Meditation and Children, Part 7: Setting Goals
Continuing with our blog series on meditation and children – including progressive relaxation exercises and the importance of breath, seated meditation, creative visualization, and creative visualization basics – today’s blog post will focus on goal setting.
THE MIDDLE: SETTING GOALS
No matter which technique your child uses to relax, the second stage is the most important: setting the goals he wishes to achieve. This is where people often go awry. It is not enough to say, “I want to be famous, or rich, or successful in school.” Such vague, general goals are almost impossible to achieve and thus will be doomed to failure.
To succeed, goals must be clear and well-defined. The more specific they are the better your child will be able to visualize them. They must be realistic. That means they should be almost within reach. It is fine to have long-term goals, say of becoming an astronaut later in life. But the goal before that should be doing well in science class. Children need to understand that long-term goals come about through a succession of smaller, gradual stages.
Goals must be meaningful – in other words, your child has to want it. The more your child desires the goal, the more intensely he will focus the necessary attention and energy.
You and your child also have to invest a little time and effort in fleshing out what exactly is involved in achieving his goal. You’ll need to find out what others have done to get to that same place, so you know the steps involved. And it is helpful to set a time-frame in the near-future, for achieving the goal. That way, your child will know when he is making progress. You both will also see when it is time to revise or expand the goal.
Finally, you and your child must come up with a plan of action to achieve that goal. Again, the more specific and detailed, the better. But you also must be flexible and willing to revise the plan when necessary. Just like the goal itself, the plan of action must be clear and well-defined, realistic as well as flexible, with time-tables where possible.
In the next, final post in this blog series, we’ll move into helping your child work on visualizing goals.