Jon Acuff

I recently wrote a book called, “Finish, Give Yourself the Gift of Done.”

One of the things that inspired me to write it was how difficult it is to actually finish goals.

According to a study by the University of Scranton, 92% of all New Year’s Resolutions fail.

That statistic bothered me. I was tired of leaving goals in my own life half done and tired of seeing friends give up on once meaningful hopes.

I commissioned a research study with a Ph.D. named Mike Peasley. He and I studied nearly 900 people as they worked on goals for six months. We wanted to learn what it really took to finish something that matters.

Do you know what matters to you and your kid right now? Getting to the finish line of the school year. May and June are the busiest/slowest months ever. You have more to do than ever before but less motivation to do it. It’s a terrible combination.

How can you help your kid finish the school year? Here are five quick ways:

1. Paint a clear picture of the end.

Runners never stop running when they can see the finish line. The problem is that sometimes the summer feels far away when you’re in the midst of final projects and tests. Do your best to help your kid see what they are working toward. Celebrate the summer you’re headed to as a way to amplify some motivation. (At Parent Cue, we call that, “Imagining the End.”)

2. Share a time you preserved.

Kids sometimes feel like they’re the only ones who have to push through difficult things like the last month of school. Let them know they’re not alone. Share a story from your own childhood or even a tale about a work project you had to knock out despite not being very motivated.

3. Make it fun.

Don’t wait until the summer to add some fun to their goals. A big, final finish line is awesome, but so are some small finish lines along the way. Head out for ice cream when the science project is finished. Catch the latest Marvel movie after a final school recital. Build in small wins in the weeks leading up to the last day of school.

4. Break the work into smaller pieces.

Small wins are great and so are small goals. A final paper might be overwhelming, especially if the deadline is looming. Do your best to help your kid break that big project into something manageable. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was a perfectly scaled coat hanger model of the solar system.

5. Remind them of a time they won in the past.

When kids are stressed about the end of school, they often forget every other time they’ve worked hard to complete a goal. Sometimes, just reminding them of a time they’ve won before can provide a bit of boost. Remind them of last year’s final projects that turned out great. Encourage them to remember a little league practice that was difficult, but bested. Chances are, this isn’t the first bit of adversity they’ve faced. Get them to take a quick look at the past to generate a bit of hope for the present.

My oldest daughter just turned in the “bottle project,” a massive geometry assignment she’s been working on for weeks.

It wasn’t easy, but by breaking it up in chunks and focusing on how stress-free she’d be after finishing it, she was able to stay motivated.

Your kid can too if you’ll give this five quick tips a try.

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