Resilience Series Part 4: Goal Setting

Article at a Glance:

  • Setting realistic and attainable goals will help your children become successful throughout their lives.
  • Goal setting helps give children and teens a sense of control over situations, especially during stressful, unpredictable times.
  • Attaining goals helps builds resiliency, a skill that can be strengthened through practice.

In this series, we’ll be looking at ways to help teach children and teens resilience. It can be difficult to process disappointment, trauma, stress, anxiety, or depression and all of the negative feelings that can come with it. Resiliency will help children and teens deal with these negative feelings in a healthy and appropriate manner. Resilience is a skill, and like any skill, it can be strengthened through practice.

Learning how to set realistic and attainable goals will help your children and teens become successful throughout their lives. More importantly, it will teach them they are capable of accomplishing things.

  • Teach your child the basics of SMART goal-setting. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. If their goal doesn’t contain on all these elements, it’s probably too vague to be successful. For example, “get better at math” isn’t a SMART goal. But, “practice multiplication tables ten minutes per day for two weeks” is a goal they can measure and achieve in a short time span.
  • Help your child evaluate current situations and goals to see what’s working well and what isn’t working at all. 
  • Brainstorm with them about how they can make changes to the parts of their life aren’t working. If a goal isn’t working, help them to set a new goal. 
  • Help them evaluate the scope of their goals and to break larger goals into smaller steps to help them become more attainable. 
  • Help them to set short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals and teach them how to determine the appropriate time frame for what they want to accomplish.

Goal setting doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you’re trying to cut out soda, make a goal to avoid soda one day per week. Over time, you can increase the goal to two, then three days. Each time you meet your goal, your confidence will grow. Reaching a full 7 days per week without soda will be  both easier and more sustainable.

Having goals to work on helps keep us all focused on something other than events that cause stress, anxiety, or depression. Setting goals that are related to those events can help give teens a sense of control over those situations. The more they practice goal setting, the stronger their resilience will become.

View the previous articles in our Building Resilience series here:
Part 1: Keep Things in Perspective
Part 2: Letting It Go
Part 3: Maintain a Routine

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