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How to Set Goals Like a Kid

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. I’m willing to bet that at some point in your elementary school academic career, you were tasked with creating an artistic masterpiece that showcased what you wanted to be when you grew up. Taking it a step further, think back to what brought you joy when you were a child. Were you always outside digging in the yard, pretending you found the next great dinosaur fossil as you dreamed about becoming an archaeologist? Perhaps you were constantly giving Fido a check-up with your plastic stethoscope because you loved animals and wanted to be a vet. Maybe you could often be found at the dining room table with crayons, markers, glitter, glue, and any other art supplies you could get your hands on because you wanted to be the next Jackson Pollock or Georgia O'Keeffe.

As you think back to those childhood memories, ask yourself if you’re incorporating any of those passions or dreams into your life and work now. Sure, it might not be feasible to journey to the moon if your childhood dream was to be an astronaut and you’re currently a 5th-grade teacher. But there are ways we can tap into those youthful aspirations and goals and make them a bigger part of your life now. For the would-be astronaut turned teacher, do a semester long series on lunar science. Buy a telescope and start learning where various constellations are. Check out NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio’s 5-minute virtual tour of the moon. These are small steps, but they help ground us to something that is important to us (we’ll talk more about making small steps with ABC Target goals and tying our goals to core values in future posts).

Maybe you put on a weekly magic show for your family when you were a child. Instead of binging Season 4 of The Crown on Netflix, head on over to YouTube and watch some sleight of hand card trick tutorials. What a fun break that could be to share with your coworkers as you enjoy lunch together in the breakroom. Let’s say you had the opportunity to mentor a new employee earlier in your career and you really enjoyed the experience. Check with HR or someone on your leadership team to see if there are any other mentoring opportunities available within the company. Or look into an organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and take someone under your wing with whom you can share your knowledge and wisdom.

There’s something to be said about being childlike and going back to what truly brought us joy when we were little. As we grow older and start “adulting” we tend to lose some of that youthful wonder and enthusiasm.

FUN FACT: When Arnóczki Istvánné was a child, she never owned a teddy bear. She now holds the world record for the largest collection of teddy bears. She has amassed 20,367 bears… and counting! It just goes to show you, you can make your goals and dreams come true!


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