Apr 022014
Studying Star Wars

Studying Star Wars (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


If you’re anything like most parents I know your kids are brilliant. That’s great… but that’s not the kind of smart I’m talking about. Have you started to teach them to set goals?

That’s where it pays to be SMART and include all the elements of a well-set goal.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. Let’s look at how those might work at home.

Specific: It would be nice if “I’ll be more responsible” was enough to get the job done, but effective goals need to be worded a bit differently. “I will walk the dog every day without being asked for five days in a row” or “Take out the trash every day after dinner” are clear and specific.

Measurable: You may want to substitute the term “observable.” How will you know the goal has been reached? What difference will you see when the goal has been reached?

Achievable: Let’s look at grades for this example. “Get an ‘A’ in Social Studies may not be achievable, simply because someone else actually gives the grades. Change the focus to factors completely under the student’s control. “All of my papers will be submitted on time, neatly typed, free from spelling errors and meeting or exceeding requirements for length and content.”

Realistic: What resources are available to meet the goal? Lots of people dream of a career in pro sports, but few of us have the required talent.

Timely: Whether it’s a deadline (“by next Thursday…”) or a time period (“once a month for a year”) adding “time” helps make wishes come true!

Setting and achieving goals contributes to a sense of mastery, competence and personal satisfaction. Who wouldn’t want SMART kids???

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Aug 282012

“Back to school”  can be a good time to practice goal-setting skills with your kids.  Grades, attendance, organization, time management… all areas with room for the two of your to develop a plan to reach a goal.

If you didn’t learn goal-setting until later in life then you know:  neglecting to give a child the skills to set and active goals is like building luxury cruise ship with swimming pools, beautiful cabins, powerful engines… without navigation equipment.

The ship could probably leave the harbor…. but where would it go?

English: Asia star Swimming Pool

(English: Asia star Swimming Pool Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Jul 182012
Marvel Comics #1 (Oct. 1939), the first comic ...

Image via Wikipedia

No matter how often we set them for ourselves, not all parents remember that goal-setting is a skill that we  may need to share with our kids.

If you stop and think about it, goal-setting is one of the “success super powers” for sure! Yet, as important as this skill is, nobody is born knowing how to set goals.

That’s where it pays to be S.M.A.R.T.

The letters stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely…. AND a great way to remember all of the steps to creating useful goals.

And you don’t have to rely exclusively on your own experience with setting and achieving goals.  Social science research tells us that there is a correlation between reaching goals & personal fulfillment.

Having the skills to choose what we want to accomplish and ability to get the job done helps people feel good about themselves.   And that’s a great gift to give someone you love.



How do parents define success and what DO kids need to succeed?  Get your electronic copy of What Kids Need to Succeed: Four Foundations of Adult Achievement  for only $1.00 by clicking this link and entering the coupon code NA64P.   Take your place in this important conversation.