One thing that I’ve learned from my previous work-life is that until you actually write a goal down, commit to it, create a plan to reach it, verbalize it to someone else, ask them to keep you accountable to it, and take the first step toward reaching it, goals are simply just words. Nothing more.
And it doesn’t matter if this goal is set when you are 5, 15, or 55 years old. So, I’m starting my boys out young and when my little redhead hits Kindergarten or First Grade, she’ll do the same thing.
We needed to set school year goals – otherwise, what is there to look forward to??
I need to rethink that question though, because if you ask my 10 year old he’ll tell you that he goes to school to talk to his friends, play football at recess, and see that one special girl that holds his heart (currently). And my #2 man told me that “all boys are supposed to like a girl by third grade” so I have one year left to help him get a good footing in study habits and basic skill sets (reading and math) before I lose him to the sassy blonde at the front of the class.
Personal Goal Setting
When I started my blog, I ran with it. I jumped in, feet first, body first, no stopping, all in, kind of jumping in. Then I realized that I really loved this, loved writing, loved being honest, enjoyed the therapy, and needed to figure out where this was going.
So I stopped. Everything. Until I figured out my direction.
And I wrote down my goals. My mission statement. My dreams for the blog. My purpose for the blog. And it gave me even more strength and determination to get my voice heard, my mission understood, my knowledge out to those that needed it.
It was empowering. Truly mind-blowing, to type out my reasons behind what I was doing. And it gave me purpose; helped define my goal so that I could speak to others about it; set my goals. I was then a woman on a mission, which was the most powerful thing in the world.
I knew where I was, where I wanted to be, and how I was going to get there. It helped me set daily goals, weekly goals, and monthly goals. While I haven’t met each and every one, by having them ‘written’ out, I’ve been able to go back and review, revise, accomplish, and dominate. There have been achievements that I have reached that I didn’t even know were possible while others fell by the wayside. I’ve been able to redefine the ‘what’, ‘how’, and ‘when’ for each goal. It’s truly been incredible…especially in the midst of a divorce that I don’t want, that could have brought me to new lows…I have been riding new ‘highs’ because of my accomplishments with my blog. And this is all in addition to putting in quite a few hours for a job that I’m really enjoying, working social networks (verbal, in-person, and online) to increase business for a fantastic construction company.
Be proud and define your goals.
My accomplishments may not be mind-blowing to some, but to me, I have built my confidence through my own efforts, words and intelligence that I hadn’t even given myself credit for in the past. BUT, I don’t think that I would be as proud of myself or increased my self-confidence if I hadn’t taken the time to define for myself, where I wanted to be, specifically for each facet of the blogging-world. So simply saying, I want to be able to support myself in 12 months with blogging wasn’t enough because that is truly daunting. That gives me no vision, no marketing plan, no accomplishments to be proud of on the way to the true dream in my head.
Writing these goals down is key and setting up a plan is even more important. Asking someone to keep you accountable is another great step and finally constantly reviewing weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or etc., is critical.
Start ’em young.
So Adventure #7 focused on teaching this life skill to my boys.
I was shocked…this more than any other adventure so far, has been discussed almost on a daily basis since each of us wrote our goals down in our notebooks. My youngest is really the one that keeps asking if we can review our goals to see if we are closer to reaching them…and he’s seven years old. I’ve interpreted this to mean that regardless if you are 7 or 77, written goals hold you accountable and give you a mission, sometimes a purpose, for doing what you do every day.
I review my goals on a weekly basis and sometimes I struggle to find the time, but I force myself, and because I’ve spent the extra time doing this, I’ve reached some goals that I didn’t think that I would reach for another two months. It’s given me purpose.
I loosened the ‘review period’ for the boys so that we had more time to reach their goals because I had no clue what kind of goals they would set. For all I knew, they would tell me that they wanted to get a phone call from Sidney Crosby because he saw a video online that showed their hockey skills. (In reality, their goals were much more realistic, like learning how to write everything in cursive before their teacher asked.)
For this Adventure, we did the following:
1. We only spent 15 minutes on this adventure. Depending on the age of the kids, there are very few that will last longer than this.
2. Resist the urge to ‘hint’ to them what they should write down. They’ll surprise you.
3. They may need help with the ‘how’ to reach the goal. Offer suggestions but let them decide how THEY want to reach the goal.
4. Read through, out loud, each goal that they’ve decided they want to reach. And I would highly recommend that they are the person that reads these out loud. This is the accountability piece. They may be a little embarrassed at first but by the end, you’ll hear how proud they are of themselves. And they’ll see how proud you are too!
5. Set the goals aside. Don’t put daily pressure on them. I promise they’ll bring it back up – my seven year old did within three days.
6. Review at the holiday break in December. It’s likely that they’ll be halfway there anyway but they will feel proud of their accomplishments. If nothing else, you’ll help them realize how critical that it is that they set goals every day for the rest of their lives.
7. Use the second half of the school year to really help them reach their goals. Don’t add extra pressure to ‘homework’ life, but offer opportunities to improve a certain skill that they want to improve when you know there won’t be much homework and you can do it ‘undercover’.
8. Review their accomplishments at the end of the year…and celebrate it in some way, shape or form. Show them how rewarding it is to set a goal, work hard, and achieve it.
9. Sit back and take a picture of the proud grins on their faces and then tag me on Twitter so that I can celebrate with you! @stacielizabeth
Remember these tips for going on your own adventures:
#1: Get them excited! Excitement is contagious – if you are excited, they will get excited.
#2: Materials: I printed each of the flyers above so that we could keep them in our scrapbook.
#3: During our adventure, I made sure that the paper that they wrote their goals on was saved in a special location, in order to avoid their sister’s apple juice spills, and added them to our scrapbook.
Our next adventure will repeat this process – I printed out a description of the adventure, and a collage of pictures from the adventure. Then added it to a notebook/folder so that when the year is over we can go through and relive some wonderful memories.