“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar

Goal setting is a powerful life skill to teach students. It promotes the development of important social and emotional skills, such as self-confidence, self-control and resilience.

Children are natural goal setters, and educators can help them develop their ideas into attainable goals. With the new school year approaching, it's an ideal time for students to set new goals and assess their previous goals. A goal could be as simple as completing a homework assignment or learning about a particular subject. Use these tips to foster students' goal setting:

Help students set age-appropriate goals. Ensure that goals are within a student’s capacity so you can avoid unnecessary stress and disappointment.

Teach the value of goal setting. Emphasize that setting a goal is less about competition and the actual attainment of the target (although achievement should be encouraged) and more about the skills and lessons learned.

Develop SMART goals. For older students, developing specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely (SMART) goals will help them track their progress and make adjustments as they work toward their objectives.

Help them create action plans. Get students on track to achieving their goals by encouraging them to develop step-by-step plans to follow.

Allow time for reflection. Help them identify areas in which they lacked effort or faced difficulties beyond their control. Also, encourage students to reflect on their hard work, even if they do not reach their goals. Some may not reach their goals, but reiterate that the journey to reach their goals is just as important (if not more important) than the outcome.

For goal-setting activities, visit our Teaching Goal Setting board on Pinterest.