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New Season, New Start: Goal Setting for Autumn

New Season, New Start: Goal Setting for Autumn

Happy Autumn! It is now officially autumn and I can see some of the leaves starting to change color here in the northeast. I love fall but I sometimes feel that it is the shortest season of all. Before you know it the cold temperatures will be here with the excitement (notice I didn’t say stress) of the holiday season. A new season for me means a new start but also serves as a reminder that the year is coming to an end. In fact there are only 98 days left to the year. Isn’t that scary? The reason I know that is thanks to Gary Ryan Blair who runs a “100 day challenge” program. I love the concept that it is not time to give up but rather time to push harder to get those goals off the list so come January 1st you are proud of what you have accomplished and motivated to keep going. So, I’m taking a different approach this season. I am not going to go crazy (please hold me to that) by taking on EVERYTHING I want to get done between now and winter. Instead I am going to focus on three goals for October, three for November and maybe one for December. The reason I say three is because you can’t just look at one piece of your life without realizing how everything else is related. For instance, if you have low energy, then you can’t possibly be as effective at work or at home. Coaches may use different names for each category but the basic “parts” of your life can be...
Goal Setting for Teens IV

Goal Setting for Teens IV

Now that you have separated your goals into actionable steps and put them in your calendar, it is time to add in some reinforcement to help you succeed (please see previous posts). We all know how hard it is to start a new habit and maintain it. Sheer willpower does not work! You have probably heard the saying that it takes 21 days to change a habit. Writing down your action steps are the first step but that does not guarantee that when the time comes you will do it.  I think that by leveraging your environment you can increase your consistency and create a new habit in less time. By leveraging your environment you can reinforce the habit you want to establish. The physical aspect of leveraging the environment would be putting things in place that would serve as reminders for the action you want to take. Reminder cards on your bedroom door, signs in the bathroom, or moving furniture around to better support your new habit are all examples of ways to use the environment to help you. You can color code your calendar or create a vision board that shows you and your life with your new habits established. You can also link a new habit to something you automatically do now. For instance if your morning routine of getting ready for school is the same each day then you could link your new habit to some part of that routine that is already automatic. For example if brushing your teeth is automatic, you could review flashcards for those two minutes. By hooking something new to...

Goal Setting for Teens II

In my previous post I mentioned that SMART goal setting for teens can provide a direction, focus and a measurable path for achieving the success they want. Whether it is to make the team, ace a test or make the honor roll a teen can benefit from clarifying what it is they really want rather than just making a general (and often empty) statement. We have already mentioned that a goal must be specific (S). The easiest way to do that is to answer the “wh” questions of who, what, where, when and why. The answer to the “why” question should resonate with your teen and not with someone else’s wishes for them. A SMART goal is also measurable (M). In the case of improving grades it would be easy to track the progress on a simple chart. If a teen was trying to make the varsity team, they might want to track their practice time, workout time or the amount of weights they are lifting. This works for tracking a new habit as well. Darren Hardy, Publisher of Success magazine uses a rhythm register to track his new habits throughout the week. Having your teen track their progress makes the intangible, tangible. Now they can see the effort they are putting in and judge whether or not it is enough. The next two letters (A & R) go together. A goal must be attainable (A) and realistic (R). Aiming for the honor roll is wonderful but it may not be realistic if grades are low or tests are few. It is wonderful to aim high but when forming...

Goal Setting for Teens

Many adults begin the new year with high hopes and new resolutions. When I asked several middle and high school age students what their New Year resolutions or goals were they said, “better grades.” When asked to elaborate though they were at a loss as to how they planned to reach that goal. Students are doing what they feel is the most they can do and then just hoping that it is enough to raise their grades. Sometimes they are surprised when it is not. How can we help them set and attain a successful goal? The first step is to make sure their goal is a SMART goal. By that I mean it needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time specific. (My apologies to the creator of that acronym). Let’s talk about the first two today. So, how do you make “better grades” more specific and measurable? First, define which grades they would like to improve and by how much. If your student is bringing home C’s and B’s, then honor roll is not out of reach but some subjects will need more work than others. For instance,” bring my science grade up from a C to a B” is more specific than “improving my grade”. From this point they can find out what their numeric average is and actually calculate how many points they need to raise it up a grade.   Next, make the goal measurable by using the average they are aiming for. For next term, I will raise my science grade by 12 points to an 83% in order to get a B...