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4 Worthy Goals for Children in 2022

The New Year always provides an opportunity to have a new starting point for your life. Other frequent starting points are birthdays, firsts of the month, Mondays, seasons, and many others. New Year changes usually come in the form of resolutions which many never quite live up to because of their generality.





The New Year always provides an opportunity to have a new starting point for your life. Other frequent starting points are birthdays, firsts of the month, Mondays, seasons, and many others. New Year changes usually come in the form of resolutions which many never quite live up to because of their generality.


On the other hand, goals and habits have a better chance of being achieved, particularly when accompanied by plans, action, and discipline.


When discussing goals, I always like to reference a Harvard study in which the Harvard MBA program students of 1979 were asked, "Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?" Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13 percent had goals, but they were not in writing, and 84 percent had no specific goals. Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed.

The 13 percent of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all. The three percent who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.


I believe this one study alone is enough to warrant identifying a few goals worthy of pursuit. Therefore, I would like to suggest four goal areas for children and students that I believe will have the most significant positive long-term impact on their life: reading, health & fitness, personal finance, and play. Each of these goals and their breadth and intensity will need to be age-appropriate. The younger the children, the simpler goals should be. I will delve into each of these areas in future posts, but hopefully, you will agree with the benefits of working toward these goals and developing positive habits in each of these areas that will yield benefits for a lifetime.


Reading, consistently, has proven to develop several skills other than just increased knowledge, such as; improved vocabulary, comprehension, retention, concentration, stress reduction, writing, and critical thinking. These skills will help children in many other subjects as well. The ability to concentrate and think critically translates well into mathematics and science. Many students in the U.S. tend to give up or quit sooner when trying to solve complex problems compared to students in other high academic performing countries. Even though many universities are eliminating the requirement for submitting standardized test scores, it is difficult to predict what criteria will hold the most weight in the future. A fringe benefit of reading is higher verbal and math scores on these tests. One final note is that I do not believe the types of books (fiction versus non-fiction) matter as long as they are age-appropriate and reading difficulty increases over time.


Health and Fitness are goals most of us are always trying to improve upon, particularly at the start of a new year. I am not suggesting that children need to begin a hardcore exercise routine or strict nutrition/meal plan of some sort. I am simply suggesting the goals of improving eating and drinking habits and increasing physical activity. Examples might include:

  • Drinking more water and less soda or energy drinks.

  • Increasing the diversity of healthy foods into their diet.

  • Ensuring regular physical activity outside of school unless they are part of a demanding varsity training program.


I am including personal finance because this continues to be an area where children and young adults display shortcomings and ignorance. The two areas related to personal finance that I consider most important for kids are saving or spending less than one receives and the time-value of money or compound interest.

Understanding and adhering to these two concepts are the basis for building wealth and expanding opportunities.


Finally, make a goal to ensure your children are experiencing enough play or downtime. This does not include video games or watching tik-tok videos. I am referring to unstructured play, indoors or outdoors, or finding a hobby that is truly for fun and not a college application. Whether play or hobby, having an outlet will strengthen creativity and help reduce stress and anxiety.


So as the New Year begins, I urge parents to make goals for or with their children in the areas of reading, health and fitness, personal finance, and play. Keep them simple and attainable! Do not try and add too many goals or habits at one time, or you will be setting yourself and your children up for failure. The overall objective is to make improvements compared to the previous year. And remember that a slight improvement in each area will lead to exponential results over time. Remember, these goals should be identified and developed based on the age of the children. For a very young child, the plan may be that you read to your child more or from different genres of children's books but for an older child, it may be to read for a period of time each day or weekend.


Finally, if your or your children's progress toward these goals falls short, don't beat yourself up; you may have to make adjustments, which is ok. But don't give up because these are worthy areas in pursuit of improvement. The key is to encourage, not dictate. Before you know it, your children will develop great habits that will serve them well for the rest of their life. And remember, there are plenty of new starting points to reset other than the new year!

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