A New Year or new school year arrives, lofty resolutions are set. Anything from working out daily to saving money to making all A’s to losing weight, our society knows how to dream big! However, when big dreams aren’t broken down into smaller, achievable goals, failure often ensues. And to make matters worse, our children watch us throughout this short-lived journey. So how can we teach our children to be excited about making personal changes while ensuring the goals are age-appropriate and attainable?
It all starts with a desire to accomplish something new or change something you currently do. When we help children with this process, it is important to find out what they wish to achieve…not what we want for them. The goal then needs to be written down and broken up into smaller, short term goals that are set in a certain frame of time. This will keep the momentum going as they begin achieving these quicker objectives and tracking their progress will help them see how much they have improved. Checking in and reevaluating goals throughout the course of it will also help ensure personal success.
With success and development in mind, Melody Johnson created the Life SKILLZ program as a supplemental course to the SKILLZ program. Within this, goal setting is one component and students of all ages learn this skill. The best part is that Life SKILLZ are age appropriate because the lessons are broken down by developmental stage. By doing it this way, children learn how to set attainable goals that are realistic for their stage of development.
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When we help children set goals and apply active learning in the process, it helps them learn responsibility and focus as well as time management skills. For younger children, it is a way to set expectations that they can learn. For older children, it is a way to prompt a more mature understanding of goal setting and they can set longer term goals as well. For any age, however, when goals are accomplished, children’s self-esteem and self-awareness are increased.
RELATED ARTICLE: Goal Setting
Martial Arts traditionally addresses this with our belt ranking systems. By using the SKILLZ program, American Family Martial Arts, addresses short term goals in class each day. Students are trained on a different skill according to their age group. At the end of the class, the students are given an opportunity to perform the skill for the instructor. When they have completed this skill successfully, they earn a stripe for their belt. These short-term achievements keep them motivated to continue to set new goals for themselves and work to accomplish them.
As the students work towards earning all eight stripes on their belt during karate classes in Baton Rouge or Prairieville, they are ultimately working towards their long-term goals for the testing cycle. The long-term goal accomplishment will be finalized through testing where the students will perform all skills they have learned and, finally, receive the next belt in their level. American Family Martial Arts reviews the life skill of goal-setting as part of our karate classes. Each month features a different life skill.
But keep in mind, throughout this process there will ups and downs. When things don’t go as planned, children may feel frustrated. It is vital that all achievements be celebrated, no matter how small. Remind them that improvements have been made no matter what the outcome is. Make sure that you help your child document all of these small wins by using posters or goal ladders. Whether or not the goal is met in the timeframe originally set, make sure to applaud all effort that your child has shown.
Goal setting can be an exciting thing but can also be overwhelming especially for children. When we help them write their goals down and make them into easily attainable small goals, we help them build their confidence. Celebrating their effort and perseverance throughout the process will help them continue to feel motivated. The result will be a life skill that will help them become successful adults.