• Free to Be Mindful

Staying on the Road to Success

Nearly a month-and-a-half into the new year many of us may ask ourselves, “What was my resolution again?” Whether it be a personal, professional, fitness, financial or a health ambition, staying consistent on the road to accomplishing our goals may be challenging. If that is the case for us as adults, take a moment to imagine the thought process of a child who may truly want to make better choices, get on the honor roll, or make a varsity team, but may feel “stuck” with every day hurdles.

Here are three simple tips to help our kids (and even some adults!) stay on the road to success.

1. Create realistic goals and have a plan. It is unrealistic to lose 20 lbs in a week or change an F to an A in one marking period. Furthermore, a goal without a plan is just a wish. Help kids write their goals in a positive and certain tone. Also, chunk long-term goals to achievable short-term goals with steps that support the easier goal. Some examples include:

  • Long-Term Goal: I will get on the honor roll.

  • Short-Term Goal & Plan: I will get better grades by doing my homework each night.

  • Long-Term Goal: I will make the varsity team.

  • Short-Term Goal & Plan: I will become a better soccer player by practicing drills 30 minutes each day.

  • Long-Term Goal: I will be voted class president.

  • Short-Term Goal & Plan: I will meet more people by supporting different school events.

2. Challenges are pebbles in the road, not full on roadblocks. Obstacles are a part of life, but without the right mindset and tools, they may appear as huge stop signs. This may be difficult for kids as they think more concretely and often have an “all or nothing” frame of mind. If there is a bump in the road, be there to gently assist kids to acknowledge any challenges, learn from them, and help them keep moving forward. Ask your kids what they learned from a mistake or challenge and what they would do differently next time to have a different outcome.

3. See it. Believe it. Achieve it. Having reminders of realistic goals in a place you see everyday – whether they be written reminders or in the form of a vision board – also helps to keep you on track. Creating a vision board is a fun activity which makes the goal more “real.” Along with seeing goals regularly, hearing them from supportive family and friends holds you accountable. Lastly, success is success no matter how small. Celebrating the small victories with those who care assists with motivation and perseverance.

Work together with your child to stay positive, focused, and to check in on the chosen goal every few weeks, or monthly. Perseverance and a positive mindset - with the help of gentle reminders and celebrations - are the starter tool-set for staying on the road to success... at any age!


Vanessa De Jesus Guzman is an Educator and Licensed Professional Counselor with nearly two decades of experience in working with children and families. She is the CEO of Free to Be Mindful - located in Ridgefield, NJ - which provides counseling and mindfulness education for kids, parents and educators.

Vanessa has been featured on the Today Show and is passionate about helping others Learn, Grow & Inspire… all with mindfulness in mind.