University Parent Media
3800 Arapahoe Ave.
Boulder, CO 80303
University Parent Media web site
Contact: Sarah Schupp, 866-721-1357
GOAL-SETTING: TEACHING YOUR STUDENT A BASIC LIFE SKILL
Boulder, COLO. (April 25, 2011) – Parents don’t have to feel helpless when their college students are overwhelmed, according to University Parent Media. They can help their students strengthen goal-setting skills that will instill self awareness, confidence and critical thinking skills.
UPM suggests the following process to parents:
- Define the goal. Sit down with your student and encourage him to think about his goal. Help him define what exactly he wants to accomplish and when. Writing down goals will help him keep track and look back to reflect on how much he’s accomplished, and he’ll also be able to recognize if any of his goals contradict each other. For example, if he wants to work out one hour every day and also get an off-campus job for 20 hours a week, he might not have time for both. He should start to recognize goals in every area of his life – academic, personal, relational, professional, spiritual, etc.
Encourage your student to make SMART goals that fulfill all of the following requirements:
- S - Specific (or Significant)
- M - Measurable (or Meaningful)
- A - Attainable (or Action-Oriented)
- R - Relevant (or Rewarding)
- T - Time-bound (or Trackable)
- Believe in the goal. Once your student has determined what he wants to accomplish, expect him to explain why this goal is important to him. Identify the external and internal motivators for the goal. Are other people counting on him to accomplish this goal? Will he get in trouble or fail to meet standards if he doesn’t reach his goal? How will reaching his goal benefit him? Is he prepared to put in the time and energy to make this happen?
- Plan the steps. Help your student write out the steps he will take to reach his goal. Identify things that are hindering him now and what he will need to meet his objectives. Let your student determine the level of detail that he identifies in these steps; if he gets stuck during the process of attaining his goal, suggest that he break down his steps to smaller, more manageable tasks.
- Assess progress. A written goal has no value if it’s never read. Encourage your student to use the steps he has outlined, and ask him about his progress periodically. Celebrate with him when he reaches his goals, and support him in adjusting his ambitions and priorities as he learns more about himself and gains confidence. Remember to stay an observer in this process – it’s not your job to define his goals, believe in them more than he does or take the steps to accomplish them!
About University Parent Media: University Parent Media, based in Boulder, Colo., produces print and online guides for college parents in partnership with over 200 universities and colleges in 34 states. Visit www.universityparent.com. Follow on Twitter @4collegeparents and join Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/collegeparents.