We hear all the time about the importance of setting goals and targets.
And it can certainly be a productive and motivating thing to do ?
However, there’s one key, super-important, super-ESSENTIAL step that often gets missed.
And it’s a trap that we can all so easily fall into…
Now, before I reveal all, I’ll give you an example and then you can ‘play along at home’ and see if you can work out what I’m talking about 😉
Let’s say Bob sets a goal to lose 5 kilos. He writes it up, sticks it on his fridge, does some visualizations of himself being 5k lighter, and all the rest of the steps in goal-setting.
He even puts a time-frame on it – to make it a SMART goal of course……..
And then what?
Is Bob going to just lose those 5 kilos?
No, of course not.
So, have you guessed it?
Yep, it’s the steps and actions that are needed to achieve those goals.
- what those steps are
- what we need to do to complete them
- precisely how and when we’re going to do it.
So, for Bob, he needs to figure out what foods or drinks he needs to take out of his diet and what he should eat or drink instead, and how much of them, probably even at what points of the day.
He might also need to find a way to become more physically active and then decide how, where and when he’s going to incorporate it into his life each week.
But back to your teen… It’s exactly the same for students, their study and their grades.
For example, if your teen sets a goal to get an A in English, they need to identify exactly HOW they are going to do it.
What precisely do they need to change or improve?
And then, exactly how are they going to develop their knowledge and skills to make those changes or improvements?
Because it’s not just a case of ‘working harder’ in English.
(Proof = I see some of the hardest working students STILL stay STUCK term after term, semester after semester, on the same old grades).
It’s instead knowing the exact steps to take that will create the changes they need to make, in the skills and criteria that the grading system requires.
So first they need to figure out how identify these.
- How can they find out what they need to specifically improve? That’s link 1 in bridging that gap between goal and achievement. This might be talking to their teacher, or go through their previous comments and feedback on assessments.
Let’s say they realise that need to focus on giving more detailed analyses.
Great – now they need to figure out link 2.
2. They need to find out HOW to do that. (Insider info: This is often the trickiest part! Because if they knew THAT then they’d likely already be getting those A’s, right? )
Well let’s take the example of needing to give more detailed analyses:
They’d need to work on extending explanations (which BTW is where my 3 magic words – so, therefore and because come in!).
They’d need to use more technical vocab, and…
They’d need to select suitable examples or evidence and develop detailed links to back up their explanations.
So, let’s wrap this up:
The key message here is to make sure, whatever targets or goals your teen sets for themselves in their study, that they have a clear and specific path to get there. That they know precisely what they need to do and HOW to do it to achieve them.
I’d love your feedback or questions around this – Scroll down and leave me a comment 🙂
Until next week, let’s make this a fantastic week!