Do you set goals for yourself each new year? Do you encourage your kids to do the same? Here are some simple steps to encourage your tween to set—and reach—attainable goals this year.
1. First, explain why goals are valuable. They’re God’s idea! Proverbs 21:5 says, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity.” By identifying what we wish to accomplish, we’re able to map a plan from here to there, and work toward achieving it.
2. Place God at the center. Encourage your daughter to begin by praying and asking God what He would have her accomplish this year. What talents or desires has he placed in her heart? How can she use them to bring Him glory? Is there anything about this goal that might be displeasing to God? This can be valuable practice in learning to discern God’s will for her life.
3. Write the goals down. Consider creating a poster or progress chart to remind your daughter of her goal. This step can make the difference between attaining it or not—simply by making the goal “official” and keeping it front of mind.
4. Create an action plan. What needs to be accomplished between now and the end point of reaching the goal? For example, if your tween’s goal is to serve overhand by next volleyball season, determine how and when she is going to practice her overhand serve starting today. Maybe this involves some private coaching, summer sports camps, or daily practice in the back yard. Whatever the goal, make it achievable in small increments.
5. Affirm her progress. Be your tween’s cheerleader by recognizing and praising her efforts toward reaching her goals. Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate and modify those goals if the original plan becomes unattainable. That’s not failure; it’s wisdom. Remind your daughter that we are all a work in progress, and having the foresight and fortitude to set and work toward a goal is already an accomplishment in itself.
6. Remind her often who she’s working for. God is honored when we use our skills for His glory. Memorize this passage together and encourage your daughter with it every step of the way: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23–24)