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Why goal setting is important for children

12 March 2018

Turning something you want in life into a recorded goal is a great way to make sure it happens. Sometimes it only takes the decision to act, to get what you want.

Goals give us direction, keep us focused and motivated and increase our chances of achieving what we set out to do.

What’s important about the goals we set is that they mean something to; they shouldn’t just be things you think you 'should' be doing. We get more benefit out of goals we want to achieve, and far less out of goals that aren’t personally meaningful to us. Mentally or emotionally connecting to our goals makes them more likely to be met. 

Adults vs Kids

Most adults are good at setting long-term goals, having the patience to do what’s required to achieve them, and then setting up the next goal.

Kids live more on a day-to-day basis, (and let’s be honest, some adults too!) without much thought about what's around the corner (which is half the fun of being a kid!). Still, knowing how to set goals as a parent, Aunty, Uncle or guardian and encouraging the children in your life to set them can really help them understand how to focus in life and get what they want.

3 goal setting tips to tell your kids

To be able to set a goal, you need to know what it is you want. This is a huge stumbling block for a lot of children, but it’s an important one to work through

  • Step 1: Know what you want,
  • Step 2: Go out and get it!

Here are some 3 simple tips for working out what you want:

1. Start with things you enjoy

We're all happiest when using our strengths, and everyone has their own strengths to be proud of.

Write down the five things you enjoy most in life. Can you identify any goals relating to these?

2. Don’t get too caught up in ‘big’ things

A lot of the time when we think about goals, we think they need to be really big – which can be pretty overwhelming.

Change how you think about goals. A goal should be anything you want to do or achieve – big, small or completely random.

3. Think about what you don’t want

Write a list of 5 or 10 things you don’t want, then turn them around to become goals.

For example, turn ‘I don’t want to be stuck at home’ into ‘I want to travel’.

Goals can be a great part of life, tailor-made to be planned and achieved with lots of satisfaction, and by encouraging your child to use these tips you can help in supporting them.

Reach out logo

ReachOut is Australia's leading online health website for young people and their parents. Working with registered counsellors, psychologists and mental health professionals ReachOut provides online self-help tools that are used by over 1.5 million Australians each year. A valuable resource for many parents, teens and young adults.

If your child, or anyone you know is having issues with self-esteem, confidence or mental or physical health, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

This content includes the views and opinions of a third-party, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Suncorp. Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, personal situation or needs.

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