Setting goals is a vital practice that can benefit anyone with a dream or a vision for their future. Young people who are just starting out on the grand journey of life are at a particularly opportune time to start building their goal setting skills—not only will these skills serve them throughout their lives, but building them now will help them mold their future into one that they desire.
Parents can encourage goal setting in their children—and absolutely should do so—but the importance of this skill justifies its inclusion in our schools’ curriculum. The world of education is an excellent place to introduce children to goal setting, lay the foundations for effective goal setting, and begin to practice setting and striving towards personally meaningful goals.
How to Best Teach Goal Setting to Students
If you’re looking for some concrete examples of the best ways to teach your students’ goal setting, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for lesson plans, exercises, activities, and examples.
Examples of Goal Setting for Teachers
The Children’s Center for Psychiatry, Psychology, and Related Services provide five great examples—one per each aspect of the SMART goal setting method—that teachers can use to teach their students about setting SMART goals:
- Specific – Don’t say “I want to get better grades in school,” say “I will get all Bs and higher on my report card.”
Measurable – Make sure your goal is measurable; in this case, it can be measured by looking at your report card when the next grading period ends.
- Attainable – Keep your goals attainable or achievable; don’t say “I will make all straight As on my next report card,” rather say “I will raise all my grades by one letter by my next report card.”
- Realistic and Relevant – Goals need to be realistic to achieve and relevant to the student; if the student doesn’t care about their grades, they won’t care about their goal.
- Time-limited and Trackable – Encourage students to put a realistic time frame on their goals; don’t set a goal to raise your grades by next week or next year, set a goal to raise them by your next progress report or the end of the term.
Using Goal Setting Effectively with Kids and Teens
According to Education World, there are six key secrets to successful goal setting that you can communicate to your students:
- Write clear and measurable goals.
- Create a specific action plan for each goal.
- Read your goals daily and visualize yourself accomplishing them.
- Reflect on your progress to see if you are on target.
- Revise your action plans if needed.
- Celebrate your accomplishments.