webpage Goal Setting and Hope.
Goals fall into three main types: achievement, process, and strength. When planning with your child to meet a goal, first, make sure you are specific enough to know if the goal has been attained.
An achievement goal like, “I will get better grades,” can be measured but does not focus on learning. A goal that focuses on the skills or knowledge achieved is more direct (“I will elaborate in my sentences more when writing compositions””. For goals such as being more elaborative, it is important to keep pre- and
post- work samples. This will allow for a discussion about the quality and types of elaboration being used as your child’s skills progress. If possible, have a conversation with your child’s teacher about good ways to talk to your child about writing.
A process goal like, “I am going to work harder,” cannot be easily assessed. A goal that focusses on a change in work habits can be specific, such as “I will do my homework before playing video games.”
Strength goals focus on character assets we want to develop. A strength goal such as, “I will be nicer to people,” is broad. A goal such as, “I will not assume I know what someone is trying to say before the person has a chance to explain himself,” can be tied to specific situations as they arise.
Another important factor to remember about goals is that they should not be too hard—or, too easy. Our children need to be challenged to achieve goals that are a little demanding. Then, we need to provide the resources and support they need to reach those goals.
After goals are established, consider the obstacles you and your child may face. Obstacles can be real-world, emotional, mental, physical, or some combination. For each one, discuss how to get around, over, or through the obstacle in order to reach the goal.
Then, it is important to plan for the goal. The Motivation Planning Tool webpage provides one way for you to organize your planning. The website Study Guides and Strategies provides a number of tools you can use to help implement your plans.
We hope you find this information useful as you create goals and strategies with your children. And, of course, we encourage you to take time to share your ideas, observations, and insights about goal-setting by contributing to this blog.