“Did you know that an astounding 97% of the population does not take the time to set goals?” This was a question I asked in my post last week (http://www.familymint.com/the-secret-of-setting-goals). That post raised the larger question of: How do we know the right goals to set? The secret behind these 5 secrets is that they aren’t just for kids. Leaders of Fortune 500 companies go through the same thought process during annual strategic planning as well as their daily priority setting. Start forming these habits now in easy, small ways and you’ll be giving your kids quite a leg up in the world!
Secret #1: Create a Vision
A vision is a picture for what you want to achieve in life. What would make life exceptional and wonderful? For your kids, there will likely be some longer term things like going to college or getting a car, and some shorter term things like games and entertainment or giving back to those in need. Ask your kids to take some time to think about this for themselves and write down what they see. Have them make a collage using pictures from magazines and newspapers to describe their vision. Have fun with this! This can be an eye-opening experience for both of you.
Secret #2: Plan steps to achieve the vision
Take the vision and break it down into separate goals. Some of the vision will require money to achieve it (e.g. go to college) and some may not (e.g. improve my ability to make people laugh). We’ll track those goals that require savings within FamilyMint.
Secret #3: SMART Goals
If you don’t write goals down, you probably won’t achieve them. There are other rules about goals too that we remember with the acronym SMART. Goals in FamilyMint are SMART! That is:
- S = Specific. If your child is saving for a video game, ideally have them write down specifically which video game they want.
- M = Measurable. Once we know which video game we’re saving for, write down the cost to acquire it. Is it $5 or $50?
- A = Achievable. A goal like buying a video game is easily achievable given a little bit of time and focus. A goal of being the richest person in the world? Not achievable (or desirable!) for most of us.
- R = wRitten. We’re strong believers that a goal that remains unwritten in a goal that most likely will not be achieved. There is magic in the simple act of writing down a goal.
- T = Time-framed. Does your child want the video game next week or next year? One may require going out and finding ways to earn money tomorrow, and the other just saving a few cents a week.
Secret #4: Do something every day
Encourage your kids to do something every day, no matter how small, to work toward their goals. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Doing something every day is a great way to build the awareness, discipline, and endurance to actually achieve our larger goals. Every day they work toward their goal is a small victory in achieving that goal.
Secret #5: Measure progress and update as necessary
This is the biggest secret of them all. “What gets measured gets done” is one of my favorite sayings. FamilyMint provides status bars to show progress over time. Have your kids pay attention to what’s working and what’s not. Don’t be afraid of failure, or of success. If they are not making progress, change something, and try again.
As adults in today’s economy, most of us are overwhelmed and tired and we don't spend any time on this exercise ourselves. We are too busy and don't take the time to sit down and create a vision for our own exceptional life. Part of the problem is we didn’t learn these habits in a simple way as children. The great news is it’s never too late—or too early—to start!