Goal Focused

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” -Henry David Thoreau

With the new school year in full swing, many districts, schools, teachers, and students have begun creating goals. Personally, I have created business goals and my son has created a reading goal. I encourage you to create a goal, and if you have children for them to create one as well. Though, a goal without a plan is only a dream.

Having a goal in mind is easy, putting it into action determines goal attainment. I am going to share with you the experience of my son’s goal setting process to serve as an example. He wants to become a better reader, so this past summer vacation we began working on a phonics-based reading program. By the end of summer, he was about halfway completed with the program. With a busy school and activities schedule, we are no longer able to devote the 30-45 minutes per practice setting. However, he is aware his reading is improving since we began working on the program and does not want to quit. Thus, we took a realistic look at what was still left to accomplish.

There are 14 books left to read with each book containing about six stories. I suggested reading a book a week, then he would be done by Christmas. My son agreed to the one book a week, but he wants to finish by Thanksgiving (this created a strict schedule). The action step needed to be broken into smaller chunks to attain the weekly goal. He said he could read two stories at a time, which put a realistic expectation of reading the books three times a week. To measure progress, we created a chart with all the book titles in the program. So far so good, he read one book in the first week of implementation.

When creating goals there are a few keys ideas to follow. The goal must be specific, making it clear. For my son, it is to complete the reading program. There needs to be a measurable outcome. In our example, completion will occur by Thanksgiving. Also, it must be attainable. Realistically, he is able to read one book a week when broken into three reading sessions. The goal should be relevant in that is has a purpose, reason, or benefit for completion. Since he has seen improvement in his ability to read, my son knows he will be an independent reader once the program is finished. Lastly, a goal should be timely, and not prolonged, in order to achieve it. His timeframe is sooner than later, as Christmas was too far away.

Once the goal has been completed, be sure to celebrate. After the celebration, take time to reflect upon the journey—struggles and triumphs—for how it made you a better person.

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