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Can you remember the last time you set a goal for yourself? Do you recall the process you followed to accomplish your goal? Many of us don’t spend much time thinking about how we set goals. Rather, we simply identify something we would like to do or accomplish within a specific time frame and then set out to do it. But believe it or not, goal-setting is a skill that requires practice and luckily, these skills are relatively easy to learn and share with your child, giving them the power to set and achieve goals on their own.

Why is Goal-Setting Important for Kids?

Setting goals can benefit anyone with a vision for their future. With their entire lives ahead of them, kids are at an opportune stage to start building their goal-setting skills. School is a great place to introduce children to goal-setting. Goal-setting at an early age teaches kids to develop self-belief and confidence, ultimately leading to an improved self-image, an increased awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses.

3 Tips for Goal-Setting Success

Here are 3 tips to refer to when encouraging your child to set school goals for the new year:

1. Be SMART About School Goals

SMART goals are a common goal-setting technique in teaching. SMART is an acronym to help you remember your goals need to be:

Specific: Goals need to be clear and not generic.

Measurable: Outline how you plan to know when you’ve achieved your goal.

Achievable: Is it possible to reach your goal with your plan and or timeline?

Realistic: Is your goal realistic and relevant to you?

Timebound: What is your timeline for achieving your goal?

Developing SMART goals is key to successful goal-setting for students. It is also important to note that you may need to routinely check in on your goals to ensure they remain relevant and achievable.

2. More Than a Mental Note—Write Down Your Goals

Goal-setting works best when it’s tangible. Writing your goals down on a piece of paper will help keep you accountable. How often has your child (or perhaps you’ve done this yourself) said I don’t need to write it down? I’ll remember. Then the day comes and goes, and they have completely forgotten about the thing they said they would remember. Just grab a pen and paper and write it down now you’ll thank yourself later.

3. Have Fun With Your Goal-Setting

It’s always a good idea to celebrate achieving your goals. However, sometimes your journey to accomplish your goal can take some time. We suggest breaking down the end goal into more manageable milestones and celebrating those milestones. Rewards or celebrations at each milestone will help keep your child motivated and on track to accomplish their ultimate goal. Recognizing and rewarding your child when they accomplish something is a great way to build their self-belief and confidence.

The Scholars Approach to Successful Goal-Setting

A well-planned goal will get you far, but there may be another element to success. According to a study conducted at the Dominican University of California, people who shared their progress with at least one other person were more successful in achieving their goal.

The study had participants in five groups, and each group took their goal progressively more seriously:

  • Group one assessed their goals.
  • Group two assessed and rated their goals.
  • Group three assessed, rated, and made an action plan for their goals.
  • Group four assessed, rated, made an action plan, and told a friend.
  • Group five assessed, rated, made an action plan, told a friend, and made a weekly progress report to that friend.

The results were clear, 43% of group one participants reached their goals or were at least halfway there, while 76% of group five participants had reached their goals or were at least halfway there.

In the study, accountability made a big difference. The same is true at Scholars, it’s not just about setting goals and making a plan, it’s also important to monitor and share students’ progress. We start every student with an initial assessment and develop a strategy to help them reach the goals identified during the assessment. After every session, we monitor goal progress and share successes with families. This approach leads to results that matter both inside and outside the classroom.

Contact a Scholars location to ask about your complimentary assessment and start seeing your child achieve their goals.


Dr. Danielle, PhD


November 30, 2021