New Year, New Semester, New Goals!

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Category: Back-to-School, NY Times articles, Parenting, Setting Goals, Teen Boys, Teen Girls, Wellness

agenda-1928415_640Happy 2017! We often look at the beginning of the new year as an opportunity for reflection and goal setting, we wanted to share some of our tips at Green Ivy for beginning the semester well. A recent article suggested that the key to success is ruthless self-examination (read: self-awareness) and goals and reflection are the touchstones of making such progress. At Green Ivy, we encourage students to use the beginning of the semester to plan their own foundations for success by having them write down their personal and academic goals. 


Academically, we ask students to focus on changing habits around academics (like writing down assignments in their planner or making flashcards for a biology test at least a week ahead of time) as opposed to working towards a specific G.P.A. (We know from experience that when the habits shift in a positive direction, in most cases, grades do as well.) As for personal goals, the sky is the limit, whether they want to ride in a hot air balloon or learn to play guitar. What remains key is the “how” of achieving said goal, and asking students to outline the steps necessary to get there. For instance, learning guitar might require more time on the weekends, which in turn means scheduling productive homework blocks during the week and studying proactively.



The act of writing down your goals is a powerful exercise, and one related to Carol Dweck’s theories outlined in Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, which revolves around the idea that our strengths and abilities are not fixed, but instead can improve over time with effort. Studies have also shown that simply writing goals down makes them more likely to happen, as opposed to thinking positively (but passively) and hoping that what we want to achieve will somehow materialize.


In the new year, we encourage parents to try this goal-setting exercise at home with the whole family as a way of sparking inspiration and positive momentum. We also recommend the following books about personality, success and intrinsic motivation as a way of furthering the conversation with your children—they have certainly provided much food for thought around our offices!


by Carol Dweck
In research that spans a decade, Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck explores success and it relationship to each individual’s type of mindset: growth or fixed. While talent and ability plays a part in the level of success we achieve, what’s more important is how we view the potential growth of abilities. She also explores how fostering a love of learning and resilience are the basis of how we reach our goals. For her TED talk on the topic, click here.
In Grit, Angela Duckworth reveals that our ability to succeed relies more on persistence and passion than it does on genius or talent. Through personal anecdotes and interviews ranging from West Point cadets to CEOs, we can see the ways grit can be learned and how all efforts made toward our goals (even those that fail) ultimately count double in achieving them.
Adam Grant missed the chance to invest in the online glasses powerhouse Warbly Parker, and he wanted to find out why he didn’t foresee the venture’s success. In Originals, he explores our hesitation to go against the grain or championing the new and why we all have to fight against the dreaded “groupthink,” which means in part, overcoming our own doubts and fears.
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