Stop & smell the roses.
For students, Year 12 is often perceived in quarters: the four terms. But, like any big achievement, it’s a sum of its parts. And to continue moving forward with confidence and motivation, those mini milestones should be celebrated.
Those little moments are actually really big. That science test your child passed got them one step closer to graduating. Scoring third place in a swimming carnival also matters. It’s important to teach our children (and remind ourselves) that big successes don’t happen overnight. We tend to focus on end goals rather than the small, significant steps that, when compounded over time, lead to success.
Top up your motivation cup.
Motivation for us is like fuel for a vehicle – it keeps us going. When we’re not feeling inspired and energised, it’s often because we lack clarity about what’s around the corner. Acknowledging the, seemingly, small incremental steps along the way sparks the reward circuitry of our brains and releases endorphins that gives us the feeling of pride. This becomes a natural motivator and prompts us to continue forward.
Appreciation & gratefulness is key.
In the school environment, a student’s ATAR is often the focus. But what we forget to realise is that, in order to achieve a good result, students need to “show up”, 365 days a year. In the face of adversity, pressure or stress, this can be challenging. This is where appreciation comes in.
As a family, make it a priority to celebrate the small wins. Sit with your children and acknowledge what they’ve achieved. Make it a daily or weekly habit to verbally appreciate their hard work and reward it, if needed. Our brains need reinforcement, so creating space to be rewarded will encourage progression. Those positive actions soon become habits, when done often (and celebrated).
Cook their favourite meal, write them a personal letter, plan a weekend away, and tell them how much you love them. Observe what your child loves and find a way to include it into how you celebrate their small wins.
The incremental power of small steps.
Try doing these things to build, or continue, their momentum towards success.
- Break down large goals into parts
While their teachers are preparing them at school for the big goal – end of year exams – help your child set small, achievable goals. This way, they can see (and celebrate) progress. Put them on the fridge so everyone in your family knows when they’re completed.
- Track their progress
Make time for weekly, scheduled blocks of time where you sit with your child and reflect on recent successes. This helps keep them accountable but also explores any barriers or issues they’re having.
- Use visualisation
Don’t underestimate the power of visualisation. Spend a day creating a vision board with all the things your child loves, as well as hopes for the future. Whatever they dream of for their future, put it on the board. Every few weeks, add imagery to it.
Fuel your child’s motivation, trigger their perceptions and help them become the most successful version of themselves by celebrating every single milestone.
The power of progress is a beautiful, but underutilised tool.
Celebrate those catalyst actions.