The Power of Setting a Goal


—>Watch the video of this story and sign up for the new email list and get a Guide to Setting Goals with your Children.

“E, did you know that when I was a kid, they used to put toys in cereal boxes?”
He replied, “When were you young, ‘back then’? I that when people used to ride camels?” I took exception with his remark- people still ride camels in some parts of the world! So his remark couldn’t have meant he thinks I’m old, could it?

“Son, what do you hope to do today at school? What do you hope to do?”
“Uh, listen and learn?” A generic answer I’m sure he has been encouraged to do many times in class. “Ok, listen and learn. So when I pick you up from school today and ask you did you listen and learn, will you answer me?” “Yes,” he said. I said, “When I ask you did you listen and learn today, how are you going to know if you listened and learned, or not?” “What do you mean? I’ll just listen and learn.”

“Do you think when I ask you this afternoon if you listened and learned, and you say yes, you could tell me one thing you learned today?” “Yes.” “Good,” I said.

“We also want to look at the behavior number you end up with today. What number do you think you will get today?” “We’ll, I usually make 4’s. I think I’ll get a 4 today.” “Good, that’s good. But what do you think it will take to make a 5?” “I don’t know.” I said, “Do you think if you did something nice for someone today, you would make a 5?” “I don’t know, maybe,” he said. “What if you raise your hand to answer a question in class? Do you ever do that?” “Yes, sometimes,” he said. “And does your teacher call on you in class?” “Yes,” he said. “Do you usually get the answer right?” “Yes, I think I usually get it right,” he said. “Good. Why don’t you try raising your hand in class to answer a question and see if that helps you get to a 5. And do something nice for somebody if you get a chance, because that is a good thing to do even if nobody sees you do it, right?” “Right,” he said. I said,

“Ok, let’s review. When I pick you up from school today (timeframe) and ask (accountability) did you listen and learn, you’re going to be able to tell me yes (measurability) and tell me one thing you learned. Also, we’re going to look and see what number you got for your behavior today, and I’m going to ask if you raised you hand to answer a question or if you did something nice for someone. Sound right to you (agreement)?” “Yes!” “Sounds like a plan, Stan,” I said.

—>Watch the video of this story and sign up for the new email list and get a Guide to Setting Goals with your Children.

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I asked, “Do you know what we just did?” “No.” “It’s called setting goals. When we set goals for ourselves we decide what we want to do or need to do, and then we are able to look back and see if we did them or not. I do that at work; I decide what I need to do and write it down so I can look back at the end of the day and see if I did everything I needed to do. And if I didn’t, I figure out why so I can be sure to meet all my goals the next day. You don’t get in trouble for not meeting you goals, but you do have to look back and see what went wrong so you can do better the next day. Get it?” “Yes,” he said. “Good deal. Well, I’ll ask you all those questions when I pick you up so we’ll know if you met your goals. Time to get out; I love you, have a good day!” “Love you, too,” he said.

“How was your day?” I said when he got in the car. “Good! I think you’re going to like it when you ask me the questions- ask me the questions!” He didn’t let me get it out before he said, “I got a 5! My teacher gave it to me because I did something she liked. I don’t remember what it was…” And sure enough, he had a 5. The second one of the year so far. There was pandemonium when we got home and his mother saw it written in his agenda book. I proudly said, “He set some goals today. And he met them.” I think we just added something to our morning routine.

What is your story about the power of setting a goal? Have your children ever risen to the occasion when you put them to the test? Let me know below!

Copyright (c) 2013 Glen Gaugh

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