Every year, people get sucked into making a list of goals. Setting and achieving goals is a positive thing, but are teens and adults alike getting caught up in achievement instead of meaningful life improvement? This year, rather than setting a bunch of goals for the short term, how about shifting your focus from goals to habits? As we break bad habits and form good ones, they can not only help us achieve goals, but can lead us through a more fulfilling, successful life.
Goals vs. Habits
As we age, it’s great for us to learn how to set goals and work toward them. Those goals may be education, health, or career-related. But no matter what they are, a plan of action can help us achieve them. You might need a specific study schedule, a detour away from fast-food during your commute, or better organization.
But what about looking at things from a life-long angle? For example, say your teen has a goal to earn a scholarship. Instead of focusing entirely on homework and grades, consider how you might instill in him a love for learning. Emphasize the learning aspect as a means of self-satisfaction and a lifetime of valuable information to draw upon. Along with higher grades and a better chance at scholarships, he’ll learn life skills along the way such as dedication, organization, and drive.
Commit to the Process
In order to achieve any worthy goal, you have to commit to the process. There may be several steps or pieces to that puzzle. Many people set a larger goal, but then focus on those individual components rather than the whole enchilada. Say you want to lose 50 pounds. Instead of focusing on that number, try breaking it down. Yes, you want to lose the weight, but what behaviors or changes will get you there? Cutting back on potato chips and soda would help, as would a fitness strategy and eating more fresh veggies. Committing to the process is the only way to succeed at the overall goal, but aren’t those good habits for anyone who wants to live a longer, healthier life?
Help Your Teen (or Yourself) Succeed
There are several ways to help your teen mature into a productive adult. (And if you can achieve these as a parent, you’ll be setting the proper example.) Setting goals that focus on forming positive lifetime habits can help your teen — and you — be more successful in the long-term. Some of those life habits include:
- Make things happen – Learning to take responsibility is part of becoming an adult. Don’t want for things to happen and then place blame. Make the right things happen by being proactive.
- Prioritize – Help your teen put their priorities in order. By doing the most important things first — without procrastinating — anyone can learn to push through the tougher tasks and reap the satisfaction.
- Teamwork – Nobody can do everything alone. Participating collaborative goals can help teens understand that everyone has different talents to offer, which can improve any final result.
- Avoid burnout – Teens have a lot on their plates. Help driven teens recognize when it’s time to take a break, say no to an extra burden, and recharge their own batteries.
Good habits provide the foundation for a productive future. No matter your age, you can begin to shift your focus from short-term achievements to lifelong habits that bring success and joy.
From the mountains of Utah, Tyler Jacobson writes about his experiences as a father and husband. By sharing the struggles and solutions his family has faced, Tyler hopes to help other parents looking for a way to better their lives. You can connect with Tyler and read his helpful insights on: Twitter | LinkedIn
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