3 Types of Goals Your Child Needs to Set for Lifelong Success

Does your child struggle with Motivation?

Is it a battle and a half to get them to focus on “important things”? Maybe it feels impossible to get them to see why the little things now are important in the long term? Today, we’re talking about the 3 Types of Goals Your Child Needs to Set for Lifelong Success.

Did you catch our Facebook Live training in the group yesterday? The very first one in the Summertime Bonanza of 2020? You didn’t!? That’s a shame, I would have loved to meet you and answer your questions! But that’s OK for two reasons!

First because if you join the group at facebook.com/groups/tutorintinseltown you’ll be able to catch next week’s training.

And second, because I’m here today to pass along yesterday’s lesson on different types of goals for you, my loyal podcast listener. So let’s get started.

Getting your child to take ownership and initiative is as easy as helping them set these types of goals:

  1. Dream Goals
  2. Reach Goals
  3. Safety Goals

Now, if you did your higher education schooling in the US, you may have heard of these 3 categories as they relate to college applications. Do you remember? You’re supposed to apply to dream schools which would be a huge accomplishment, reach schools which are a bit of a stretch but not too much, and safety schools which are those where you’re almost guaranteed acceptance. Submitting applications fairly evenly across these tiers is done to make sure you don’t end up with zero options for college.

But when it comes to setting goals, these 3 categories have a little bit of a different purpose.

Before we jump into goal-setting though, let’s back up a little bit so I can tell you a bit about myself. After all, who am I to be running this kind of training on goal-setting? When I was a student, I was a total people-pleaser, especially when it came to people in some role of authority. Now, even though this isn’t a healthy situation either, this made life easy, because my teachers and parents wanted me to study hard and get good grades!

So I studied my tushie off, I read nonstop (to be fair though, I absolutely loved reading) and I earned good grades. I earned VERY good grades. But now, with 15 years of tutoring under my belt, a degree in behavior analysis, and a teaching certification, I’ve most certainly come to see that I was not a “normal” child. Children usually do not succeed under this form of significantly delayed results.

And let’s be realistic, it can definitely be a struggle for adults as well!

As a matter of fact, I found myself struggling with this recently in my business. Specifically, I could not figure out how to set goals that would actually get me to where I wanted to go! And it was one of my business friends, Leslie Rodriguez, who helped me figure out how to do some goal-setting. And let me tell you – I’ve been using it with my clients ever since and it as been a COMPLETE game-changer for them!

The idea is to set your goals backward!

Types of Goals: Dream Goals

So first… you want to help your child figure out their big-picture goals. Depending on their age, they may be more or less self-aware. If they’re younger, this entire step might be summed up with: “what do you want to be when you grow up?

But if they’re older and a bit more self-aware, instead, ask them what kind of life they want. Do they want a typical 9-5 job, or to forge their own path? Do they want to work in a massive hierarchy with many coworkers, or have independence, flexibility, and creativity in their work? Do they want something action-packed or something more routine? Do they want to work with their hands or work more with their minds? Try to be open-minded to what they say. After all, this is their life!

This activity will encourage them to think about, and form opinions on, the kind of life they want to build for themselves. Someone a few years ago told me that I was not taking an active role in building my own life. That I was living life on autopilot. Even though it hurt to hear at the moment, once I did choose to take an active role in my life, I relocated, built my business, paid off nearly all of my debt, found an amazing partner, and married him – in the timespan of a year.

Of course, this isn’t to encourage your kids to live a fast-paced life! Every stage of life is beautiful and must be well-lived. I only share this personal story to highlight the importance of helping your child decide the kind of life they want to live and also helping them work actively to create it.

Types of Goals: Reach Goals

Once your child has figured out their big-picture goals, help them figure out the mid-way steps they’ll need in order to achieve them. For example, if they prefer to be given a routine and to work with many coworkers in a big hierarchy, what are some types of jobs where they can have this structure? You can find a big hierarchy and many coworkers by:

  1. getting a corporate job in a big office
  2. getting a government job
  3. working in a big university-type setting
  4. joining the military

Alternatively, if they prefer working independently and creating their own path, they may be better suited for:

  1. starting their own business, whether or not it requires they get a degree first
  2. going to vocational school and earning a technical degree

Now of course these lists are not exhaustive. The idea is to have this be a two-way conversation with your child. Between you and me, most of the jobs they choose will likely require some amount of schooling. But please don’t overemphasize this fact. Trust me, kids are way smarter than we give them credit for.

If you pitch this conversation as “I just want to know your dreams and what you want” and you turn the conversation into why studying and getting good grades is important – they won’t want to engage in these types of conversations with you. Instead, help them see for themselves that many careers simply require school because they are so important. Some because they have to do with money, others because they have to do with people’s lives.

Whatever your child’s case may be, if you help them realize for themselves that getting an education is an important step towards getting to THEIR goals, they will likely be more open to the next phase of goal-setting, which is the safety GOALS!

Does your child struggle with Motivation? Is it a battle and a half to get them to focus on "important things"? Maybe it feels impossible to get them to see why the little things now are important in the long term? Today, we're talking about the 3 Types of Goals Your Child Needs to Set for Lifelong Success.
The 3 Types of Goals Your Child Needs to Set for Lifelong Success

Types of Goals: Safety Goals

Now the Safety Goals stage is for the goals that will enable them to reach those mid-tier goals. If their mid-tier goal requires some form of education, then it now becomes much easier to help them realize the value of a good education. But I’m going to be very upfront with you about something right now. And that is to please encourage them in whatever they choose. They may end up changing their minds, or they may not, but at least it’s a life they want to live.

I’ve known people to do terribly in school, join the military, and then go back to college voluntarily and do significantly better. That’s because they had the chance to do it on their own terms and at their own pace.

I knew someone years ago who wanted to study culinary arts. Her parents didn’t support it and forced her to attend a traditional college. It took her 6 years to graduate and now, 5 years later is still picking up odd jobs and unable to keep a job.

These people aren’t “bad at school” or “bad at learning” or even “lazy”. It’s simply very demoralizing to put in the effort to build a life you DON’T want.


So there you have it, the three types of goals your child needs to succeed in school, the workforce, and beyond. This system of tiering goals helps you keep your focus on goals and tasks that will actually move the needle forward, rather than tasks that seem important but don’t actually help you make any progress towards those long-term dreams.

And the best part is that this system for tiering tasks and setting these types of goals can be used for anything. As a matter of fact, tiers are what make it easier to attain goals, and therefore increase motivation. So go ahead! Help them set these types of goals (dream, reach, and safety goals) for their next soccer match, or their next painting, or their next video game competition. You will not only help your child develop internal long-term motivation to drive true lifelong change, but you will see them take a more active role in their own lives, rather than just waiting to be told what to do.

I am certain that if you implement my procedures and recommendations with your child, you will start to see significant changes in their motivation and their behavior towards school and learning. But if you’re still struggling with your kiddo’s learning and would like some individualized support, I highly encourage you to book a free 1:1 Academic Success Call with me.

In this call, we can talk more specifically about your child, your family’s needs, and my best advice on how to proceed in order to set your child up to have the absolutely best chance at a lifetime of success, happiness, and financial stability. All you have to do is book an appointment at https://bit.ly/academicsuccesscall. You can also find the link in the show notes below. Trust me – these will be the best 60-minutes you’ll spend on improving your parenting this week! I can’t wait to chat with you!

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