Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Power of Goals

For as long as I can remember, I've been a goal-setter. I'm not sure if it started back in Primary when we used to have these little books we would set goals in we would try to meet, or if my parents taught me about goal-setting, or if it didn't really become a huge part of my life until jr. high and high school when sports became really important to me. Whatever the case, I have a long history of setting goals and working really hard to meet them.

I was blessed to have been tutored over and over about how to set goals; between my parents and my coaches and other inspirational people I met along my path, I learned how to effectively set goals that were difficult but attainable, that were specific, written out and measurable and that would stretch me and help me become closer to the person I hoped to be. I didn't always reach my goals, but I sure accomplished a lot more because of them. Therefore, I became a huge believer in them.

Now that I am a mother I have the desire to pass on this valuable tool to my own children, to help them learn the amazing potential effective goal-setting can have in their lives, and to help them be motivated to set their own goals and work hard to achieve them. This, I have found, is not that easy.

I've started by setting an example throughout the years, showing my children some of my own goals and explaining how important it is to me to constantly be striving towards something so I can keep improving myself in different facets of my life. I think that might have seemed somewhat interesting to them, but I realized not long ago that they were getting old enough that something more needed to be done.

So, last year, I decided to expand things just a little. I bought white 2" binders for each child (except Berkley, since she was only a year old) and printed out a cover for each of my children to decorate.

Then, I got really excited about motivating my children and I printed out quotes on goal-setting and stuck them in everyone's binders, just sure they were going to read these fabulous quotes over and over and over again:). Here are just a few examples.

This is my absolute favorite one of all. I put it in the front of each binder so my children would see it every time they opened their books, which I envisioned would be, like, every other day or so (NOT!:).

Not sure why this is sideways. I totally took the picture normal, but I can't seem to fix it. Sorry.
Then I put tabs in each binder: current goals, 5-year goals, 10-year goals, and 20-year goals. Oh yes, baby, I was very serious about this goal-setting business. Now, I did have a talk with myself before I presented these binders to my children. I told myself that my children might not share my enthusiasm about all of this, and also that it might take them time to grasp the entire concept of goal-setting, especially my younger children. I've had talks like this before with myself. They usually aren't super effective. The practical, realistic side of my brain understands the concept, but the irrational, emotional, excited part of my brain usually takes over anyway. I'm afraid that might have happened once again in this situation. Anyway, here are the tabs. Aren't they quite beautiful?

Not sure why they are upside down. What is the deal here? Anyway, you get the picture.
The next step was having a big family goal session. The idea was to sit my children down, explain to them the ins and outs of proper goal setting, get them excited to set their own goals, get them dreaming and motivated, present them with their amazing goal binders, and . . . Bam! The children grab the binders with the gusto of a child at Christmas and pencils start shaking.

That's not exactly how it all went down. It was more like children rolling their eyes, taking a lot of deep breaths and asking when the meeting was going to end. Finally, I gave them each their binders and coached them through the steps of setting some goals for the year. "Now you may want to take a few minutes to really think this through," I said. "You want to set some goals that are very important to you, not just write any old thing down. And keep it simple for now." I encouraged them all to set goals in different areas, such as spiritual, emotional, academic, family or sports--whatever they felt was most important to their personal development right now in their lives.

I challenged Boston and Regyn to think of three things to work on. Regyn completely ignored that little piece of advice. She said her favorite number was eight and she was going to have eight goals, and that was that. This is what she came up with:

She basically did not follow any of the proper steps of goal-setting since none of her goals are measurable or specific and they are written out in paragraph form, but that is simply Regyn for you. I had to laugh right out loud at goals # 3 and 7. Number three says, "Convince my mom to sleep on the couch." And number seven: "Try not to be a couch potato." This girl is the funniest ever!!! What do you do when your goals contradict each other? That's one I didn't cover! Ha!

Her 10-year goal also surprised me, as she tells me adamantly all the time that she is not going to play volleyball like Hallee!

I loved Boston's goals though. His little 6-year-old mind seemed to grasp the concept quite well. The best part is, when we got these binders out this year to review our last-year's goals, he realized he had come a long way. He hadn't scored two goals in soccer, but he had stopped talking like a baby and had started being very kind to Berkley. Now that's progress!

And I'm very excited about the goals he set this year. The best part is--he is already making his bed all by himself, which he has been sure he couldn't do all these years. The power of goals!! I'm telling you, it's amazing what can happen when a boy decides he can do something. (My favorite goal happens to be goal number one, however.)

Now, here we are a year later. Unfortunately, we didn't get the binders out monthly last year like I hoped we would and my children haven't memorized the amazing quotes I have stuck all over in them. But, those goals were written down, and I have to believe they were written in their hearts somewhat as well, because these darn kids did make progress in all of their goals last year. I'm sure it helped that they typed them up and printed their goals out and stuck them to their bedroom doors where they could see them often. There's nothing like a constant reminder of something staring at you daily to keep you a little focused.

We sat down for a new goal session last month. It was fun to see the kids talk about what they had improved on and what they hadn't. It was even better to see them realize that they did want to set goals and that they did believe these goals could help them. So, they got to it. They opened up to a new page and wrote down some new aspirations for 2014. They truly bring tears to my eyes.

Here are Regyn's goals this year. She decided to slim down her goals and focus on just a few. I absolutely love goal #1!:) It says, "Stop telling my mom she's mean." Ha! Maybe if I stopped being mean, she could stop telling me that. At least, that's what she told me.:)

Here are Nate's goals this year. I probably shouldn't share something so personal, but I have to tell you, I didn't know he had set these goals until I sat down to write this post and I decided to glance at their books. I only know, the first Sunday of this month, which happens to be Fast Sunday in our church (meaning members of the ward can go up during Sacrament meeting and share their personal feelings and testimonies), Nate hopped right up after the sacrament and was the first to share his testimony. I couldn't believe it! This is not a normal practice for him. It was wonderful hearing his simple, yet personal feelings about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I couldn't help but look at him and wonder what was up. Now I know--he had set a goal to share his testimony every Fast Sunday this year. We will see if it keeps up, but he's off to a great start! Again--the power of goals!

This is really a neck exercise, first to the right, then to the left. Ha! So sorry about the pictures this time. I have no idea why they keep posting all different directions.

Hallee's goals always make me stop in my tracks. Now that she is getting old enough to really have dreams and aspirations, she is beginning to understand how goals can help her get there. And that is an amazing thing to see. I'm sure she will have failures along the way, and I'm sure she won't reach every goal, but I have seen how setting high standards and working hard to attain them have made her so much better. She is becoming a great volleyball player. Nearly two years ago, she started on the ninth grade team as a seventh grader (not very easy to do, and not very common). That was her goal and she worked hard to make it happen. Now she has a goal to make the Davis High School volleyball team as a ninth grader this Fall. It won't be easy, and she knows it. But she also knows that with a lot of hard work and dedication, it is possible. And the best news is, even if she doesn't make it, she will be a lot better for all the effort in trying. That's the miracle and the power of goals.

Right now she plays on a 16 Power Club team, although she is only 14 years old. She knew playing with this older team was an important step in reaching the goal of making the high school team. She is learning so much and improving every week. And that's what it's all about. I am so proud of her for that. It's not the easy way. In fact, her school counselor told her to stay in the jr. high and enjoy being a super star because that would be a lot easier than taking summer classes and trying to make her schedule work so she could play high school volleyball next year. Hallee and I just looked at each other, and then kindly told her advisor, "Thanks anyway, but that just won't work with her long-term goals." I thought to myself how great it is to have long-term goals so you know what to do in the short-term.

Here is Hallee working on her setting before practice.

Love her intensity during matches. She's the one with the lime green headband, btw.

Here is a blurry picture of her team after one of the tournaments. They won the Silver bracket. They are pretty awesome.
 In the end of life, when everything is said and done, there is really so little that matters. Volleyball championships and such won't be what makes up the most important part of the journey. But, I do believe that what we learn from setting goals and trying to use our gifts and abilities to become something more is of immense value and something that will stay with us always. I don't think I could possibly measure the tremendous effect goal-setting has had in my personal life, but I do know my life would be very different without the consistent guidance and direction goals has given me. And so, I believe in the power of goals.

I know my biggest goal of all was to become a mother, and not just a mother, but a very good mother. And so I set a lot of little goals along the way when I was younger to help me prepare. I knew I had to marry a good man to help me parent the children we would have together so I tried hard to become the kind of young woman that man would want to marry. And when I got off course a little, my goal would remind me to make the necessary corrections to get back on. Man alive, was that ever worth it! Keeping focused on that goal kept me from making some big mistakes along the way, and I can't be thankful enough for that.

So, I just have to say, I definitely agree with Zig Ziglar:

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals."

I truly hope to pass that on to my children . . . and to get our binders out a little more often this year.


tiffany said...

Hi Lori,
I have a quick question I wanted to ask you about your blog. Do you think you could send me an email when you get this? Thanks