Goal setting helps kids understand perseverance, resilience, and self-management. A student with strong goal-setting skills discovers that they can dream big while developing the tools needed to set, pursue, and accomplish these dreams.
Goal setting is an integral part of the Classroom Champions program. It is a skill that allows kids to be the hero of their own story, and it requires them to think about the future and imagine all the possibilities. In this way, when they achieve their goals the sense of accomplishment and feeling of pride is beyond compare.
Recently, we asked Tyler Carter, Paralympian with the U.S. Paralympic Alpine National team and Classroom Champions mentor, about what goal setting means to him:
How do you approach your own goal-setting – what is your process?
My favorite approach to goal setting (regardless if it is in sport, career, or life) is to write down the goal. I also write down any other subsequent goals that might help me achieve the original goal. Writing it down is tangible and makes the goal feel real instead of just thinking about it.
How did goal setting help you achieve your athletic dream?
I first had the idea of going to the Paralympics when I attended the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Games as a spectator. It was such an amazing experience and I knew that I wanted to go back, but as an athlete.
I decided to set the goal of making the team in 2014 and did everything I could to make that a possibility. I wrote the goal down and realized that every decision I made in life would impact this goal. I strived to make sure that all my decisions would positively impact the goal and help turn it into a reality.
When you face barriers to a goal, how do you approach them?
There are always obstacles blocking your way to achieving your goals. It doesn’t matter how long you have been working at something or how good you are, there will always be some kind of barrier getting in your way.
The best way to move past them is to understand it is part of the process. It is part of life. Allow yourself a break if needed and then push past these barriers.
Sometimes when I face a barrier I’ll take a step back and refocus before going after it again. The biggest thing is to stay positive and never give up.
How do you talk to Classroom Champions students about goal setting? How do you relate your experience to their lives in a way that they can understand?
I think it is very important to use your own life experiences when talking with students, especially with goal setting. I have been setting goals my whole life and that it makes it easier to talk to students about it and relate it to them.
Being able to show students that goals can be super simple like wanting to do well on a test or making a school’s sports team is huge. Once they realize how easy it can be, they tend to get excited to set their own goals and then work to achieve them.
It’s so important for people to have a champion in their corner during their lives – especially for children and youth. Whether it’s a supportive family, a great teacher, career mentor, coach…tell us about a mentor that made a difference in your life.
Recently, one of my biggest mentors has been one of my best friends, Bob Speck. He is my gym trainer, a yoga instructor at Heart of the Village Yoga in Manchester, VT, and my go-to person when I need someone to talk to. I have known him for a long time, but in the past couple years we started working together more closely. He has become an integral part of preparing for the upcoming 2018 Paralympic Games. Not only has he helped me become physically strong, but we have also worked on mental strength and staying in the present moment. We have used yoga to keep me focused on my goals but also prevent them from becoming overwhelming. I can credit a lot of my recent success to working with him, and I’m really grateful to have such a supportive friend and mentor to call upon when I need.
Tyler exemplifies all the benefits of goal setting by proving how perseverance, resilience and grit can help anyone achieve their goals.
Classroom Champions is a scaled mentorship program that partners world-class athlete mentors with teachers in underserved communities to support K – 8 students’ Social and Emotional Development (SED), providing kids with the critical skills needed for success both in and out of the classroom. Since 2011, the program has engaged 500+ teachers and 125 Olympians, Paralympians, Hopefuls, College Student-Athletes and Pro Athletes to mentor more than 25,000 students in 1,000 classrooms across 32 U.S. states, 8 Canadian provinces, St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica and Germany.