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By Jill Hope

Recently I did a survey of parents of third grade students (8 year olds) at a local school. The overwhelming theme based on the responses I received was that these parents wished their kids had the necessary understanding and motivation to set and achieve their goals.

Everything you create in life starts with a desire. However, having a desire is not enough. In order to help your kids to create that which they desire in life, they need to have a goal. A goal gives movement to the desire. When we create a goal, we make a decision to go for something we want to achieve. It is this decision that gets things moving and allows our kids to take the steps necessary to achieve their goals.

When children learn the proper way to create and receive their goals, they feel empowered to reach for their dreams. It’s like giving them a recipe of getting what they want out of life. And I know as parents, we all want our kids to feel empowered in their lives, and to really reach for what they want.

Last week we talked about persistence, that quality that all successful people possess and utilize to achieve their highest aspirations. This week, I’m taking a step back and outlining the 5 keys you can use with your kids to help them identify and then work toward their goal. Each week, I will share one of these important steps that will help your kids to set and achieve their goals. Here is this week’s key to goal achievement:

1) Help your child identify what their desire looks like in their life and why they want it.

We all have desires in life, but sometimes our desires are quite vague. Often we will have desires for more money, a better relationship, or greater health. But what does that really mean to you? How much more money do you want, and why do you want that money? What will it do for you? What do you mean by a better relationship? Specifically, what qualities are you looking for in a relationship that would satisfy this desire? And finally, what is better health to you? A decrease or resolution of bothersome symptoms, a change in the status of a disease, better eating habits, less weight?

It’s really important to get a clear vision of your desire, because if you don’t, it’s like saying to the universe that you want to be on the west coast, when you really want to end up in Los Angeles. The west coast covers a lot of area! If you want to go to Los Angeles, but you end up in Portland because you only specified the west coast, will you be happy?

In addition to being clear on what your desire means to you, you also want to know why you want it. Often we want a goal out of fear. This is not a healthy place to come from when setting goals, because a goal created out of fear often manifests the fear rather than the goal. So it is really important to make sure that the reason for your desire comes from a positive, healthy place and not a negative, fear-based place.

For example, often people say they want a lot of money so that they don’t have to worry about money anymore. This is not a healthy reason for wanting money because it is coming from a fear of not having enough. A better reason for wanting money is to be able to purchase something specific, to allow you to quit your job so that you can pursue a passion, to be able to help more people, to be able to expand your life experience by traveling more, to be able to go to school to learn a skill that is a passion for you, etc.

Honing in on a clear vision of your desire and knowing why you really want it is the first key to actually achieving it. When your child has a goal, make sure he or she really knows what their goal means to them and why they want to achieve that particular goal in their life.

If you give this first key a try, let me know how it goes. If you do, your kids should be able to get much clearer on their goals and why their goals are important to them. And this is really the first step on their path to goal achievement.