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Set Small Goals for Big Results

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 “If you improve 1% a day, then in 100 days, you’re 100% better!” by Ken Carter.

When I was growing up, my grandmother was fond of quoting the famous Chinese proverb, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Coming from my grandmother it was alright, but I must confess that I never gave it much thought until many years later. I now understand that it was about setting small, achievable goals and actualizing them for significant results. Goals help students to remain motivated and to set priorities as they remain committed to their academic success.  This article will explore setting small goals to achieve significant results and why setting small goals is essential. 

How to Help Your Child Set Goals?

Everybody can reach their goals and grow if they apply the right strategies. The following ideas can help keep your child on track as they set small, achievable goals throughout their studies and beyond.


Children often will set goals unrealistic or out-of-context goals for themselves, typically to overcompensate failed achievements.  For example, your child can set goals amid panic emotion or the excitement of the first achievement, therefore, setting up unachievable goals as a next step. Creating big goals as a first step typically leads to disappointment. By moving forward to learn and understand how to layout goals is a required first step to goal setting. As a parent, you can teach your child the skills to set goals by incorporating them in progress and setting small goals first.

Goal Setting Technique: STEP ONE: Write out 1 to 3 small achievable goals, STEP TWO: Then write out actions needed to achieve a goal, STEP THREE: Celebrate once achieved, Last STEP FOUR write up new Small Goals AGAIN don’t forget to incorporate goals already met. Our teachers and tutors at Kids on the Yard apply this method to every session with their students.


Small goals do not mean easy goals! While we are against big and complex goals, it will also be unproductive for your child to set too easy or unchallenging goals. Instead, encourage your child to choose realistic, attainable goals, and also that are out of reach.  By so doing, they will learn to push themselves and to get out of their comfort zones.


Students are fond of making generalized goals without breaking them down. For example, your child’s goal could be to attain an ‘A’ in the general test. However, such a goal is difficult to measure or understand. Please help your child make a more specific goal and break it down further to several measurable steps.

Big journeys begin with small steps, inspiration quote with stones
Big journeys begin with small steps, inspiration quote with stones

What are the Benefits of Setting Small Goals?


Stress is one of the side effects of setting big and unrealistic goals. Some of the goals students set are not achievable within a realistic time frame or are not within their capabilities. In the beginning, they may feel excited, enthusiastic, and energized, but as the moments begin to get overwhelming, stress begins to build up. Setting small goals helps students to avoid or minimize stress since they are more straightforward and achievable.  Always support your child to break down goals and monitor them through every milestone. You can also help them to overcome stress by cheering them and rewarding them for every small achievement.


Smaller and short-term goals are easier to focus on compared to more important and long-term goals. Setting smaller goals towards achieving a greater goal is an excellent idea of helping your child remain focused on the task. Keep reminding your child to stick to the destination even in challenging moments. You should also help them write down daily tasks and use a diary or planner to maintain focus. A proper plan gives students a clear direction of what needs to be done and within what timeframe.


Self-reflection is a vital instrument when setting a goal. Long-term goals are hard to reflect on, especially when they lack specific milestones. Setting weekly or smaller goals allows your child to reflect more on their task. In addition, small goals help students to highlight mistakes and make changes early and accordingly.


Smaller goals boost your child’s confidence and motivate them to remain focused on the bigger goal. Like people in career life, students are also encouraged by visible results, especially when they are immediate. Therefore, checking on goals frequently gives students more satisfaction and keeps their heads more in the game.


Goal setting requires a set of skills that, fortunately, are relatively easy to transfer to your child. But, like other life skills, you should begin to teach your child about goal-setting from an early age. At Kids on the Yard, we help your child set age-appropriate and realistic goals through our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Whole Child approach.  We also discuss strategies that help students feel more empowered and successful both in and outside the classroom. Connect with us for more information.

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