We spend a fair amount of time in our own lives (and certainly in our conversations with kids) discussing goals. There is no doubt that goal setting is an important and powerful tool in bringing focus to our life and preparing ourselves for things to come.
Have you noticed, though, that students often share with us decent goals but we are left feeling uneasy nonetheless? I would suggest it is because, while students have good goals, they have weak “plans.” Suppose you have a student that tells you she wants to go to college at the local University. That is an admirable goal. We often let kids off the hook at this point by failing to ask the follow up questions that would reveal the quality of their game plan. Ie, have you taken all of the coursework to be eligible for admission? Are you standardized scores high enough to get in? Does that school specialize in the area you wish to study?
I was once told that my actions in the next 3 days would be more telling of what my life was going to be like in the next 3 years…far more telling than any description of my 3 year goals. My actions tell the truth, my goal statement is…well, just talk. Am I currently taking the next logical step to inch closer to the distant goal? Teenagers live in the word of baby steps. Perhaps our conversations should be rooted in the next 3 days rather than the next 3 years with our kids.
Quite honestly, I think this advice would be helpful for all of us….