2014 is wrapping up and hopefully your year was full of fun and physical activity had by everyone in your family. I hope this year brought you closer to the realization, if you weren’t already aware of it, that physical activity is not just an activity you do sporadically, but a life-style that even the youngest members of your family should be participating in and can benefit a great deal from. Please check out my previous posts to read more about those benefits if you haven’t done so already!
Usually the last week or so of the year is a time of refection, looking back to see what one has accomplished and what could have been done better or more efficiently. It is also a time of resolution, making plans and setting goals regarding things you want to accomplish in the future. The New Year’s Resolution activity is often seen as something that is dominated by adults and our desires. However, we should be encouraging our children to take part in this activity as well, as having and committing to a New Year’s Resolution, is just another form of goal setting, with the entire year in mind. So, with that being said, don’t ring in 2015 or let that ball drop until you have had a conversation with your child about his or her goals they would like to accomplish in the New Year!
Some important goals for your child to keep in mind, along with academic goals, are goals for their health and fitness. Remind your child that health is wealth, and without being in proper shape and living a healthy life-style some of their other goals that they might want to accomplish might not be so easy to attain. You can encourage them to set goals or to make a New Year’s Resolution that might include: eating more vegetables, while limiting their intake of candy, limiting the amount of time they spend playing video games, giving them more free time to participate in sports or exercise. If your children are heavy consumers of soda-pop, sports drinks or energy drinks you can encourage them to make a commitment to only consume these drinks on the weekends, while during the weekdays they must commit to only drinking water. Discuss and point out the benefits of these goals. For example you may want to tell them that limiting their sugar intake and consuming more water and vegetables along with being active will give them more energy, while helping their skin stay clear, if they are going through puberty.
“When we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” “If you don’t know where you’re going any road will get you there.” These are some great quotes about goal setting, which can be shared with your children, they also serve as reminders as to why setting goals and having a plan is so important. Moreover, goal setting is a very important skill for a child to utilize as it will be highly beneficial as they move into adult-hood. Having and setting goals is a great way to put the proper perspective on life and manage it as well, as even for adolescents, life at times can be overwhelming. The most import thing to keep in mind while discussing goals and this year’s resolution with your child is to make sure he or she is setting reachable goals that in fact can be accomplished this year. Have a plan of action and a way your child will go about accomplishing their goals. Make sure to support them if they fall off track and help them to get back on. Also, if they are sticking to their goals and have been doing so for a significant amount of time reward them, positive reinforcement is a great way to insure that they will keep up the good work!
Here are some techniques for goal setting to make it fun, yet effective:
Write The Goal Down: A good way to accomplish a goal is to write it down. This helps to commit it to memory and makes it more “real” as the goal is now tangible; something that your child can hold and feel, as opposed to keeping the goal in his or her head. According to an article by Norma Reid a success coach and writer for Eco-Wellness, “Statistics show people who write down their goals have over an 80% higher success rate of achieving them.” But, the key in having your child write down their goals is to post it somewhere they can see it every day. Good places to post their goals include; on a mirror they use every day, a wall in their bedroom, or on the refrigerator. The fridge is an awesome place because not only are they being reminded of their goal but the entire household is as well, making it far more likely that they will stick to their goal, as they have family members encouraging them to do so.
In addition to writing goals down, have them try these:
Mind Mapping: A Mind Map is a hand drawn diagram, usually done with crayons and colored-pencils, placing the main topic or goal in the center of a blank page. After the main goal is in the center, lines are drawn from the main goal, which have statements drawn and written on them; some statements might include ways to accomplish the goal and what it might feel like after the goal is accomplished. Mind mapping is great because it is colorfully drawn; often when we set a goal we are using our left side of the brain, which is the logic based side. However, Mind Mapping gets the whole brain involved as we are using our right side of the brain, which is responsible for creativity. Mind Mapping will help make the goal your child has all the more reachable.
Vision Boards: Like Mind Mapping, creating a vision board stimulates the right hemisphere of the brain, again making the goal all the more real to achieve. To create a Vision Board start with a blank piece of paper and about 10 magazines. Keeping your child’s goal in mind, have them go through these magazines and cut out pictures and words that make them not only reflect on their goal but pictures that represent what their goal will look like once they achieve it. Once they have these pictures cut them out and glue them on the blank paper and encourage them to hang the vision board up in their room so they can see their goal each day.
Visualization: Visualization is another way to utilize the right hemisphere of the brain. Once the goal is established, have your child close his or her eyes and visualize having achieved the goal. The key to this exercise is to be very specific. Have your child imagine every detail of the goal and what it would feel like to accomplish it. Have them visualize everything from, the day of the week, what smells do they smell, what are they wearing, what sounds do they hear, what friends and family will be there, to what the temperature is like outside; is it raining or sunny. The more specific the better, visualization is a way to prime the body and mind with a specific goal or feeling, if the mind and body “remembers” what it felt like to achieve something, when it comes time for the real thing to happen, the process of getting there will be that much easier because it is a familiar situation and feeling.
Here are some links for the goal setting techniques I discussed in this post:
Vision Board: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Vision-Board
Mind Mapping: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Mind-Map
Writing down goals article: http://www.ecowellnessnews.net/wp-content/uploads/Write-down-Goals.pdf
Wishing everyone a fun, healthy, active and prosperous 2015! Schedule a session for your child with one of our CASS Fitness trainers today! And as always, stay active and remember, an active child is a happy child!