How to Set Smart Goals—Whether You’re a Kid or a Kid-at-Heart

What’s on your 2018 resolution list? Not to get all meta on you, but making better resolutions is always on ours. Smart goals are achieved goals!

Goal management is one the four pillars of Thrive{ology} (our proven path to youth success) along with Sparks, a Growth Mindset and Reflection (which we’ll go deep on next month).

We teach kids and teens to take their current dreams seriously. What do they want to do? Who do they want to be? How are they going to get there? It can feel overwhelming and near impossible…just like setting goals as a full-grown adult.

Camp Fire Angeles Council

So, at Camp Fire, we teach the GPS Method for goal management:

  1. Goal Setting: We start by helping kids choose the right goals for them.
  2. Pursuit of Strategies: Then we talk about making a unique progress plan.
  3. Shifting Gears: And then we get realistic about how to make changes if their initial strategies don’t work.

The GPS method helps youth—and adults!—break down big goals into smaller steps, learn from setbacks, stay flexible enough to make changes when necessary, and align individual goals for the good of the community.

When kids and teens learn how to make this kind of thoughtful, holistic, consistent progress toward their goals, they take those skills into the rest of their life. In fact, being able to use GPS skills as a kid predicts thriving far into adulthood. Which makes sense, right? Learning how to think logically, harness emotion and make goal-driven decisions are skills that translate to all parts of life.

Enough set-up. Let’s get practical!

Today, we’ll start with Goal Setting. We’ll talk about Pursuit of Strategies and Shifting Gears later in the month.

How can we set the right goals for 2018?

We teach Camp Fire kids and teens to set goals that are:

  • Meaningful: We’re more likely to stick with goals that match our values and play a part in the stories we tell about our lives. Goals should have a because behind them!
  • Realistic: If we set our sights too high, we’re bound to get frustrated or burnt out. Goals should be possible, given our current skill sets and existing time commitments.
  • Stretching: But if we don’t look out far enough, we’re also bound to get bored. And it’s the tough stuff that teaches us the most! Goals should be challenging enough to propel us forward.
  • Draftable: Just like cyclists ride in packs, we can create goals that work well alongside each other. Compatible goals equals achievable goals.

As you’re making your 2018 resolutions list, ask yourself—and the kids in your life—a few good-goal questions:

  • Does this goal engage my emotions? Does it make me excited? Giddy? Even a little scared? Choose a goal that makes you feel.
  • Does this goal help me plan for the future? How does it fit into the life you picture for yourself? Choose a goal that moves you forward.
  • How does this goal fit in with my other goals? Are your goals in sync? Choose a goal that complements the other things you’re working on.

Let us know what goals you’re setting for 2018. How did you set them? Comment below!

January 1, 2018

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