Why is goal setting important?
It’s interesting that while we expect adults to have goals we rarely think of a 4 to 6 year old child with a set of their own goals. Yet goals stem from healthy needs or wants, desires and ambition all of which is applicable to any age and as human beings, we all naturally have our own unique goals.
Learning to set and achieve goals helps young people in a number of ways:
It will develop their focus as they understand to achieve each goal they will need to set targets and apply themselves in one form or another to achieve their goals.
The process of setting goals will improve their attention to detail as they break down big goals into smaller goals and begin to pick apart the process of success.
It will develop patience through the understanding of delaying gratification until a goal is achieved and a reward can be earned. All of which is an incredibly healthy learning experience.
Learning to set and achieve their own goals will improve their self esteem and confidence. They will begin to understand that big goals are in fact very achievable if broken down and the feeling of being rewarded and recognised for their hard work will reinforce the positive feeling of success that they have produced.
Learning about setting and achieving goals will teach a child about perseverance, about “not giving up” and this will give them drive to succeed.
Teaching a young person to set and achieve goals gives a young person heaps of valuable learning experiences. Not only does it physically help them to achieve their goals, it will absolutely develop their Character.
The Warrior Academy Goal setting System has been designed to help students learn to break down big goals into small digestible chunks from years to months to weeks to days and daily habits. The goal is for students to learn the process of goal setting so that they can achieve this on their own and apply it to every aspect of their life.
The concept of SMART goals has been around for a while now, they have been proven to be incredibly effective. The Warrior Academy Goal Setting System is an adaptation on the traditional SMART goal system which focuses on:
Specific: By setting a very specific goal our mind focuses on the single task we need to achieve without being confused or distracted by other goals. General or broader goals can also be hard to measure.
Measurable: We must be able to measure the success of our work or efforts. How do we know if the outcome is a success? Typically goals are measured with ‘accuracy’ or ‘frequency’.
Attainable: There are two types of terrible goals we find people set. 1) Way too big, unattainable goals without any thought for breaking them down. While thinking big is excellent, setting a single big goal without a plan can result in a loss in confidence and motivation. 2) Too small! A goal that does not push us out of our comfort zone in the slightest will not give us the correct stimuli required to grow. The best goal we can set forms part of a bigger plan, it challenges us and we know with hard work we can achieve it.
Relevant: The goals must be decided by the student and must be relevant to their lives. They must make an impact. With young students we find the actual goal is typically not as important as the learning process of goal setting. This can be encouraged by making the goals very relevant to their lives. It keeps motivation up!
Time-Bound: We must give a time frame to the goals we set, for 2 main reasons: 1) So we can measure them effectively and 2) So we give ourselves a deadline to meet. Without this our concentration and focus can go and it’s unlikely we will complete a challenging goal. It’s also important that a suitable amount of time is given to a goal as we do not want our students to feel overwhelmed and give up.
Many businesses use the SMARTER approach for setting goals, the additional E and R refer to Ethical and Recorded. For our students we have found it to be more beneficial to utilise the additional ER as:
Enjoyable: The goals must be fun to work towards and the process must be enjoyable.
Rewarding: We must plan a series of rewards for each goal throughout. Without this we are not solidifying the learning experience
With this in place as the backbone for setting goals, at The Warrior Academy we encourage students to follow these steps for dissecting their goals:
ONE – What is your Long Term Vision?
What many goal setting exercises fail to do is start with a vision. Start here. Think of a huge goal or a vision for yourself that aligns with your values. The values must personify who you are, who you want to be and what you stand for. This goal or vision lies in the background and directs our smaller goals, when you are not thinking about your smaller goals, the vision will subconsciously drive your decisions and motivation. Using a common goal in our clubs of becoming a black belt which can be a 7-10 year journey for many students, move onto the next step. You can see our Black Belt Journey diagram here: https://www.warrioracademy.co.uk/overview
What reward would you give yourself or your child for achieving this goal?
TWO – Create Big Goals
These goals must be 12-18 months in length and take a considerable amount of hard work, they are typically the result of changes in daily habits and a combination of the success of many smaller (1-3 month) goals. Using our martial arts programme to show this and looking at the Black Belt Journey above we can see the stages are excellent examples; Junior, Senior, Advanced, Black Belt and Instructor – all typically 12-18 months apart.
THREE – Breakdown the Big Goals
We are looking for 3-6 month goals here. These goals must represent a big change in our development. For a martial artist in our organisation we typically hold gradings every 3 to 6 months which provides an excellent BIG goal. To achieve the next belt, our “Yellow Belt” or “Blue Belt”.
FOUR – Small goals
What will it take to achieve your 3 to 6 month BIG goal? To achieve your next belt you may need to conquer several aspects of your training and get out of your comfort zone a little bit. We break this down in our organisation by awarding “stripes” on our students belts that represent different parts of their training. Once all 5 stripes are achieved, the student is ready for their grading.
Yellow = Leadership (leading the class)
Red = Self Defence
Purple = Fitness
Green = Technique and Line Work
Black = Sparring
These small steps make such a big difference to breaking down those big goals that can seem so far away, it really does guide students through the goal setting process.
FIVE – Daily Habits
Understanding that our daily habits make up our small goals, which in turn make up our big goals. We must plan the most positive, productive day. Try to establish what the perfect day would look like? Who can you help in your day? As a student, can you help your parents out at home? Making your bed each day? Then, look at the small drills you can do at home to help you achieve the smaller goals above. In this case if your fitness stripe is coming up, a daily habit of performing push ups and squat jumps evening morning and evening will make a difference to you achieving your small goal.
SIX – Evaluate your goals
Going through each of the above steps, breakdown what the result would mean to you, be as descriptive as possible, how would it make you feel? Developing this understanding will create a deep sense of pride when achieving the goals laid out, it will also connect the student to their true vision.
SEVEN – Plan rewards
This step is like sprinkling motivation over each of the goals we have listed above. By this stage we have an emotional connection to the goals we are setting. We understand how they will benefit our lives.
EIGHT – Accountability
Accountability is vital to keep up on track. Productivity soars when we have someone else to answer to. Having Instructors, friends or parents checking in with us from time to time can make a massive impact here. We can create accountability ourselves by printing out the above goals and have tick them off each day, week, month. Keeping old copies of these goals will serve to motivate us when we plan our next goals.
So, download our worksheet and have fun creating your own goals!