“Without dreams and goals there is no living, only merely existing, and that is not why we are here”– Mark Twain
Goal setting is an essential element of our human existence. Why does every new year begin with millions, if not billions, of resolutions? It’s in our human fabric. Without setting goals, are we not merely existing? Are we not wandering aimlessly, awaiting and enduring whatever situation comes our way? Goals transform us from passive acceptors of circumstance to active architects of circumstance. Setting goals not only maximizes our time and harnesses our energy, but gives us something to live and strive for: a deeper purpose that is crucial to being human.
As the dawn of a new year and new decade falls upon us, what better way to gain some perspective and invigorate our own goal setting than to look to our very own Warriors. At THA, every session, every week, and every day starts with goal setting. They being each morning evaluating and reflecting on their progress from the previous day, and setting appropriate and relevant goals to move forward.
Learners as young as 3 are given opportunities to work on and practice this life skill every single day. Whether it is through a basic verbal conversation around, “Which do you want to explore today?” or “What do you want to complete next? When will you complete it by?” Warriors, from the very beginning of their journey at THA, are thinking about not just learning, having fun, and exploring but also this idea of daily goal setting and constructing a plan for their work time.
As they get older, they learn to start writing down their goals in a more organized fashion. The older Spark Warriors use goal sheets to help decide which works in Math, Language, Sensorial, Culture, and Practical Life they want to do over the course of their week, as well as reflecting on their attitude and choices.
As they enter the Elementary, Middle and Launchpad Studios, a deeper emphasis is placed on setting SMART Goals and a goal is not considered “excellent” unless it is a S.M.A.R.T. goal: specific, measureable, achievable, relevant, tough, and time-based. Warriors will evaluate their own goals and those of their peers, pondering questions like: “What specifically will you be working on? How will you measure if your achieved that goal? Is it achievable in the time that you have available? Is your goal relevant to your badges, session plan, etc? Is your goal tough enough to challenge you and provide meaningful learning? Questions like these are often echoed in the studio during goal setting time.
Setting goals is not merely an individual process. Warriors have squads, squad leaders, running partners, and running teams, engaged in various goal setting, evaluating, and reflective activities to provide opportunities for growth. At an early age, they are learning processes that any successful leader would use to establish a culture of growth and continuous success.
Socratic Question: What’s more important, achieving the goal or enjoying the journey? Since last week’s blog post introduced the Quests for the session, and this week’s focuses on goal setting, here’s a great post from Laura Sandefer that ties the two together: https://www.actonacademyparents.com/goal-or-quest/