the 6 month goal can be broken out into pieces such as practicing every day after school, asking the school coach for suggestions, working out to get stronger and faster 3 times a week. The main point is that these steps should also be SMART.
Finally, have your son or daughter create a milestone for the goal. If you think of the goal as the top of a building, the actions to get there as steps, then the milestone is the landing of each floor. It serves as a reality check of your progress. For the soccer goal a milestone can be ‘Get 10% faster at running up the field in one month’.
Creating a benefit statement, goal, steps, and milestones are not hard to create. You can do this with your children in less than 1 hour.