Spring Clean Up for Your Mind: Ready, Set, Goal!

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Spring is around the corner and I am looking forward to it for many reasons; warmer weather, longer days and getting my "organizational" act together.

Last year around this time I wrote a blog about spring cleaning which focused on organizing your child's room and workspace. As the saying goes, "A cluttered room is a cluttered mind". It's a good idea to periodically take stock of what you own, assess what you are actually using and purge the rest.

This month's blog entry focuses on spring cleaning - for the mind. It can be extremely tough to accomplish tasks successfully when you've got dozens of responsibilities swirling around in your brain. This haphazard way of managing tasks can result in mediocre or negative outcomes, instead of reaching one's full potential. The same can be said for our school-aged children who have numerous assignments, tests and projects to manage, not to mention extra-curricular activities. 


This is where goal setting can be useful. We have to begin thinking in a more strategic and organized way about what we want to accomplish and help our children to do the same. Maybe your son wants to end the school year with an A in biology or your daughter wants to move up a reading level. These are great goals, but how do we make them happen? Enter, S.M.A.R.T goals. 

More and more K-12 schools are introducing concepts like S.M.A.R.T goal setting as a way of gradually building students' capacity to tackle the increasing challenges they are facing. S.M.A.R.T goals are:

S = Specific. Decide exactly what it is you want to accomplish, learn, or do, and express it in specific terms. 

M = Measurable. How will you know when you’ve accomplished your goal? Figure out a way to measure your success.

A = Attainable. Set yourself up for success; reach high, but not impossibly high.

R = Realistic, and Results Focused. State what results can be achieved realistically given available skills, knowledge, and resources.

T = Timely and Trackable. Set a target completion date. Milestone dates along the way can be very useful.

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When following the S.M.A.R.T. approach, goals have to be relevant, so brainstorm with your child and help them come up with their own goals. They may also need help with setting realistic time-frames to achieve their goals. It may even be necessary to break their ultimate goal into smaller steps to get there (which is okay!). To boost your child's confidence, make sure the goal is challenging, but not unattainable. Creating small milestones along the way can be a significant confidence booster when successfully met. Check out this S.M.A.R.T goals worksheet to get started at home. 


Every student has a different learning style. For an individualized plan customized to your child's needs, please contact Dana Aussenberg at danaaussenberg.com or email dana@danaaussenberg.com.