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Setting Intentional Goals

Tips to Help Your Child Reach Their Goals for the New Year!



Many people prepare for the New Year by taking time to pause and reflect on the past 12 months while planning for changes and setting goals they’d like to implement and obtain moving forward. However, after a handful of days into the New year, that energetic momentum diminishes. Something is missing that prevents them from maintaining the drive to keep going. So, when it comes to your student, how can you support them to achieve their ultimate goals in their learning and life?

  • The goal could be clearer and more specific. Deciding on some aspect of the end result is only part of the process. If students are missing the planning skills to help them foresee the directions they need to take, they won’t have a direction to keep working towards.

Tip: Make it specific! Children need support in creating a roadmap to show them the way–when they’ll do it, how they’ll do it, and how they will measure their progress along the way.

  • The end results are too far away. It feels obscure and unobtainable if it is too great of a chasm between the steps needed to achieve the goal and the overall goal itself. This is especially true for the population who has ADHD since they’re time-blind and lack the necessary dopamine.

Tip: Break the goal into smaller benchmarks to allow them to feel a sense of achievement. Celebrate those small successes along the way! Each atomic step forward is a step toward their goal. Just moving in the right direction is a success!

  • They have no buy-in or ownership in goal-setting. When you or other adults set goals for your child, and they reluctantly agree to please those around them, they are bystanders to the process and have no intrinsic motivation to continue.


Tip: Include your child in the decision-making process to support their goals. Their goals need to be relevant to them. For example, no one is training for a marathon because they were told it was good for them!

  • There is a fear of not reaching their goals based on past goal-setting experiences. Setting goals and not achieving them can make a person feel like a failure, leaving them less likely to want to try again.

Tip: Acknowledge any small step forward. Often we focus too much on the outcome instead of the journey. There are so many small steps and lessons to learn along the way! Verbalize what you see them doing so they begin to see it in themselves. Example: I see how you’re going to bed earlier so you can wake up more refreshed for school, which is really helping! Ask them if they want your support and, if so, how they want that to look.

  • They have delayed executive function skills. A student can have all the motivation in the world, but without the execution skills to get from point A to B, they won’t meet their goals. Example: Wanting to keep their bedroom organized but not knowing where to start.

Tip: Meet your child where they are and scaffold them to achieve their goals. If you’re unsure how to do that, please reach out to us at WeThrive Learning for a free 15-minute consultation to see how WTL can help support the development of your child’s executive function skills, which will positively impact all aspects of their life!





Whatever your child’s goals are for the year ahead, encouraging their growth mindset and supporting their vision will surely bring great things for them in 2023!


Written by Jenny Aguilar (M. Ed., ET/P) and Geneva Walsh (M. Ed.)


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