The following is adapted from Daddy Saturday.
Want to help your children be in the top 1% of the U.S. population? All they need to do is have written goals and review them daily. According to Brian Tracy, less than 3% of the U.S. population have written goals and less than 1% review their goals daily. The power of goal setting cannot be disputed and it’s a competitive advantage you can teach your children at an early age.
As fathers, it’s important we model the behavior we want to see in our children because far more is caught than taught. Therefore, if you don’t have written goals and review them daily, then how can you expect your children to? Goal setting is a valuable tool you can do with your children that will set them up for success both now and later in life.
Here are a few ways I try to help my four kids harness the power of goal-setting.
The Power of a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)
At the end of each year, my wife and I get away for a few days to spend time together goal setting for the upcoming year. We review our goals from the past year and discuss where we succeeded and where we fell short. We then develop both individual and family goals together for the year. This list always includes a BHAG for the year which is something BIG we intend to achieve as a family. My wife and I return from our goal setting vacation refreshed and excited for the year ahead.
The next step is then to involve our kids in their own goal setting for the year. We use categories of faith, family, friends, fitness, fun, and education. Our kids use the SMART format for setting their goals, which means they must be specific, measureable, actionable, realistic and timebound. For example, one of my children’s goals for last year was to read one book each month for the entire year. The power of setting goals with your children is the opportunity to walk alongside them during the year as they work to achieve their goals and then to look back at all they accomplish during the year.
How Can You Win the Day?
Goals don’t always need to be long term and it’s also important to set short term goals or “micro” wins as we call them in our family. Almost every morning when I sit down for breakfast with my kids, I want to help them win the day. I’ll ask them, “What’s your goal for the day?”
Often times, it’s, “To get a good report in class,” or in the case of Hayden, who plays volleyball and was struggling with her serve, it was, “Get every serve over the net tonight at my volleyball game.” I recommend every parent try this because it’s a great way to begin embedding a short term goal-setting principle in your child’s mind. In this case, I was able to sit down with Hayden and talk about her serve noting the “micro” wins of each time she got the ball over the net and discussing what happened the time it didn’t.
I often ask my kids the question, “How do you eat an elephant?”. They know the answer by now and reply, “One bite at a time!”. If you can take your kids long-range goals and help break them down into daily bite-sized chunks, it’s far easier for them to digest.
I try to teach my children you’ve got to win the day, and if you win the day, then you win the week, and if you win the week, then you win the month, and if you win the month, then you win the year. When you start stacking those years on top of each other, that’s how you achieve the long-term goals you have in mind.
What New Skill Do You Want to Learn?
As part of their goal-setting, I’ll also ask my kids, “What’s one new skill you want to learn this year?” My nine-year-old son Blane wanted to learn how to surf last year, so we had to ask him, “How do you plan on getting there?” Well, first, he had to get a surfboard.
There was only one issue: since his birthday was in November, he was going to have to buy a surfboard to catch the summer surf season. Wanting to support his goal, we struck a deal where he would pay half of it, which he did by working and saving.
There were so many principles that he learned just in the process of setting that one goal: working hard, being responsible, saving money, being disciplined and consistent. In the end, he not only learned to surf, but the process of how he got to his goal made the result that much sweeter.
The Goal of being a Great Dad is Not a Straight Road
Let’s face it, parenting is hard. The road of raising children is filled with peaks and valleys, twists and turns, and there is no straight line to raising good kids who become great adults. You want to point your kids in the right direction through goal setting, and then walk alongside them as their guide to help them keep moving toward their vision. If they deviate, you’re there to gently redirect them back onto the narrow way by serving as their guide and continually pointing out their “micro” wins to keep the momentum.
There may be times where you have to get behind them and give them a little push, too, but before you know it, they’ll be able to navigate their path all on their own.
Through understanding and implementing the practice of having written goals and reviewing them daily your children will at the front of their generation and in the top 1% of the U.S. population.
For more advice on helping your children set goals, you can find the book Daddy Saturday on Amazon.
Justin Batt aims to disrupt fatherhood with intentionality, by creating intentional fathers who raise good kids who become great adults. He founded Daddy Saturday in his own backyard with his four children, and it’s grown into a national movement engaging fathers across multiple channels, including YouTube, social media, the Daddy Saturday book, an Alexa skill, a podcast, merchandise, live events, and a 501(c)(3) foundation, through which Justin plans to impact 10 million fathers in the next 10 years.