Having Students Set Goals – Developing New Habits

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and BusinessI’ve been talking the last few posts about helping those we teach to develop new habits, inspired by a book titled The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. One of the things the author talks about is the importance of people taking ownership of the process of developing new habits, beginning with the notion of setting goals for themselves. By setting goals for yourself, you internalize motivation (as opposed to all of the motivation having to come from an external source such as a boss, a coach, or a catechist).

It occurs to me that it might be helpful to invite young people to identify and articulate goals at the beginning of the catechetical year. My inclination would be to provide a list of “habits” for living as a disciple of Christ – habits that would be age-appropriate and measurable – and invite young people to select or prioritize them with the option of adding some of their own. Then, young people can be invited to keep a journal in which they track their progress through the year and write thoughts about their experiences.

Here are a few “habits” that I might include for intermediate age kids. What other habits would you suggest?

With God’s grace, I hope to achieve the following goal(s) this year in religious education:

  • begin and end my day with prayer
  • recall from memory the Ten Commandments
  • practice an act of kindness each dayCan I help?
  • regularly attend Sunday Mass
  • become involved in an ongoing service activity at my school or parish
  • go out of my way at least once per week to reach out to someone who’s hurting
  • participate in a liturgical ministry such as altar server or reader
  • regularly read the Bible
  • recall from memory the Act of Contrition (or another prayer _______ )
  • learn to pray the Rosary
  • begin recycling at home

Add your suggestions in the Leave a Reply feature below!


 [photo courtesy of Andrea R via Compfight]

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4 Responses to “Having Students Set Goals – Developing New Habits”

  1. Cindy Says:

    Every day before I sleep, thank God for something that He has done for me that day.


  2. Mary Says:

    Your suggestions are very good. I would have to tailor them to a 3rd grade class as there are many they would not be able to complete.


  3. Bernadette Says:

    A great idea! After all, we do encourage them to set academic goals. Spiritual goals are way more important!


  4. Deborah Says:

    I go out of town for a few days and look what happens — what a great series of posts! I can apply these ideas also in my homeschooling.


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