I don’t know about you, but I normally take my vacation time with great ideas of all I’m going to accomplish, and then the day before I have to go back to work I look around and realize I didn’t get anything done! I feel like many people feel this way when the New Year comes and you look back and think where did the time go and what did I accomplish? This year let’s make it so when we look back on January 1, 2022 we can see just what we accomplished, not with resolutions, but with goals!
Goals can be separated into two categories, short term and long term. Short term goals are the things you want to accomplish in the near future and many times these short term goals help us on our way to accomplishing our long term goals. Long term goals are things we want to accomplish in the distant future by accomplishing our short term goals as stepping stones along the way. For example you may have a long term goal of purchasing a new home. Your short term goals may be things like saving money, making more money, and raising my credit score. These short term goals help you build up to your long term goal. Goals help keep us going in the right direction, towards our hopes and dreams.
One of the greatest lessons we can teach our children is goal setting. Children of all ages can and should set goals. When we get in the habit of goal setting at a young age it sets us up for a brighter future. Teens who have goals are less likely to partake in high risk activities such as substance abuse and sexual activity. Having goals helps you stay on a path and avoid situations and behaviors that may take away your opportunities to achieve your goals, or at the very least make it much harder to achieve them. Teach your kids about the power of decisions and consequences. We make thousands of decisions every day, most of them don’t really impact us but others have huge consequences. Consequences are not always bad, they can be great. Saving money while making more leads to paying off the bills you have which raises your credit score and all of these consequences lead you to your new home! But don’t forget to talk about the decisions which have consequences that can take us off of the path to our goals too. When kids have goals it can make the tough conversations easier to have. Explain how drinking or drugs can keep them from getting into the college they want or how a social media post can keep them from getting a job years from now.
Here are a few tips to help you and your kids start your goal setting path.
- Think big while starting small. Break that big goal up into manageable smaller steps. It helps us to stay on track and keeps motivation up when we are able to check off our smaller accomplishments leading us to our big goal.
- Be realistic. While it is wonderful to have dreams of what you would do after winning the lottery, your chances of this happening are virtually impossible. Dream big but keep it achievable.
- Work hard. Understand that the things worth having are worth working for. It’s not going to be easy but the payoff will be worth it.
- Your goals may change and that’s ok. As we grow we find new goals and the old ones may change or no longer be what we want. Change is a good thing as long as you keep working towards a bright future.
- Never give up. There will be hiccups along the way. Understand that things will go wrong from time to time but don’t let anything stop you from achieving your goals.
- Be your child’s champion! Show your child that goals can be accomplished by sharing you goals with them. Remember the world today is filled with people who will tell them they can’t, it’s your job to tell them they can! Don’t forget to celebrate the achievements, this will keep them on the path towards their long term goals!
Reproductive Health Educator
Cattaraugus County Health Department