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Goal Setting


  • Encourage your child to make goal-setting part of their routine.  Work with them to ensure goals are realistic and measurable.  Put the goals in writing and evaluate progress.


  • Too often goal setting resembles making New Year’s resolutions.  Encourage your child to set one goal in each domain: social, physical, cognitive or academic, spiritual.


  • Measurable goals are goals that are broken down into measurable parts. Think of it as making a cake. Each small step is critical to how the cake turns out.


  • Encourage your child to begin using a “Things To Do” list.  It can start basic and grow. Incorporate time goals in the list.  Evaluate progress at the end of each day.


  • Have your child set a short-term goal such as purchasing a much desired video game.  Help them understand the necessary steps toward achieving that goal (understanding the cost, earning the money, ordering the game, etc.).  Then help them translate that lesson to more mundane but more valuable goal-setting for tasks such as school projects.


  • Part of successful goal completion is anticipating obstacles that may interfere.  As your child sets goals, help them understand how to anticipate those obstacles and to include contingencies for dealing with those as part of the goal-setting process.


  • If a task is too daunting or complex, break it into smaller parts and complete it one step at a time. One example might be “cleaning their room” which can be broken into at least six or seven parts e.g. making the bed, picking up all foreign objects from the floor, polishing the brass headboard, etc.


  • Have your child set a long-term career goal and discuss the step-by-step process for reaching it.  Arrange opportunities for your child to interview someone in that career, emphasizing goal-setting behavior.


  • Discuss successful individuals and determine the experiences, backgrounds, opportunities, and critical events that led these individuals to their success.


  • Present fictional examples of people with specific goals and, based on their strengths, weaknesses, and special talents, discuss whether their goals appear realistic.


  • Young people often set unrealistic goals for themselves based on people they admire or want to emulate, such as athletes or entertainers.  Have frank discussions with them regarding the skills sets, work loads, and resources required to achieve such careers.


For more information or targeted strategies regarding your child’s specific strengths or challenges contact our Family Support Coordinator, Dr. Liz Simpson (Liz@soarnc.org).