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Posted April 29, 2021

A Harvard study found that students who set goals ultimately earned twice as much than those who didn’t set goals before graduation. Those who went a step further and wrote their goals down, earned 10 times as much as their peers.

The main takeaway from the study suggests goal-setting has a direct correlation to performance. If that’s the case, this is a skill we want our kids to have in their toolbox. As you guide your child through their goal setting journey, keep the following recommendations in mind.

Let Them Choose

When identifying goals, it’s nice to give your child the reins; they are, after all, the one who will have to put in the work. Ignite the discussion by asking what they want to do, be, or have. Most often, these questions will lead to responses that not only have meaning to them but contain a financial component.

Talk About the Possibilities

The perfect goal will be challenging enough to keep your child motivated without being completely out of reach. Use their responses to the above questions to determine which one of those dreams or desires can realistically come to life. Conduct research together to determine how much they’d need to save.

Don’t Forget the Details

Get them into the habit of setting SMART goals; this stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. A goal of theirs may be to buy a toy – a SMART goal would state they’d save $15 for a basketball in five weeks by taking on additional chores at home and saving at least $3 per week.

Focus On Stepping Stones

One of the benefits of setting SMART goals is that children have milestones they need to meet regularly. If your child was in fact purchasing that basketball, they’d know they were on track if they saved $3 each week leading up to the deadline. If they had a shortfall, they’d know they’d need to make up for it.

Evaluate and Celebrate

When the deadline comes around, evaluate what went well and what could’ve been done differently. If the goal is within reach and you simply ran out of time, consider extending the target date.

Positive reinforcement and celebrating successes are important. Congratulate your child on a job well done, even if the goal was only partially met. Some progress is better than no progress.


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