• Katie Gentry

GOAL SETTING: Creating Super Kids

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

It’s a new year! And what typically comes with a new year? Resolutions and goals. Many adults get into gear from day one but what about the children in your home as well?

“Goal setting is one of the most highly linked characteristics to the success that individuals have. Top athletes and successful people all use goal setting. And while it is a trait that is most often associated with adolescents and adults, younger children can also benefit greatly from beginning this life skill at an early age.“ says Jennifer Salama, SKILLS content contributer.

This month, we’ll dive into how to help your children set and achieve goals as well as how Martial Arts at Southwest Arkansas Taekwondo can take this skill to the next level.

Studies show that teaching children how to set and achieve goals helps them learn to take responsibility for their own actions, promotes a “can-do” attitude and positive self-esteem, and forms a powerful lifelong habit that they need to thrive.

But, many adults know what’s its like to see all that beginning-of-the-year motivation dwindle. As the old saying goes, “When then going gets tough, the tough get going.” Children will experience this lag too if their goals are not fun and interesting. (Probably not a bad idea for us “big kids” too.) Have your child choose their own goals and discuss with them why they want to achieve them. This adds connection not only to the goal, but allows you and your child an opportunity to build accountability.

Ask questions like – “What is something you would do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” “What’s something you’d like to do to help others this year?” and “What’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t had the opportunity?”

Finally, have them write it down. Studies show that we are 42% more likely to achieve a goal when we write it out (and see it staring at us wherever we chose to put it).

Martial arts, like many sports, offers many opportunities to help children set and achieve both long and short-term goals.

Through the SKILLZ program and traditional Martial Arts development used at Southwest Arkansas Taekwondo, short- and long-term goal setting and achievement are a part of the daily routine. From daily game-based drills to achieving a new belt rank, the students are having fun while their do their best, teaching them the value of leaning and effort.

Through SKILLZ, students are trained on a skill each day, according to their age group, completing a drill that helps develop that skill and achieve short-term goals within the drill. Our Little Champions have the opportunity to earn a star for completing tasks associated with the skill for the day. Our Advanced Program students even have the opportunity to earn the title of ‘Student of the Day,’ chosen by the Leadership Team. The Student of the Day is rewarded for their focus and hard work in class by bowing the class out and getting to pick the game for the end of class.

These short-term achievements keep them motivated to continue to set new goals for themselves and work to accomplish them.

Students also work towards long term goals by earning stripes on their belt for different achievements throughout the testing cycle, including board breaking and memorized pattern and meaning. At the end of each testing cycle, students have the opportunity to participate in belt rank testing – a long-term goal accomplishment. Here, they demonstrate all skills that they have learned throughout the testing cycle and, finally, with the right amount of hard work and dedication, receive their next belt rank.

But not only does Southwest Arkansas Taekwondo and SKILLZ utilize a stripes and belt system, it also incorporates additional goals that students can work towards. These include being a part of the Leadership Team, an invitation only program to further develop leadership and confidence through teaching. And Special Forces, which is a program of higher-level challenges to develop the next level competitor and demo team.

These long-term achievements instill a sense of pride in themselves and exercise seeing a task through to the end, even if it’s challenging.

“To succeed in life, we must know exactly what it is we are trying to do. This is the first and foremost secret of successful people - a secret we give as a gift to our (children) when we teach them how to set goals. By doing this, we are creating positive habits of setting goals that will carry over into adulthood.” –Jennifer Salama

Original concept created by Jennifer Salama of SKILLZ. Adapted for Southwest Arkansas Taekwondo by Katie Gentry.

#goalsetting #newyearnewyou #superkids #martialarts #taekwondo #SKILLZ