4-H Thrive! Self-Regulation and Goal Setting
Thriving youth have their eyes on the future and set goals to get them where they want to go. Self-regulation, or the ability to make choices with a goal in mind, is a key skill for goal setting and a future orientation. Thriving youth are able to make choices and take actions for both short and long-term success, especially when it means letting go of short-term gratification in exchange for achieving a longer-term goal. Thriving youth also persevere to reach their goals, even when the going gets tough. This perseverance is known as “grit” and research shows that grit is a bigger predictor of success than innate intelligence or ability.
When working with 4-H youth:
- Encourage and help youth to set goals for what they want to achieve. Start with modest achievable goals that gradually get more difficult
- Help youth identify steps they will take to achieve their goals.
- When youth struggle, remind them of the idea of grit, and that with effort, their goals are achievable.
- When youth reach roadblocks to their goals, encourage them to reflect on what didn’t work and develop new strategies for achieving the goal.
- Remind youth of the importance of delaying short-term gratification for longer-term goals.
- Recognize youth for the achievement of their goals and the effort they put into making their goals a reality.
- Thriving youth set goals and persevere in achieving their goals. They also make self-regulatory decisions that lead to better short-term and long-term success.
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