Unlock the Power of Goal Setting with Your Child

Imagine you want to go to a really fun yet important place. You know once you get there, you will have an amazing experience. The problem is…you don’t know where you are going. This poses many challenges. You don’t know how long it will take to get there or how to prepare for it. The panic sets in, and now we are under enormous stress and anxiety.
Picture this: you’re itching for a thrilling adventure, but there’s a catch – you have no clue where to go. Talk about a dilemma! Not knowing the destination means you’re in the dark about everything else too: how long it’ll take, what you should pack, and so on. Suddenly, panic and anxiety hit you like a ton of bricks, leaving you feeling overwhelmed.

Table of Contents

What is goal setting?

Do we really understand the true meaning of “goal setting”? Typically, when we think of setting goals, it’s either in the context of new year’s resolutions or sales targets. And honestly, just the thought of either of those scenarios makes us cringe. But why? What’s the common factor?

It’s the dread that comes with setting goals. We can’t deny that deep down, we know we have an obligation to meet them and produce the desired results. And let’s face it, nobody likes to be evaluated. That’s why we have such a negative association with goals – we feel like we’re being judged when we inevitably don’t meet them.

So what’s the solution? We simply avoid setting goals altogether, as if that will make the problem disappear. We never hear about “family” goal setting, and we don’t feel comfortable teaching our kids how to set goals and use them effectively. But as caregivers, we want nothing more than to see our children achieve anything they set their minds to, driven by their own passion and confidence.

But let’s take a moment here and try to approach goal setting from a different perspective. Traditional goal setting may suck the joy out of the process, but you can change your mindset and view it as setting a destination on a GPS. Goal setting is about visualizing what you want to achieve and creating Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound action steps to get there. It’s about committing to see the desired outcome. With thoughtful planning and clear intentions, parents can provide valuable guidance and empower their kids to make mindful decisions about reaching their goals.

Now, goal setting becomes a series of meaningful decisions that bring us closer to what we truly want to achieve. We often set lofty goals or no goals at all and end up feeling overwhelmed with anxiety. However, by changing our perspective on goal setting, we can easily imagine the kind of life we want for our families.

Why is goal setting important?

Goal setting is important because it helps us to achieve more when have a sense of achievement and build confidence. Have you heard that learning how to make a bed with precision is often part of the routine and training for military cadets? In many military training academies and basic training programs around the world, recruits are taught the importance of attention to detail, cleanliness, and discipline. The process is not just about creating a tidy bed; it is about instilling a sense of order, routine, and pride in one’s work. Making a bed properly is considered a simple yet effective way to instill these values. When we help our kids to learn how to set goals and achieve them, they will earn more opportunity to gain confidence and build intrinsic motivation. 

Goal setting is like plotting a course and having the ability to navigate and adjust along the way. It empowers us to take control and determine our path. Goals are not just destinations; they require skill-building and gradual progress. When we see goals as goals, not destinations, the hardest part is the execution. For example, if I want to run a marathon, I can’t simply do it the next day. I need to train for weeks and months, setting immediate to long-term goals. The execution of goals is often the toughest part, but by setting and working towards them, we can achieve incredible things.

One of the important skills that children learn through practicing goal achievement is persistence. As caregivers, it is our responsibility to help them develop this essential skill by consistently checking in on their progress. Think of this as providing the turn-by-turn directions and recalibration like a GPS system. Our ultimate goal is for our children to become independent learners who take ownership of their own learning and lives. Until then, it’s our job to be a reliable source of support and security whenever they need us, like a pit stop during a race.

Lastly, goal setting helps us understand where we currently stand and what we need for the journey ahead. Have you ever mistakenly selected the wrong mode of transportation and realized it would take much longer to reach your destination? 

Whether it’s a car, bike, train, or even on foot, preparedness is essential. Do we have enough fuel? Is the bike properly maintained? Do we have the necessary funds for the train ticket? What if we want to take a different route? These situations provide valuable learning opportunities for children, teaching them preparedness and self-advocacy skills that will guide them towards their ultimate destination.

So, let’s teach our kids the power of goal setting and watch them thrive.

How to do goal setting

How to help my child to learn to set and achieve goals so they can do anything they set their minds to

Get ready for a fresh start in the new year! Goal setting doesn’t have to be boring – it can actually be a fun and rewarding experience for you and your child! At Excellerate, we’ve got some great strategies to help you, as a parent, guide your kids towards achieving their dreams. We’ll show you how to set attainable goals and develop good habits that promote growth over time.

Even at this young age, it’s never too early to talk to your child about their aspirations and what they want to achieve this year. These goals don’t have to be huge – they can be as simple as trying something new or building on their existing talents.

We’ve got some examples to inspire you and your child. These three everyday activities will make it easier for you to jump into the goal-setting journey.

Grade K-3

In today’s world, it’s important for kids to develop certain skills: consistency and confidence. One way you can help your child is by teaching them to set goals. But as parents, it’s also our role to hold them accountable and help them build strategies for success. By doing this exercise together, you’ll both experience the joy of accomplishing what you set out to do. Plus, it’s a chance for you to praise your child for their achievements along the way.

Let’s define a goalHey, want to level up to Guppy status before summer vacation? You’ve got three levels to go by June, and we still have six whole months. Let’s do this!
Winning strategies

How can we make swimming even more fun for you? Let’s make sure we’re prepared by packing your swimming gear right after dinner. That way, we won’t forget anything and can head straight to the pool after school.

I know you don’t like feeling cold before swimming. How about wearing a cozy hat, gloves, and boots to keep you warm beforehand?

And guess what? After each level you complete, we can go treat ourselves to some delicious ice cream at your favorite spot to celebrate!

Reflection/RedirectionDon’t you love that feeling of accomplishment when you complete a level? You totally deserve some ice cream for all the hard work you’ve put into finishing this level! I understand that going swimming twice a week can be challenging, but let’s stick to the schedule so you can breeze through the next two levels in no time!

Grade 3-5

Starting early makes it easier to follow these suggestions, but it’s never too late to begin! Let me show you an example of how you can help your child set specific goals and take action to achieve them.

Let’s define a goalI get it, reading books regularly can be tough, especially when we’re always tempted to use our devices during our free time. But what if we could find a way to squeeze in 30 minutes of reading every day and still have time for our favorite media?
Winning strategies

Hey, remember when we were chatting about fishing? I was thinking, why don’t we grab a book on the subject? It could be a fun way to learn together!

Speaking of books, I’ve got this awesome recommendation from a friend. Want to read it with me before bed this week?

We’ve got a bit of a drive ahead of us for your basketball game tonight, about 30 minutes. How about making the most of it by listening to some audiobooks? Time will fly by!


Having trouble reading for 30 minutes straight? How about splitting it into three 10-minute sessions? When would be a good time for you to do this regularly?

I’ve noticed you have a preference for a certain genre of book. How can we discover more books like that? Should we hop online for a search or reach out to the librarian for recommendations?

If your child already has some experience with goal setting, let’s dig deeper and have meaningful discussions. The key is to help them make connections between their goals and the actions they need to take. Sometimes, this means they may have to face failure or deal with the consequences of not taking action. But it’s more important for them to learn how to bounce back from defeat and keep going, rather than just experiencing constant success.

Grade 5-8

We want students to take ownership of their goals, even if they are just starting out. It’s okay to start small and gradually work towards bigger goals. By setting age-appropriate goals, your child can learn to be more independent and confident. This exercise can also help them identify their strengths and make better decisions in their daily lives.

Let’s define a goalHow can you organize your time, so you can continue with the jazz band, basketball team practice and games, and memorizing all the lines for the upcoming musical while you spend some time taking care of pets, turn in all your homework on time, and study for the test, so you can meet the academic expectation?
Winning strategies

Let’s list all the weekly schedule to see how you can fit the time for practices and homework. 

We can see that you can focus better and finish your homework right after your trombone practice. Perhaps, you can schedule to do the homework after practice? 

I love how you organized the digital flash cards, so you can practice your Spanish vocabulary in the car to the games!

Do you like studying with your friends together? Why don’t you invite your friends to study together and play some hoops afterward?

Reflection/RedirectionWhen you have a hard time managing all these activities, you will have to think about the priorities and how you can budget your time to cut some things that don’t work for you?

At this age, we’ll be working with pre-teens or teenagers. Their emotional and mental needs are changing every day, but having clear goals and tackling challenging issues can make them feel more confident and grounded. By regularly doing this exercise, you and your child can discover their learning strengths and develop critical thinking skills for everyday decision-making.

Of course, we need to take a balanced approach, since you know your kids best. Some kids may need more guidance before they can take independent steps, while others may want to take on more responsibility even if we think they’re not ready. As parents and caregivers, we may never feel like they’re fully prepared, but our students are capable of more than we give them credit for. With guidance and a new perspective, they can define their own success and achieve it. Instead of just setting goals, let’s call it a goal achieving plan.

Lastly, let’s not forget to celebrate every small success, as it will lead us to the next achievement.

Excellerate’s Goal Setting Practices

At Excellerate Learning Studio, we believe that setting goals is a crucial part of learning. It sets the foundation for all other areas of growth. That’s why we provide our students with a valuable tool called the “Daily Success Plan” in their group core or 1:1 coaching sessions. This form helps students and our coaches communicate their goals and strategize how to achieve them. It also gives students a chance to reflect on the impact of their actions. We’re committed to creating an environment that encourages a strong habit of setting and achieving both short-term and long-term goals.

In our sessions, we guide our students in practicing several key elements of goal setting and achievement. First, we emphasize the importance of setting clear goals and creating a plan to reach them. This provides direction and clarity, ensuring that students know what they want to achieve and how to get there.

Persistence is also a crucial factor in achieving goals. We teach students the value of staying focused and determined, even when faced with challenges or setbacks. For example, if a student struggles to focus for more than 10 minutes, we help them recognize this and set a goal to gradually increase their attention span. By taking frequent breaks and finding coping strategies that work best for them, they can develop metacognition and improve their ability to concentrate.

We also emphasize the importance of understanding the big picture. By seeing how their efforts align with their long-term vision, students stay motivated and balanced between the daily grind and their ultimate destination.

Intrinsic motivation is another crucial aspect of goal achievement. When students feel motivated from within themselves, they are driven to push forward and put in the necessary effort.

Finally, we emphasize the importance of reflection and learning from experiences. By taking the time to reflect on their progress and make adjustments as needed, students can continue to learn and grow.

Without these key elements in place, students may appear to be working hard but make little progress. By focusing on goal setting, persistence, understanding the big picture, intrinsic motivation, and reflection, we help our students achieve success in the most effective and meaningful way.

Setting goals is a skill that can benefit both children and adults. It teaches us discipline, perseverance, and the value of hard work. By setting achievable and meaningful goals, we can improve our lives and reach our full potential. As parents, it’s important for us to guide our children in this process, preparing them for future success in all aspects of life. Let’s work together to help your child learn this valuable skill.

At Excellerate, our team is dedicated to helping young minds develop goal-setting skills through personalized coaching and resources. Reach out to us and embark on this journey towards a brighter future for your child and yourself. It’s never too early or too late to start setting goals and achieving great things! Let us help your child and you strengthen this important skill today. 

Fill out this form if you want your child to develop this critical 21st-century learning skill as they gain academic strength.

Tools to Use for Goal Setting (aka Goal Achieving)

Excellerate’s Daily Success Plan is a great tool to help us achieve our goals, but sometimes we need a little extra boost. That’s where books, podcasts, and TED Talks come in! If you’re looking for some inspiration, I highly recommend checking out “Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier” by Robert Emmons. It’s a fascinating read that will make you more mindful of the good things in your life. For those who want to understand the importance of finding purpose in their work, Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” is a must-listen. And if you’re looking for practical advice on achieving your goals, James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” is a game-changer. With these resources at your fingertips, you’ll be well on your way to success!