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The Value of Goal-Setting

Last year I made a sort of self-referential decision. I had been working on goal-setting with my kids, first my older one (just about to take off for college) and then with my then-13-year-old. I thought, “Wow, the goal-setting materials for teens that I’ve found are so hard to use with homeschoolers… I should write my own!” So, in order to make sure it got done, I set an explicit goal to finish a book about goal-setting by the end of the summer.

I met my goal-setting goal!

My new book is about to be hot off the presses! Join my email list in order to be notified when you can purchase it.

That book is now on the horizon. Homeschool with Confidence: a goal-setting guide for teens comes out May 15. I wrote a draft of the book, used it in an online goal-setting class that I taught at Athena’s Advanced Academy, reworked the book, and then realized it was that “now or never” point that I hope kids learn to recognize as they use my book.

This first book is explicitly for homeschoolers because homeschoolers face a much different set of choices than school students do. But my thoughts about goal-setting in general apply to all teens.

Goal-setting—I hope I made clear in my book—is not about making a plan and sticking to it no matter what. For all sorts of reasons, our plans change. Flexible people are generally happier and more successful than inflexible people, but at the same time, people who feel that they have purpose and direction in their lives are also happier and more successful.

Successful goal-setting is the balance between knowing what you want and being open to changing if the need arises.

Successful goal-setting is also a balance between understanding what “success” means to you personally versus what it means to your friends, family, and our society at large.

Why goal-setting for teens?

I can’t stress how important this process has been for our family. Goal-setting offers a framework for families to discuss decision-making. This framework serves to defuse the emotion that often arises when making decisions with teens. Once you have a common goal-setting language and your family lays out goals together, it becomes much easier to debate the different possibilities. Of course, you parents are going to have to give up a little bit of your sense of control, but you will be repaid by the reduced stress and the confidence that your teen will gain.

What next?

I will be offering workshops for parents and teens both in-person and online. My first workshop is a free chat session on May 22 in Aptos. Click here for more information. I hope to give other workshops throughout the summer. I will definitely be offering workshops for parents and teens at July’s  HSC Conference. Please see my to do list below so that you can keep in touch if you’re interested in my workshops or the book!

A sense of satisfaction

The very best thing about successful goal-setting is that it makes you feel…successful! Self-published books seldom make much money (heck, these days this applies to books of any stripe). But the great thing about publishing a book is that it crystallizes the work you’ve been doing. Working on goal-setting with my own kids, other kids, and parents, has been extremely rewarding. I can check this goal off my list with a great sense of satisfaction.

Parent to-do list:

Posted in Culture.


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