As the new school term begins, it is important for kids to learn how to re-evaluate their goals for the year. It’s a great opportunity for them to see how far they have progressed since the start of Term 1 and to see what they may need to do in Term 3 to achieve any future goals. Goal setting can often become a complicated process, even for adults so it is important that we can simplify it enough to enable our students and children to develop these thinking processes.
Jim Wiltens, a professional author and skills developer has been able to distill concepts and break them into simple steps that work with adults and children alike. His book, Goal Express!, provides 5 simple steps to teach children how to goal set and how to evaluate opportunities.
Step 1: Write it down, or draw it – Writing it down or visualising the overall goal or objective allows the child to put themselves in the position of achievement. They will be able to feel what it could be like to achieve the goal, creating a drive and want to achieve. This can also be used as motivational tool throughout the process, asking the child, ‘how will YOU feel if you achieve this goal?’ For example, writing down, ‘I want to get better at Kumite’.
Step 2: Make it clear and simple! – Complicated goals or generalised goals are usually not achieved. So, breaking it down into specific goals will help make the goal more realistic and feasible. For example, ‘I want to be able to kick to the head with ease’.
Step 3: Analyse the pros and cons – This step is very important to develop the student’s reasoning skills and allows them to take ownership over the decision-making process. They will be required to identify what the obstacles may be, as well as the benefits, and reason with themselves regarding how feasible the goal is. For example, cons: It will take additional time to train and my week is very busy. Pros: I will have more weapons to use during Kumite. After listing the pros and cons, the child will then be able to objectively assess the likelihood and feasibility of their goal, and will also encourage them to design a game plan of what they need to do to achieve their goal, teaching them responsibility and organisational skills.
Step 4: Define the small steps by using the three ‘Ws’ – To help them begin the process it is important they understand that they are not alone. So asking the three ‘W’ questions will keep them supported and summarise their game plan. “WHO can help me?” – This can be their parent, their coach, their teacher. “WHAT do I need to do?” – Stretch more and practice the kick. “WHEN can I do it?” – I will come to Karate 30 mins early to start stretching and practice.
Step 5: Monitor progress – This step is often forgotten which is the main reason kids lose motivation. Set a date and time with the person that is holding the child accountable, ie. parent or coach, to meet with them a few weeks from then to assess progress. Setting a date will assist in maintaining progress checks and keeping the child on track to achieving the goal. This method also works for adults who are working towards something. This step also encourages the student to seek feedback and develop a healthy relationship with constructive criticism. They are taught to understand that making mistakes is ok, and having that time to reassess their progress to tweak and refine will help them develop this way of thinking.