SEL Skills Articles
How Students Should Set Goals
There are three steps to setting goals: deciding, believing, and focusing.
Will you decide to sit down with your class and set goals together? Will you decide to get a pen and a piece of paper and dream?
If you don’t decide to fit it in your schedule, think of the repercussions. Think of that feeling you’ve had of your wheels spinning and not going anywhere. Can you tell me five distinct things you accomplished last year? Can your students? If not, would you like to change that?
Instead of constantly reacting to everything, decide to drive the things that are going to happen this year. Decide on what you want to accomplish. Have your students decide what they want to accomplish. This is where they get to dream big and be creative. This is a way for you to connect with them on a new level.
Students won’t feel the pressure of trying to please teachers, parents, etc. with no direction. Instead, they will be deciding their own path and priorities for the year!
“You don’t try to build a wall, you don’t set out to build a wall, you don’t say I’m going to build the biggest, baddest wall that’s ever been built, you don’t start there, you say, I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid, you do that every single day and soon you have a wall.” – Will Smith
Click here for to watch the full Will Smith video quoted above. Focus on the story at 4:00 minute mark.
Before anyone else believes in your goals, the first step is for you to believe in them. Your goals won’t go anywhere if you don’t genuinely connect with their importance. You have heard that from the time you were a child. It’s cheesy, but it’s the truth.
Will Smith says he believes in his goals so much, he is willing to die for them. We understand that is a bit extreme in a classroom setting, but the point is still there. It’s the principle of being so committed to it that nothing will deter you from it.
Like Will Smith says, don’t even bother having a plan B, it distracts from plan A. You built a whole wall by dreaming, now make a plan for each brick. Don’t make your goals more difficult then they need to be. Focus on something simple.
Your students can come up with a “brick-by-brick” plan too. Attacking the “wall” is intimidating. To achieve success, focus on brick-by-brick.
Teaching goal-setting can be tricky, but we cover it extensively in our SOAR® Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum. If you would like to learn more, sign up for our “How Do I Feel?” Curriculum Kit, that includes our complete module on feelings in the blue box on the right of this page.
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